AGRONOMIC PRACTICES FOR SOIL CONSERVATIONAcademic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Antonio Carlo BARBERA
Expected Learning Outcomes
The discipline aims to provide students with the knowledge and the ability to understand the elements of agronomic and environmental analysis of Mediterranean agroecosystems and the methodologies for soil protection and the fight against desertification. Part of the course aims at providing agronomic skills and the ability to understand and apply them for the identification and contrast to the processes of erosion and desertification in a context of safeguarding the territory, the environment, and the landscape, with particular reference to the Mediterranean environment. The course, therefore, aims to provide students with the ability to apply the knowledge acquired in future work contexts through the ability to find and use the data necessary to formulate solutions to concrete or abstract problems with independent judgment. During the course, group activities will be promoted aimed at deepening some issues and communicating with their peers, promoting communication skills, and undertaking advanced studies that can be used independently in working and academic contexts.
In particular, upon completion of the course, students will be able to: (i) represent the acquired knowledge and understanding skills related Principles and basic concepts of agronomy and agroecology; the relationships between erosion and desertification processes with organic matter and microorganisms in the soil; and possible agronomic strategies to mitigate soil fertility loss processes through conservation agriculture techniques. (ii) apply the knowledge and understanding skills acquired to designs aimed at solving environmental and agricultural problems by maximizing the ecosystem services provided by soil conservation arrangements (windbreaks, mulching, grassing (cover crops) intercropping), at field, urban, farm and land scales; (iii) collecting and interpreting data and information aimed at independently analyzing the dynamics, processes, and effects of interventions taking place in the area of intervention (Mediterranean environment) where anti-erosive interventions are designed and implemented spatial and temporal levels. Evaluating both their functional role and landscape aspect; critically assessing their environmental and social impact and any scientific and ethical implications, valuing systems management in regenerative soil fertility and resilient agro-ecological system in which they operate; (iV) The course thus aims to provide students with the ability to apply the knowledge acquired in future work contexts through the ability to find and use the necessary data to formulate solutions to problems of a concrete or abstract type with autonomous judgment, having the ability to communicate them to specialists and non-specialists; (V) develop, with specific reference to the contents of the discipline, learning skills that enable students to continue their university studies in subsequent cycles with a high degree of autonomy.
For teaching, various teaching models will be adopted based on: frontal lectures which will be accompanied, with the involvement of the class, by a cooperative learning approach with exercises and in-depth seminars conducted by professionals. To achieve an ability to apply knowledge, group work is planned with the possible preparation of papers and analysis of case studies.
If teaching were given remotely or in mixed mode, it may be necessary to introduce changes with respect to previous statements, in line with the programme planned and outlined in the syllabus.
Information for students with special needs, Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) and social anxiety.
To guarantee equal opportunities and in compliance with the laws in force, interested students can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and / or dispensatory measures, based on the didactic objectives and specific needs.
It is also possible to contact the referent teacher CInAP (Center for Active and Participatory Integration - Services for Disabilities and / or SLD) of our Department, Prof. Anna De Angelis.
Detailed Course Content
Basic Principles and Concepts Agronomy and Agroecology; Overview on the characteristics of the Mediterranean environment; The nature and properties of soils , soil sampling; Role of organic matter in soil; organic amendments on soil fertility; Role of microorganisms for soil conservation and fertility (Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria - symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi)
Desertification: process, risk assessment and contrast; Loss of soil fertility: Erosion; Compaction; Salination and sodification; Conservative agriculture (blue farming); Agronomic soil conservation techniques ; Mention to: Water footprint, reforestation, and hydraulic and agrarian arrangements (Terracing and buffer strips); Outline of regional agri-environmental measures “Rural development Programme” (programma di sviluppo rurale - programmazione 2014-2020); Overview of reuse of treated wastewater and Impact of water harvesting techniques on soil water conservation
Protective functions of cover crops in perennial agriculture (case study); Agronomic management: meadows; legumes; Alfalfa, vetch; lolium spp., Festuca arundinacea, Dactylis glomerata; natural technology to contrast erosion and desertification as Prati armati and Hedges.
1) Lesson notes.
