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Agricultural land management and wind erosion in the province of Córdoba, Argentina.
Language: English This thesis is written in English
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Federico Togni, Università di Siena (UNISI), in collaborazione con Università di Wageningen (WUR) e Univerisità Nazionale di Cordoba (UNC), 2013-14
Federico Togni
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In the last decades, many countries have been characterized by soil conservation concerns since agricultural land management local practices led to soil impoverishment and destructuration. Argentina, recently, has been hardly hit by these phenomena of soil degradation that, depending on the specific region concerned, show up in different forms of soil erosion. The research tries to give an answer to the questioning concerning the relationship between agricultural land management and wind erosion occurrence in one specific area placed within the province of Còrdoba. The research results from an ample review of the literature and a period of field study in the relevant area, where interviews with local farmers and experts were carried out.
The research revealed an agricultural system, which in the last 20 years has fully joined the no-tillage farming practices focused on soil conservation. Whether on one hand, no-tillage actually reduced erosion, on the other hand it brought to a widespread use of genetically modified soybean (and to a lesser extent maize) which require increasing levels of herbicides also due to the spread of resistant weeds, which is mostly caused by the common practice of sharing harvesters and other machineries. Despite this diffusion of soil conservation methods, the research reveals how soil erosion still represents a threat for the province of Cordoba. However, the study also discovered that erosion occurs differently within the province (in some places mainly as water erosion, in others as wind erosion) depending on human factors, concerning land management, and natural ones. Among the human factors, an unbalanced crop rotation, but especially the peanuts cultivation (due to the particular tasks required for cultivating this crop) have been identified as the main causes of wind erosion.
It has been noticed, however, as the underlying problem lies both in the absence of legal constraints aimed at reducing the risk of wind erosion occurrence with peanuts and in the presence of higher taxes and limitations for the export of certain agricultural products.