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Fixation of atmospheric CO2 and reduction of greenhouse emissions by sustainable management of irrigation agriculture (LIFE RegaDIOX)
Start date: Jul 1, 2013, End date: Dec 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Agriculture is responsible for 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions, without even considering associated energy consumption. These emissions originate mainly from the fermentation and oxidation of organic matter and nitrogenised compounds. However, levels can vary significantly depending on the agricultural techniques used. The introduction of modern irrigation systems to enable agriculture in arid and semi-arid areas can bring significant economic benefits. In the region of Navarra alone, 22 300 ha have already been transformed into irrigated land and a further 30 000 ha are planned. This is despite the Ebro Valley having some of the poorest soils in Spain as regards carbon matter. However, these land-use changes - and, for example, associated introduction of fertilisers - can impact on GHG emissions and environmental services, such as carbon sequestration. Objectives LIFE RegaDIOX aims to design, test, demonstrate and disseminate an improved model for sustainable management of irrigated agricultural areas. This aims to deliver positive effects on climate change through increased CO2 sequestration and reduction of GHG emissions. The project will undertake six demonstration pilot experiences with different agricultural practices in Navarra. These will test and quantify their efficiency in increasing the organic matter content of soil and delivering a more efficient and sustainable use of nutrients, energy and water. This research thus aims to identify the best land-management practices for increasing soil carbon fixation and reducing GHG emissions. It will produce a methodological guide with all the good practices developed and educate and train farmers in their implementation and agricultural sustainability more generally. Ultimately, the project hopes to contribute to a more positive impact on climate change from irrigated agricultural activities. The project hopes to use its results to inform related agricultural/environmental policymaking at regional, national and European levels. Expected results: The project expects to achieve the following results: Improved knowledge on GHG emissions and carbon capture associated with irrigated agriculture systems; Demonstration of techniques for delivering positive effects on climate change from irrigated agriculture systems, with quantified increases in capacity for CO2 capture and quantified decreases in related GHG emissions; Specification of an improved model of sustainable management of irrigated agriculture with a methodological guide to the best practices identified; Training and capacity-building of at least 30 professional farmers on the use of this new management model and techniques; and Recommendations for ways of including the lessons of the project in agricultural/environmental policies at regional, national and/or European level.
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