The ConServeTerra project, in which the UB takes part, has been selected to receive funding from the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean (PRIMA), the most ambitious program at the moment framed within cooperation in the Mediterranean. PRIMA aims to promote research and innovation in the management and availability of water and sustainable agricultural production.
Regarding ConServeTerra, researchers will study the factors that influence the farmers’ decisions on the management of soil. The objective of the project is to reach a higher acceptance in the Mediterranean region on the conservation agriculture principles, which involves techniques such as reduction or removal of ploughing, organic soil covering, and diversification of crops.
The UB will take place in the ConServeTerra project through the Consolidated Research Group on Ecology of Agricultural Systems, led by F. Xavier Sans, and formed by the UB researchers José M. Blanco, Lourdes Chamorro and Joan Romanyà, and Berta Caballero, from the Natural Science Museum of Barcelona. ConServeTerra is coordinated by Andreas Gattinger, from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), in Germany. The project counts on the participation of other research entities from Morocco, Tunis, and Turkey, as well as associations of Catalan and Maghrebi producers.
The project revolves around the concept of conservation agriculture, whose objective is to reach acceptable production levels, while it preserves the soil structure and favours environmental and ecosystem services. Over the course of the program, researchers will work with agricultural field schools, and will study the use of strategic crops, as well as the management of fields, among other issues. Moreover, the project will launch networks for the innovation and participation in decision-taking. The lecturer of the Faculty of Biology, José M. Blanco, UB principal researcher in ConServeTerra, says the projects in PRIMA allow them to “focus on sustainability and social and economic repercussions from a collaborative perspective among farmers and researchers from both Mediterranean shores”.