Soil erosion is one of the main environmental problems in Spain, and particularly affects the olive grove sector in Andalusia, where close to one million hectares suffer major losses of fertile soil as a result.
Every year, many farmers see how soil erosion severely damages their crops, with very negative effects on production and mobility within the farms, seriously jeopardizing the sustainability and profitability of their farms and the very quality of their harvests.
With the objective of SOLVING this problem, the INNOLIVAR Project, organized by the University of Cordoba, has made it possible to design, in one of its lines of work, a solution that is easy to implement, thanks to the work of the consortium of companies and organizations, led by Tracasa and Prefhorvisa, and the collaboration of Cantueso Natural Seeds; the Spanish National Research Council CSIC, through the Institute of Sustainable Agriculture IAS of Cordoba; the Public University of Navarra and the University of Jaen.
The solution has its starting point in the early detection of erosion processes and the evaluation of their intensity.
"Using aerial images, terrain information and rainfall types, we have developed a system that predicts which areas are most at risk of erosion and identifies the areas where problems are already most evident and action is urgently needed." (Tracasa)
With the information obtained, the solution proposes two specific actions:
Firstly, the application of vegetation covers in the gullies and their perimeter, with the objective of establishing a thin carpet on the ground to AVOID erosion.
"For this step we analyze which are the best MIXES OF SEEDS of autochthonous plants for each land, that are respectful with the environment and that do not establish competition with the crop itself. FOR THEIR CORRECT CHOICE we also take into account their future development, phenological cycles, AS WELL AS THE EDAFOCLIMATIC CONDITIONS OF THE AREA OF ACTION (Cantueso).
Secondly, when the gullies are already well advanced in the terrain and make the passage of machinery or harvesting work difficult, the construction of dikes is considered, together with the application of vegetation cover.
"We have designed different precast concrete pieces, which are assemblable thanks to their design. They have a weight of 25 kg, which enables installation without machinery and can be done by the farmer himself without using cement or concrete." (Prefhorvisa)
Made from recycled aggregates, these pieces form dikes that are designed to reduce the erosive power of water flowing through them and stabilize the gully, and can be modified or removed in the future.
The work of the consortium led by Tracasa and Prefhorvisa constitutes a firm commitment to technology and knowledge of the natural environment in order to offer an innovative, integral, ECONOMIC and sustainable SOLUTION that respects the environment to all farmers affected by the serious problem of erosion in olive groves.