Session I

Agronomic techniques for preserving ecosystem services

Ecosystem services are based on soil functions, so it is important to choose appropriate soils for intensification of agriculture.

Jasmin Schiefer reported that five intrinsic soil parameters were defined as the basis for this judgement: depth, soil organic carbon, cation exchange capacity, pH, slope (site parameter) and clay+silt. Classification was developed to define the suitability of a given soil for intensification. The results for 25 EU-member states show that almost 50% of the soils cannot be used for intensification.

Marketa Mikovcova believes that urban gardening can fit perfectly into the movement of sustainable development, because it includes all aspects of sustainability. The contact of people with nature is a major advantage. The community garden concept is a growing movement in Czech cities.

The impact of agricultural production on natural resources was discussed by Jan Golba. It is important to consider agriculture in terms of multi-functionality. Organic farming seems like an appropriate solution. In many cases, it improves the activity of soil organisms, soil organic matter levels and ecosystem services. In the EU, 6% of the farms are managed organically with increasing share and importance. Organic farming is a means to increase agricultural production with less environmental impact.

Gerhard Moitzi gave a lecture about energy use and energy efficiency in corn production by presenting the results of two nitrogen fertilization experiments in Styria, Austria. It could be shown that the nitrogen fertilization rate significantly influences the energy-efficiency of corn production including the drying process. Liquid organic manure treatment reached the best energy-efficiency.

Anamaria Malinas applied increasing nitrogen fertilization to grassland in order to evaluate the effect N on yield and forage composition. Alfalfa was the most competitive species and dominated the other species. N-fertilization had a significant positive impact on forage production. The study is being continued.

Zeolithes as carrier of N-fertilizers to ryegrass was discussed by Iva Zivanovic. The results of the applications were modified by the soil used in the pot experiments. The idea is to reduce ammonium losses from manures by adsorption in zeolites.

Allelopathic effects of weed extracts were investigated by Natasa Samardzic. Weed extracts decreased growth of maize and soybean seed hypocotyls in a laboratory experiment.
Sanja Radman dealt with the method of stinging nettle in hydroponic culture. This culture has some advantages over growing nettles in fields. Data for optimizing substrate and sowing density were achieved. Vermiculite was identified as a favourable substrate.

Cristian Malinas focussed on fighting late blight in potato. Different fertilization and plant protection agents were compared. Specifically unconventional treatments like lime extracts or Bordeaux-mixture were tested for eight potato varieties and different weather conditions. Several posters complemented the oral presentations.

Martin H. Gerzabek (BOKU, Vienna)



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