Jorge Álvaro Fuentes develops his work in the Water and Soil Department of the Aula Dei Experimental Station, an entity belonging to CSIC (Scientific Research High Council).

What are the characteristics of Aragonese farming soil?

Aragon is a region that has an important variability in terms of climate, relief and lithology. This means that, depending on the geographical area we are, we have soils with different characteristics. For example, in the Middle Ebro Valley, where most arid and most exposed to wind soils are found, the risk of wind erosion will be relevant.

What is the importance of soils in crops quality?

Soils are the base sustratum where plants grow and live. Therefore, it is essential to succeed in our soils having optimal physical, chemical and biological conditions. This will allow a correct growth and development of our crops.

How does the use of fertilisers and phytosanitary products affect soils?

A wrong use of fertilisers and / or phytosanitary products can have a negative impact on resources preservation. Consequently, a correct and apprpopriate use of these products is essential to keep and preserve soil, waer and air resources.

Which role can organic farming play in this process?

Organic farming production systems are regulated basing on rules which may help reduce the environmental impact of their activities.  Anyway, it has to be considered that certain activities taking place in organic farming production systems may also have a relevant environmental impact. For example, soil management to control weeds. This management practice favours mineralization and the lose of soils’ organic matter, and consequently, a reduction of the soils’ capability to sequestrate carbon from the atmosphere.

How is it possible, then, to find a more balanced and sustainable farming pattern?

By means of a rational and appropriate use of agricultural supplies and, at the same time, by soil management systems enabling preservation of soil, water and air resources. An example of this could be the assumption of integrated management techniques which allow sustainable farming systems in the long term.

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