Projects / Programmes source: ARIS


Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.00  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production   

Code Science Field
B006  Biomedical sciences  Agronomics 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Agro-meteorological scenarios, conservation agriculture, soil microbiom, organic waste, phosphorous recycling, microalgae, soil water, irrigation, SWAT model, plant physiology and biochemistry, abiotic stress, tolerance, biodiversity.
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on March 3, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender , archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  455  13,231  12,158  26.72 
Scopus  544  15,651  14,356  26.39 
Researchers (27)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  08784  PhD Tomaž Bartol  Information science and librarianship  Researcher  2020 - 2024  279 
2.  50531  PhD Miha Curk  Plant production  Junior researcher  2020 - 2021  56 
3.  11062  PhD Zalika Črepinšek  Physics  Researcher  2020 - 2024  271 
4.  24416  PhD Klemen Eler  Biology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  303 
5.  28495  PhD Matjaž Glavan  Plant production  Researcher  2020 - 2024  294 
6.  39098  PhD Simon Gluhar  Plant production  Junior researcher  2020  39 
7.  19262  Svetlana Gogič Knežić    Technical associate  2023 - 2024 
8.  16073  PhD Helena Grčman  Plant production  Researcher  2020 - 2024  450 
9.  09593  PhD Lučka Kajfež-Bogataj  Physics  Retired researcher  2020 - 2024  2,692 
10.  10689  PhD Damijana Kastelec  Mathematics  Researcher  2020 - 2024  239 
11.  54402  David Lenarčič  Biology  Researcher  2022 - 2024  13 
12.  08259  PhD Domen Leštan  Plant production  Head  2020 - 2024  407 
13.  21581  PhD Irena Maček  Biology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  136 
14.  53788  Sara Mavsar  Plant production  Junior researcher  2020 - 2024  21 
15.  13073  PhD Rok Mihelič  Plant production  Researcher  2020 - 2024  475 
16.  53692  PhD Juan Francisco Morales Arteaga  Plant production  Junior researcher  2020 - 2024  15 
17.  51866  PhD Urša Pečan  Plant production  Researcher  2020 - 2024  39 
18.  10024  PhD Marina Pintar  Plant production  Researcher  2020 - 2024  840 
19.  51856  PhD Sara Pintarič  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  17 
20.  31969  PhD Gregor Plestenjak  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2021  40 
21.  36716  PhD Tjaša Pogačar  Physics  Researcher  2021 - 2024  159 
22.  14056  PhD Marjetka Suhadolc  Plant production  Researcher  2020 - 2024  248 
23.  16075  PhD Helena Šircelj  Plant production  Researcher  2020 - 2024  198 
24.  19261  Irena Tič    Technical associate  2023 - 2024  240 
25.  14011  PhD Dominik Vodnik  Biology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  412 
26.  19259  PhD Vesna Zupanc  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2020 - 2024  361 
27.  55851  Zala Žnidaršič  Physics  Junior researcher  2021 - 2024  25 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,599 
We will continue our research towards understanding climate changes, preparing scenarios and modelling impacts on agroecosystems in Slovenia. The climatic scenarios of basic meteorological variables will be used for the preparation of agro-meteorological scenarios to determine vulnerable zones for further development of appropriate adaptation strategies to prevent potential negative impacts on productivity and competitiveness.   We will integratively investigate the key aspects of conservation agriculture using long term field experiments. We will search for the stimulating management practices that enhance general soil biodiversity in an untargeted way, as well as targeted manipulations of soil community composition steering certain soil microbes, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi or N-cycling guilds; with the aim to specifically affect certain ecosystem processes: nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, soil aggregate stabilization.   One of research goals is treatment of organic wastes for nutrients recycling and producing high market value products to support conservation agriculture. We are focusing on recycling of phosphorous from waste-water sludge and their ashes and nutrients recovery from liquid organic waste (e.g. digestate) by micro-algae cultivation. The produced algae are further processed and engineered to obtain products such as soil amendments, or crop bio-stimulants. These products will be tested in the agro-ecological experiments of our research group with the aim of improving general soil quality, nutrient use efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, and crop quality traits.   Sustainable water management in agro-ecosystems is becoming a prerequisite for more resilient plant production. We will research into time and spatial soil water content variability and different irrigation strategies for efficient use of water (e.g. precise and deficit irrigation upgraded with decision support system for irrigation), including water re-use for irrigation. Additionally we will use Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to assess impact of agriculture on water in agroecosystems and choosing promising measures to improve water quality and quantity   Climatic and soil conditions and environmental limitations are reflected in plant performance, additionally affected by complex interactions between the components/factors of the agroecosystems. This complexity will be taken into account when studying the response of plants to abiotic stressors (drought, salinity…) and to different managing practices (irrigation, soil manipulation treatments…). By combining leaf- and plant-level, community level and ecosystem level studies we aim to strengthen the knowledge on stress tolerance strategies of different plant species, knowledge on ecosystem functioning (fluxes of carbon and nutrients) and on its resilience to environmental constraints.
