Over recent years, climate change and global warming have become increasingly “hot” topics that affect many aspects of our lives: whether you are at home or at work, energy saving and natural resource preservation practices have been incorporated everywhere to help our planet.
In today’s blog, we’ll be exploring how climate change threatens the yield and fertility of our fields. We’ll also be asking the all-important questions, such as: what are the general effects of the climate on agriculture? And which specific conservation practices can we implement to battle climate change?
In agriculture, soil productivity strongly depends on weather conditions: droughts, excessive rainfalls, hailstorms and frost have always been a threat to crops. But what has changed over the last few decades?
Unpredictable and unusual weather has an increasingly negative impact on different areas of the world. This is why meteorology and other sciences examining climate change have become essential to provide farmers with accurate information on temperature variations, winds, rainfalls and other precipitation. This knowledge allows farmers to prepare both land and crops to better withstand climate effects. In addition to observing forecasts and climate models, there are a few things which farmers can do to mitigate negative climate effects.
Conservation is simply the act of preserving natural resources, for the benefit of the ecosystem and environment. Within the farming industry, conservation typically involves recreating natural ecosystem features, from biodiversity to crop rotation, and the use of organic fertilizers. Not only do these factors increase the strength and resistance of crops to withstand the changing climate, but they also provide benefits in terms of soil fertility, as they help to increase carbon levels and that of other nutrients.
Obviously, there is no cure-all solution suitable for all crops or climatic zones. Nevertheless, today, we are going to talk about three natural methods which you can adopt on your fields to fight climate change.
Tragically, the global bee population has been constantly decreasing in recent years. This is a result of manifold reasons: excessive use of pesticides, pollution, bees’ natural habitat reduction, and last but not least, climate change.
However, bees play an important role in plant species reproduction. As if we needed more reasons to help save the bees! This is why one of the main methods to fight climate change is to foster the settlement of these natural pollinators near your fields.
How can you do this? Well, if you grow plants and flowers which attract bees, such as almonds, cherries, melons and tomatoes, you create a virtuous circle. Bees, attracted by the flowers of these plants, settle in the fields and collect and carry the pollen from one flower to another, facilitating the crossing of plants, and stimulating fruit bearing and yields. It is, therefore, safe to say that bee colonies will help to promote biodiversity on the farm, subsequently combating some of the adverse effects of climate change.
As a specialized insect species, bees are only able to function in specific temperatures. The extinction (heaven forbid!) of a specialized species such as bees, would likely lead to a generalist species replacement: who would be incapable of performing specialist functions, yet adaptable to the ever-changing climate – which would throw the entire ecosystem for a loop! Here’s to saving the bees!
As you all know, plants are the main source of nutrition for the land. What’s more, some plant species (usually wild ones) allow the soil to “rest”. This is essentially giving the soil the opportunity to take a break from intensive agriculture and regenerate autonomously, enriching again with nutrients.
The richer and stronger a soil is, the better it withstands the negative effects of climate change. This is the reason why we suggest introducing regenerating crops such as evergreen plants to your rotation cycle. These deep-rooted plants enrich the soil with natural and carbon-rich organic compost, improving soil productivity and groundwater quality.
Finally, let’s explore the pros of crop rotation. Crop rotation helps to conserve your soil; the technique involves rotating crops in a specific sequence – so, planting different crops at the end of a current crop harvest, in order to maintain and improve soil health. Crop rotation has a dual positive impact: it creates nutrients in the soil, and simultaneously reduces pests and weeds.
Without crop rotation, pests will be more likely to become acclimatized to the soil – resulting in a higher necessity for pesticides, which are, of course, detrimental to the environment.
If you need further suggestions on how to preserve and take care of your soil, stay tuned for our latest agricultural blogs!