Results 1 - 10 of 16
Results 1 - 10 of 16. Search took: 0.013 seconds
|Sort by: date | relevance|
[en] A nuclear incident affects large territories through the deposition of radionuclides. This contamination can lead to long-term consequences for people and the economy. The subsequent data collection, data management and decision-making can become overwhelming with traditional methods, which inevitably increases the response time and effectiveness. A decision support system can aid with the efficient allocation of resources as well as the increase in transparency and robustness of the decision-making process. DSS4NAFA, a decision support system (DSS) jointly developed by the FAO and IAEA, can be used to manage and visualize this spatial data in real time. This research proposes a multi-criteria decision aiding system to optimize the remediation actions on a parcel basis, monitored by DSS4NAFA. The optimal agricultural decontamination strategy starts with the localization of the most urgent clean-up sites. Thereafter, the most applicable remediation action should be performed on the identified prioritized parcels and finally the optimal combination of remedial actions in time is proposed. To answer this first question - Where to act first? – The importance of an agricultural parcel is determined by a set of region-specific criteria and the corresponding decision makers (DM) preferences. The determination and importance of the criteria is completely dependent on the scale and stakeholders involved, it can range from a single farmer to an agricultural region with a multitude of decision makers.
[en] Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, several planned training missions to the Himalayan and Andes region on the use of cosmic-ray neutron sensor technology were changed to a novel online teaching format, as part of the interregional project INT5156 on Building Capacity and Generating Evidence for Climate Change Impacts on Soil, Sediments and Water Resources in Mountainous Regions. In total 15 scientists from Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Ecuador participated on 17-19 August 2020, and 25 scientists from China, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan participated on 13-15 October 2020. They learned how to install, calibrate and use the innovative cosmic-ray neutron sensor technology for better managing water resources in highlands.
[en] Vermicomposting is the process of using worms to transform organic waste into a nutrient-rich fertilizer. The end product is called vermicast, which is used as fertiliser or as a soil activator. There are many advantages of vermicomposting, such as the improvement of soil aeration, enrichment of the soil with beneficial microorganisms, and increased water holding capacity, leading to better root growth and structure. All these positive effects are well documented. However, there are some studies suggesting that worms produce potent greenhouse gases (GHG), in particular nitrous oxide. Biochar (BC) addition to the studied soil-worm systems reduce the emissions. Biochar is similar to charcoal, basically it is pyrolysed biomass, specifically produced to be added to soil, as a soil conditioner-carbon sequestration measure. It has been recognised that vermicomposting could play a significant role in the circular economy, particularly tackling food waste recycling in peri-urban areas, whilst creating green business opportunities. To confidently advocate these novel systems, knowledge of the pollution swapping risks must be assessed. Therefore, a study was proposed to determine the influence of vermicompost on GHG emissions and the impact of adding biochar into the mix.
[en] Full text: In 2020, 3141 samples were analysed for stable isotopes and 130 samples were measured for fallout radionuclides, respectively in the SWMCN Laboratory. Most analyses were carried out for supporting Research and Development activities at the SWMCNL focused on the design of affordable isotope and nuclear techniques to improve soil and water management in climate-smart agriculture. (author)
[en] Oxygen-18 (18O) of plant tissues can provide information on the environmental conditions in which plants grow, because of its relation to stomatal conductance. Therefore, 18O signatures can also be related to plant stress. In future experiments, 18O will be used to assess whether fertilizer application or variety selection influences the reaction of plants to drought stress. In order to understand the dynamics of 18O isotopes in growing plants, it is necessary to know the isotopic signature of the water on which they are growing. This source water largely influences signatures which can be found in plant tissues. However, to analyze soil water, the first step is its extraction from the soil substrate. A popular way to extract soil water is cryogenic distillation. Here, soil water is almost completely extracted from the soil. However, plant roots are not able to extract all water from the soil with decreasing soil water contents. A method which samples water that resembles the water accessible for roots is centrifugation.
[en] Global climate change has a major impact on the availability of water resources for agricultural production. Sustainable agricultural productivity to ensure food security requires good agricultural water management. Soil moisture is an important variable in irrigation management, hydrological modelling, groundwater recharge, flood and drought forecasting. Cosmic Ray Neutron Sensors (CRNS) have the capability to estimate field-scale soil moisture (SM) in large areas up to 20 to 30 ha and has demonstrated its ability to support agricultural water management, hydrology studies and land surface modelling. However, measurement of soil moisture at a global or regional scale can only be achieved from satellite remote sensing. Recently, active microwave remote sensing Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging has emerged as an effective tool to estimate surface soil moisture. The Sentinel-1 (SAR) satellite shows great potential for high spatial resolution soil moisture monitoring and for producing soil moisture maps. CRNS technology can be used for calibration and validation remote sensing imagery predictions at field and area-wide level.