Significance for science
The overall objective of the proposed research program is a contribution to understanding the functioning of agroecosystems in the conditions of a changing environment, which includes climate change, soil degradation, water pollution and limited water resources and sources of mineral fertilizers. We will study individual segments of agroecosystems (soil, water, atmosphere, plant) and their interactions. Knowledge will contribute to the sustainable intensification of agricultural practices and the circular economy on the field of nutrients and energy in agriculture. We expect new knowledge in the field of climate scenarios and connections with crop production; in-depth understanding of soil response to different production systems; understanding of the impact of agricultural technologies on water resources and optimization of water use in agriculture; new solutions for increasing circulations of nutrients and energy in agriculture; and new knowledge in the field of plant physiology and ecology. Results of the proposed program will contribute to the scientific knowledge beyond the current state of the art. We expect to enhance existing knowledge concerning relations between climate change and agroecosystems by (i) preparing climate change scenarios for Slovenia, (ii) analyzing impacts of future climate on crop productivity in Slovenia and (iii) evaluating how to adapt to certain impacts which are unavoidable and some regions.    The proposed project will integratively investigate some of the key aspects of conservation agriculture (minimal soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and crop rotations). We will search links between the various agricultural technologies and soil physicochemical and biological parameters. In agroecosystems, microbes modulate a number of processes, including nutrient cycling, organic matter transformations, soil aggregate stabilization, symbiotic and pathogenic interactions with plants. Special focus will be given to beneficial microbes, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and microbial communities important for nutrient transformations (e.g. N-cycling guilds); and their respond to different soil management practices and environmental conditions. The ability to understand and manage plant–microbe-soil interactions is currently state-of-the-art in developing a sustainable agricultural system.    We expect new knowledge of the hydraulic characteristics of soils, including degraded and recultivated one, and substrates for more effective optimisation of plant production. Interactions of hydraulic soil properties and biophysical parameters of plants for adapted soil use will be studied. We will define the main characteristics of precise irrigation systems that improve the efficiency of water use and biophysical and socioeconomic factors, which support plant water demand management. Impact of some extreme water events on conditions for plant production and of some land use and management on water resources quality and quantity will be assessed. We will seek innovative solutions in the processing of organic waste from agriculture, cities and industry (waste water, sludge, digestate) for nutrient recycling and production of products useful in conservation agriculture systems. We will focus on nutrients (N, P) recovery from the anaerobic digestate and CO2 sequestration by algae-bacteria cultivation. We will test their later use as amendments or bio stimulants on soils and crops.    Phosphorous is a depletable resource and essential macro-nutritional element in agriculture. It is potentially recyclable from sewage sludges and their incineration ashes. The most important obstacle of using sewage sludge as source for phosphorous are ”heavy metals” (Pb, Zn, Cd, Hg, Cu, Cr, Ni in As ) which are usually present in sludges in elevated concentration. Current “heavy metals” removal techniques from sewage sludges and ashes are prohibitively expensive thermal processes and chemical procedures where toxic H2S and
Significance for the country
Agriculture is the basic activity of every country. Its role is not only the food production and ensuring food security, but also the economic and social development of the countryside, the preservation of the cultural landscape and the environmental functions of agricultural soils. Modern agriculture faces many problems. Natural resources important for agricultural production (soil, water, plant nutrients) are increasingly limited. Different activities in agricultural areas, including agriculture and urban infrastructure, are sources of water pollution, whose quality and accessibility is crucial for agriculture. Environmental and climate change requires new knowledge and guidelines for agricultural practices. Within the research program Agroecosystems, we will continue with the research in the field of interactions between plants, soil and groundwater. Results will contribute to establish such agricultural practices that will ensure food production, preserve biodiversity, soil fertility, and protect the sources of drinking water. The objectives of the research program are in line with the priority themes of the Rural Development Program proposed by Common Agricultural Policy environmental aims. Slovenia is in the process of preparing, developing and implementing national climate change adaptation strategy. Assessing agroecosystem and agriculture vulnerabilities is essential for the design of effective measures for adaption to climate change on the national scale. Research results would allow stakeholders to react in a timely and cost-effective way and to make long term decisions regarding agriculture policies. Development of irrigation systems, and promotion of sustainable and efficient use of water will be key factor in the future, due to climate change and repeated long periods of drought. Fundamental orientation of sustainable agriculture is the circular economy in the field of plant nutrient management and biogenic waste. The circulation of matter and energy is one of the most important ecological soil and agroecosystems functions. The development of technologies that will enable the return of plant nutrients from biogenic waste is crucial for maintaining fertility of the soil and reducing agriculture carbon footprint. About half of today’s crop yield can be directly attributed to the application of mineral fertilizers consisting also phosphorous. Nowadays phosphorous is almost exclusively produced by the mining of phosphate rock. Europe imports phosphate rock mostly from Morocco where mines are mainly located in annexed Western Sahara. This and strong new phosphorous markets in Africa and Asia could lead to relative scarcity of phosphorous. For example: during 2007/8, prices of phosphorous increased by 300 % due to the export stop from the USA and China. In 2014 phosphate rock was placed on the EU critical raw material list. EU also adopted the concept of circular economy addressing mounting resource-related challenges and reducing environmental impacts of economic activity. Phosphorous is potentially recyclable from secondary resources, sewage sludge (average 2 % of P) and its incineration ashes is the most important. Germany, already adopted legislature which stipulates the recycling of phosphorous with transition period of 12–15 years. The most important obstacle of using sewage sludge as source for phosphorous are  ”heavy metals” (Pb, Zn, Cd, Hg, Cu, Cr, Ni in As ) which are usually present at elevated concentration. Hence, Agroecosystem program group will research in feasible “heavy metals” removal techniques for phosphorous recycling. We expect that the results of the research program will make a key contribution to the development and promotion of sustainable agriculture, the circular economy, the conservation of natural resources and the mitigation of the effects of climate change in Slovenia. Researches within the programme Agroecosystems will generate new knowledge, which will be presented at intern
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