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Sustainable Soil Management Practices in Olive Groves

  • Victor KavvadiasEmail author
  • Georgios Koubouris
Chapter

Abstract

Olive (Olea europaea L.) is a common cultivated tree crop in the Mediterranean Basin. Inappropriate cultivation practices (i.e. excessive tillage and application of herbicides, the absence of organic amendments, the burning of pruning residues in situ) lead, in combination with the Mediterranean climate, to the depletion of soil organic matter, erosion, desertification and degradation of water resources. Strategies based on changes in the land management (e.g. cover crops and green manure, restriction of tillage, recycling of agricultural wastes and pruning residues), have been reported to enhance soil structure, increase soil fertility, decrease soil erosion, increase the C stored in soil, and reduce atmospheric CO2. This chapter highlights soil management techniques that could promote the conservation of the productive olive grove system and thus contribute to the sustainability of the natural resources. During olive tree growth and olive oil production a large quantity of plant residues and mill wastes are produced. The implementation of alternative olive cultivation techniques (reduced/no tillage, plant residue and weed management, tree pruning, etc.) has not been systematically tested under the prevailing conditions of the Mediterranean olive forest. Although there are multiple specific studies taking into account specific practices in selected regions, a holistic approach for the Mediterranean olive groves has not yet been known. The design, the development and the adoption of an integrated soil management system in olive groves, adjustable to local soil climatic conditions is proposed, among further research priorities.

Keywords

Olive Soil management Residue management Cover crops Tillage 

Notes

Acknowledgements

With the contribution of the LIFE + financial instrument of the European Union to project LIFE11 ENV/GR/942 OLIVE-CLIMA.

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hellenic Agricultural Organization “DEMETER”, Department of Soil Science of AthensInstitute of Soil and Water ResourcesAthensGreece
  2. 2.Hellenic Agricultural Organization “DEMETER”Institute for Olive Tree, Subtropical Plants and ViticultureChaniaGreece

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