Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Sustainable land use in relation to soil and crop quality

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.01  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production  Agricultural plants 

Code Science Field
B006  Biomedical sciences  Agronomics 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Sustainable land use, carbon sequestration, soil functioning, crops, yield, quality
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (30)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publications
1.  02085  PhD Franc Batič  Plant production  Principal Researcher  2011 - 2014  814 
2.  02936  PhD Jure Čop  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  254 
3.  24416  PhD Klemen Eler  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  285 
4.  29164  PhD Mitja Ferlan  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  209 
5.  05222  PhD Alenka Gaberščik  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  819 
6.  15122  PhD Mateja Germ  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  566 
7.  16073  PhD Helena Grčman  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  414 
8.  17775  Rozalija Ilc    Technician  2011 - 2014  21 
9.  14082  PhD Radojko Jaćimović  Physics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  708 
10.  24183  Matej Jeraša    Technician  2011 - 2014 
11.  13010  PhD Nina Kacjan Maršić  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  348 
12.  15648  PhD Matjaž Kavčič  Physics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  232 
13.  05007  PhD Darja Kocjan-Ačko  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  910 
14.  00950  PhD Ivan Kreft  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  892 
15.  10807  PhD Sonja Lojen  Geology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  501 
16.  21581  PhD Irena Maček  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  130 
17.  13073  PhD Rok Mihelič  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  449 
18.  11279  PhD Nives Ogrinc  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2011 - 2014  1,046 
19.  12314  PhD Primož Pelicon  Physics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  563 
20.  08185  MSc Tomaž Prus  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  350 
21.  12013  PhD Marjana Regvar  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  524 
22.  10264  PhD Primož Simončič  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  681 
23.  01873  PhD Vekoslava Stibilj  Chemistry  Researcher  2011 - 2014  686 
24.  14056  PhD Marjetka Suhadolc  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  237 
25.  17780  Viljem Šijanec    Technician  2011 - 2014 
26.  22766  PhD Gorazd Urbanič  Biology  Researcher  2012 - 2014  372 
27.  14011  PhD Dominik Vodnik  Biology  Researcher  2011 - 2013  397 
28.  30709  PhD Maja Vogrinčič  Plant production  Junior researcher  2011 - 2013  32 
29.  08834  PhD Marko Zupan  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2014  484 
30.  21137  Daniel Žlindra  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Technician  2011 - 2014  160 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  85,580 
2.  0404  Slovenian Forestry Institute  Ljubljana  5051673000  10,967 
3.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  64,492 
To get an insight into sustainability of management strategies of agricultural land and possibilities of enhanced or at least maintaines organic carbon sequestration, broad research is needed to evaluate different segments of sustainability. The following main indicators of sustainable land use will be addressed in this project: 1) soil quality (soil health) in terms of its physical-chemical and biological characteristics, 2) carbon sequestration and storage and 3) productivity and crop quality. Both reductionist and systems (holistic) approaches will be used; first one to get in-depth insight into specific processes within agroecosystem (e.g. nutrient and carbon dynamics, biodiversity patterns, soil-plant interactions) and the latter one to integratively evaluate different land management practices and to present the results to appropriate stakeholders. Long-term experiments are crucial when valuing the sustainability of land management practices. In this respect therefore we will use existent experiments and evaluate them through the indicators of sustainability. Two general land use types, representative for Slovenia, will be evaluated: cropland and grassland with two research sites within each type. The set of two cropland experiments in Moškanjci and Ljubljana will allow us to assess effects of soil tillage under two different types of pedo-climatic conditions. Reduced (conservation tillage) vs. conventional plough tillage are combined side by side at both sites since 1999, in Ljubljana also with a combination of different fertilization regimes. At grassland observation experiment Podgorski kras focus will be given to four different land-use types: low-intensity pasture, meadow, silvo-pastoral land and woody plants encroached site, whereas different grassland management systems (combinations of defoliation regimes and fertilizer applications) will be assessed at experimental site in Strahinj. Project is organized in 4 work packages (WPs). The aim of WP1 is to improve our understanding of how different land management practices influence physical, chemical and biological properties of soil, as well as important soil functions, e.g. nutrient cycling, carbon storage and turnover (link to WP2), water retention, soil structure regulation, and above-ground plant productivity (link to WP3) and diversity. Within WP2 up-to-date chemical, physical and biological methods will be used to evaluate the effect of selected management practices on soil quality. Soil and root samples of selected plant species (wheat, barley, corn, buckwheat, grassland) from long term field trials will be taken at fixed vegetation stages in close connection to other WPs (WP2 and WP3). Additionally, pot experiments will be designed to test correlation between soil microbial diversity and selected parameters indicating yield quality (link to WP3). With WP 2 is addressed the response of soil organic-carbon (SOC) and different stages of terrestrial carbon cycling (e.g. decomposition rates, soil respiration, canopy photosynthesis ,...) on applied practices. In the case of croplands we will focus on the effects of different tillage treatments combined with different fertilization practices.   In WP3 we will link soil management practices with crop quantity and quality. Soil management practices have the impact on the availability of elements from soil to plant. The decomposition of organic matter may cause the temporary fixation of diverse elements, including N, P, K, and trace elements, for the organic matter of microbiota. On other hand, after their decomposition, elements in question are easily available for plants. Elements are differently allocation to different plant parts and tissues, and build into differently digestible structures and substances.   WP4 is devoted to the integrated assessment of land use systems, decission support and stakeholder information (evaluation of ecosystem services).
Significance for science
The project represents a comprehensive evaluation of different agricultural practices regarding soil quality, carbon sequestration and yield and crop quality. Similar integrative studies investigating the complex effects of land management on ecosystem services are rare. Detailed studies of temporal trends of the selected components of the carbon cycle (plant growth and assimilation, litter decomposition, soil C, soil respiration) and of major factors influencing these components (e.g. water balance, plant community composition, nutrients and abiotic factors) have deepen the understanding of these complex ecological processes. For some of the investigated ecosystems (e.g. karstic grasslands) these are underinvestigated in general; for others, the results are enabeling an insight into dependency of applied measures on local features. In this respect our results present new insight and important new information for scientific community.
Significance for the country
On the basis of this research it is possible to prepare a strategy for sustainable cropland and grassland management in specific soil and climate condition of the Slovenia. Reduced (conservation) soil tillage have several direct positive effects: improvement of soil structure and water management; prevention of erosion and drought risks; increased soil organic matter and lessen CO2 emissions to the atmosphere; improvement of soil biota composition and activities. Properly managed conservation tillage system keeps yield and crop quality by spending less fossil energy. Despite mentioned advantages, this tillage system is still not yet enough implemented in practice in Slovenia. The reason is lack of quality experimental data and results and as a consequence lack of knowledge transfer to farmers and agricultural advisors. Our results are helping to fill both gaps. The selection of experimental site on karst grasslands is of the greatest significance, since two thirds of Slovenia are based on limestone (karst region). Results of this research are enabeling to prepare a strategy for future land use of these ecosystems, taking into account also the potential of silvo-pastoral use to combine the positive effects of grassland use and forests on different ecosystem services, such as food production, landscape preservation, carbon sequestration, water retention, etc.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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