Soil and Water Protection (SOWAP)


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Title Soil and Water Protection (SOWAP)
Period 2004 - 12 / 2007
Status Completed
Research number OND1317463


Agricultural production can have negative impacts on the environment, and there is considerable concern as to the sustainability of conventional land-use practices on arable land in Northern and Central Europe. Previous and current applied research studies have demonstrated the environmental damage that may result from unsustainable use of land resources, particularly in overcultivation of arable soils. Conventional land preparation and crop agronomy requires many field operations, especially for winter cereals in the UK and sugar beet in Belgium. Such conventional tillage is associated with aggregate breakdown, which significantly increases soil erosion susceptibility, and surface sealing and capping that encourages production of surface runoff. These two facts combine to give high soil losses, high sediment concentrations and high runoff volumes. The eroded sediment may carry chemical contaminants, which are then transported to water bodies in which quality is compromised by the turbidity caused by particulate matter. Chemicals in the run-off also pollute these water bodies. Many studies have shown the sensitivity of aquatic ecosystems (flora and fauna) to even low levels of water pollution by sediment and its associated contaminants. Much is known about the principles behind soil conservation practices. However, there is a considerable gap between what is known in principle and what is applied in practice

Related organisations

Related people

Contact person Drs. V.W.P. van Engelen


D15100 Geochemistry, geophysics
D18120 Surfacewater and groundwater
D18130 Soil

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