[en] In the aftermath of a nuclear emergency, the development of remediation strategies for agricultural areas is crucial to ensure food safety within the affected regions. One of the key radionuclides that poses a concern for food safety is radiocaesium (RCs). With the purpose to develop strategies to support remediation of radioactive contamination in agriculture, the SWMCNL aims to improve models predicting soil-to-plant transfer of radionuclides. This research activity is implemented under the Coordinated Research Project D1.50.19 on monitoring and predicting radionuclide uptake and dynamics for optimizing remediation of radioactive contamination in agriculture, launched in 2019.
[en] Cosmic-ray neutron sensing: from noise to a well established method for non-invasive soil moisture estimation Cosmic ray neutron sensing (CRNS) has been introduced as a new non-invasive large scale method for soil moisture estimation. It is based on the inverse relationship between natural neutrons created by cosmic-ray and the presence of hydrogen at the land-surface, which is predominantly stored as water in the soil (Zreda et al., 2012). Noteworthy, this effect was well known by physicists with studies dating back more than half a century but it was considered as a noise (Hendrick and Edge, 1966). Only several years later, the use of natural neutron fluxes measured at the ground surface for quantifying soil moisture and snow water equivalent has been presented (Kodama et al., 1979). In these experiments, however, the neutron detector was installed below ground and the signal was strongly related to the hydrogen pools close to the probe. For this reason, this set-up probably did not provide relevant advantages in comparison to other point-scale soil moisture techniques (e.g., TDR) and it was considered for monitoring only extreme snowpack conditions (Morin, et al., 2012). In contrast, Zreda et al. (2012) showed that the signal of a neutron detector installed above-ground is sensitive to soil moisture within a large footprint of hundreds of meters horizontally and a soil depth of several decimeters. In such a way, they put CRNS in a new perspective proving to be a valuable technique to estimate soil moisture at an intermediate scale and showing to be a promising method with a range of applications. Above-ground CRNS method for soil moisture estimation is now used by several research groups all around the world and several national networks have been established. Most of the applications focus on detecting temporal soil moisture dynamics but promising results have been shown also as a rover for covering larger areas, for estimation biomass, water interception and large scale snow observations.
[en] The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us, as well as hampered ongoing research. This was also the case for the PUI (Peaceful Uses Initiative) project on Enhancing climate change adaptation and disease resilience in bananacoffee cropping systems in East Africa (started in 2019). Planned research activities in Tanzania had to be called off. Fortunately though, KU Leuven (Belgium), partner in this research, allowed us to initiate last-minute research activities in Belgium, turning this drawback into an opportunity. KU Leuven hosts the world’s largest banana gene bank and has proven experience and knowhow on assessing drought stress in banana. Against this background, an experiment was set up in an open-ground greenhouse, in cooperation with MSc student. The purpose was to (1) evaluate different stress parameters and measurement methods under progressing drought conditions and (2) improve our understanding of the δ13C signal as a proxy for water use efficiency in banana. An optimal and a deficit irrigation treatment were applied to nine mature banana plants (cv. Cavendish). Treatments were initiated at the end of June 2020. The soil moisture availability was followed up with TDR sensors for every individual plant and the micro-environment (air temperature (°C), relative humidity (%) and light intensity (μmol (m²s)-1) was monitored with strategically placed sensors.
[en] Nitrogen (N) fertilizer management is challenging due to the many factors that influence N use efficiency (NUE). Nitrogen losses from the soil reduce plant yield as well as have negative impacts on the environment. Nitrogen processes inhibitors, such as urease and nitrification inhibitors, are chemical compounds which reduce urea hydrolysis and nitrification respectively. Urease inhibitors (UI) (also known as 2-NPT or N-(2-nitrophenyl) phosphoric acid triamide) inhibit the hydrolytic action of the urease enzyme on urea, and nitrification inhibitors (NI) inhibit the biological oxidation of ammonium to nitrate. By coating ammonium based chemical fertilizers with N process inhibitors allows N to stay in a more stable form of ammonium (NH4+) thus minimising N losses as well as improving NUE and consequently enhancing crop yield. NI is further divided into MPA or N-[3(5)-methyl-1-H-pyrazol-1-yl) methyl] acetamide (abbreviated as NI-1), and DMPP or 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (abbreviated as NI-2). A field experiment was established at the SWMCN laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria to determine the effect of different N fertilizers coated with N process inhibitors on maize yield in summer 2020. The field site is characterised by a moderately shallow Chernozem soil with significant gravel content.