Topic outline

  • Topic 1

    Human modification of the Earth’s landscape is as old as humankind itself; it might be said that human history is also the history of anthropogeomorphology. Potential human impact on the environment is basically determined by two factors: technical progress and population growth.
  • Topic 2

    Landscape Threats

    As a consequence of the industrial agriculture no place is left for natural life. Monocultures from maize, grass, potaties, bulbs, massive use of pesticides and fertilizers make life for animals and herbs impossible. Food (insects, seeds) is not available anymore or poisoned, place to shelter (hedges, trees, buffer zones) gone and crop growing will take all place available. Birds, mammals, bees and all natural life has more or less disappeared in the agricultural areas, like the Skylark, for ages an abundant bird in the European fields and now threatened to extinction.
  • Topic 3

    Soil and Fertility Management

    Soil fertility is most commonly defined in terms of the ability of a soil to supply nutrients to crops. In our view soil fertility is an ecosystem concept integrating the diverse soil functions, including nutrient supply, which promote plant production. Soil fertility is fundamental in determining the productivity of all farming systems.

    Organic farming systems, as the only sustainable farming systems legally defined, rely on the management of soil organic matter to enhance the chemical, biological, and physical properties of the soil, in order to optimize crop production.

    Soil management controls the supply of nutrients to crops, and subsequently to livestock and humans. Furthermore soil processes play a key role in suppressing weeds, pests and diseases. The following figure illustrates conceptually the complexity of the relationships between soil fertility and the different components within and outside the system that may influence it.

    Figure 1-Soil Fertility components

    One of the fundamental differences between management of organic and conventional systems is the way in which problems are addressed. Conventional agriculture often relies on targeted short-term solutions e.g. application of a soluble fertilizer or herbicide. Organic systems, in contrast, use a strategically different approach, which relies on longer-term solutions (preventative rather than reactive) at the systems level.