2) Giardini L. l’Agronomia per conservare il futuro. Pàtron Editore, Bologna;
more sources for insights
3) Gliessman S.R. Agroecology: The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems, Third Edition CRC press - ISBN-13: 978-1439895610; ISBN-10: 1439895619
4) Altieri Miguel A.; Nicholls Clara I.; Ponti Luigi - Agroecologia. Una via percorribile per un pianeta in crisi - Edagricole-New Business Media ISBN: 8850654863
5) BASSO FRANCESCO: Difesa del suolo e tutela dell’ambiente - 1995, pp.504, Editore Pitagora (Bologna) ISBN 88-371-0721-8;
6) Anton Imeson: Desertification, Land Degradation and Sustainability - A John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Publication - ISBN 978-0-470-71448-5 (cloth) – ISBN 978-0-470-71449-2 (pbk.) 2011
7) COMBATING DESERTIFICATION WITH PLANTS Edited by Dov Pasternak and Arnold Schlissel - Proceedings of the conference Combating Desertification with Plants, held November 2-5, 1999, in Beer Sheva, Israel © 2001 Springer Science+Business Media New York
8) Khan Towhid Osman: Soil Degradation, Conservation and Remediation - ISBN 978-94-007-7589-3 ISBN 978-94-007-7590-9 (eBook) DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-7590-9 Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg New York London
9) Giardini L. – A come Agronomia. Pàtron Editore, Bologna;
|Introduction to the course and basic principles and concepts of agronomy and agroecology
|Material provided by the teacher and reference text Giardini L. Agronomy to preserve the future chap. definition and tasks of agronomy - ecosystem, agronomic interventions and responses; other texts Gliessman S.R. Agroecology; Altieri M. agroecology and lesson plans n. 1 and 2)
|Outline of the characteristics of the Mediterranean environment
|Material provided by the teacher - Giardini L. Agronomy to preserve the future chap. climate and agricultural plants (lesson plans n.3
|Soil (agricultural and natural soil and its characteristics: origin, texture, structure, chemical and biological characteristics; hydrological constants, evapotranspiration and calculation methods, soil sampling
|Material provided by the professor - Giardini L. Agronomy to preserve the future chap. - soil structure - atmosphere and thermal properties of the soil - chemical and chemical-physical aspects of the soil (lesson plans no. 4 ÷ 6)
|soil organic matter role ; humic balance calculation
|Material provided by the prof. - Giardini L. Agronomy to preserve the future chap. organic matter and organic fertilizers (lesson plans n.7)
|Role of microorganisms for soil conservation and fertility (microorganisms promoting plant growth - symbiont nitrogen fixers and mycorrhizal fungi)
|Material provided by the prof. (lesson plans n.8)
|Desertification: process, risk assessment and agronomic contrast interventions
|Didactic material provided by the prof. (lesson plans n.9)
|Loss of soil fertility: Erosion; Compaction; Salinization and sodification / sodicization.
|Didactic material provided by the prof. (lesson plans n. 10-11)
|Conservative agriculture (blue agriculture) Conservative tillage of the soil
|Didactic material provided by the prof. (lesson plans n. 12-13)
|Soil conservation agronomic techniques (windbreaks, mulching, grassing (cover crops)) Notes on reforestation; Water footprint Agricultural land arrangements: Terracing and buffer strips
|Didactic material provided by the prof. (lesson plans no. 14-15)
|Notes on regional agri-environmental measures rural development program (European agricultural policy)
|Didactic material provided by the prof.(lesson plans n.16)
|Outlines of agro-environmental reuse of treated wastewater; systems for collecting rainwater in the soil (water harvesting).
|Didactic material provided by prof. (lesson plans n.17)
|Protective function of cover crops in agroecosystems: Herbaceous crops and natural grassy rinds
|Didactic material provided by the prof. (lesson plans n.18)
|Outlines of agronomic management of: polyphite and polyphite meadows; annual self-sowing legumes; alfalfa on the vetch; lolium spp., Festuca arundinacea, Dactylis glomerata.
|Didactic material provided by the prof. (lesson plans n.19)
|Armed meadows and hedges
|Didactic material provided by the prof.(lesson plans n.20)
Learning Assessment Procedures
Verification of learning takes place through an oral interview and possible written exercises. The assessment of the student preparation will based on the following criteria: learning ability and level of depth of the topics covered, properties of synthesis and exposition, and reasoning skills. The vote follows the following scheme:
Unsuitable Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Important shortcomings. Significant inaccuracies Ability to analyze and synthesize: insufficient. Frequent generalizations. Inability to synthesize Use of references: Completely inappropriate
18-20 Knowledge and understanding of the topic: At the threshold level. Trivial imperfections Ability to analyze and synthesize: Sufficient skills Use of references: As appropriate
21-23 Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Routine knowledge Analysis and synthesis skills: Ccapable of correct analysis and synthesis. Argue logically and consistently Use of references: Use standard references
24-26 Knowledge and understanding of the topic: good knowledge Analysis and synthesis skills: Has good analysis and synthesis skills. The arguments are expressed consistently Use of references: Use standard references
27-29 Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Knowledge more than good Ability to analyze and synthesize: Has appreciable abilities of analysis and synthesis Use of references: Has explored the topics
30-30L Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Excellent knowledge Ability to analyze and synthesize: He has considerable abilities in analysis and synthesis. Use of references: significant insights.