Ecological and economic sustainability in olivegroves with different irrigation management and levels of erosion: a case study



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Rodríguez Sousa, Antonio Alberto and Barandica Fernández, Jesús María and Rescia Perazzo, Alejandro Javier (2019) Ecological and economic sustainability in olivegroves with different irrigation management and levels of erosion: a case study. Sustainability, 11 (17). pp. 1-20. ISSN ESSN 2071-1050

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In the last 50 years, both the agricultural labour force and irrigated land area have increased almost eightfold in Spain. The main objective of irrigation, in the short term, is to increase agricultural production. However, in the long term, the environmental externalities of irrigation and its direct relationship with soil erosion processes are more uncertain and still poorly studied. In this study, in an olive-growing region of Andalusia, Spain, the variation of several soil parameters related to irrigation and erosion levels was analysed. The results showed that irrigation, while increasing the productive level of the olive groves, entails a progressive alteration of the soil, modifying physical aspects (greater compaction and humidity of the soil together with lower gravel content, porosity and soil weight) and chemical aspects (reduction of the organic matter of the soil and the content of nitrates) that can aggravate the consequences of the erosive processes. In the long term, the productive benefit attributed to irrigation could be unsustainable from an ecological and, consequently, economic point of view. In addition, the lack of sustainability of olive irrigation agroecosystems could be exacerbated by the future restrictive impacts of climate change on water resources in Mediterranean environments. This situation demands spatial planning and alternative management based on soil conservation and rational and efficient forms of irrigation to ensure the sustainability of olive groves and their economic viability.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Common agricultural policy; Deficit irrigation; Economic–productive viability; Physical–chemical soil; Characterisation
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Ecology
Medical sciences > Biology > Soil science
ID Code:57340
Deposited On:14 Oct 2019 11:07
Last Modified:01 Jun 2020 08:47

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