Cover crops effectiveness for soil erosion control in Sicilian vineyard

Agata Novara, Luciano Gristina, Saverio Salvatore Saladino

Risultato della ricerca: Other contribution

Abstract

In vineyards, which are very common in Mediterranean area, cover crops are becoming increasingly used toreduce soil erosion. Cover crops reduce runoff by increasing infiltration and increasing roughness and thenreducing the ovelandflow velocity. The aim of the present study was to quantify soil and water losses underdifferent soil managements systems on vineyards. The study site was a Sauvignon blanc winegrape vineyardlocated in Southwestern Sicily. Vineyards were managed both traditionally (conventional tillage) and alternativemanagement using cover crops: 1) Vicia faba ; 2) Vicia faba and Vicia sativa; 3) Trifolium subterraneum, Loliumperenne, Festuca rubra; 4)Trifolium subterraneum, Festuca rubra and Festuca ovina, 5) Triticum durum, 6)Triticum durum and Vicia sativa. To monitor water and sediment yield, a Gerlach trough was installed at eachtreatment on the vineyard inter-row, with the row vineyard used as a border (topographical border). Runoffwas measured after each rainfall event (raingauge 0.2 mm accuracy) from November 2005 to April 2007. Andsediments were measured after desiccation. The results show that runoff and erosion were reduced considerablyunder the treatments with Trifolium subterraneum, Lolium perenne, Festuca rubra and Trifolium subterraneum,Festuca rubra and Festuca ovina (treatments 3 and 4). The soil losses were reduced by 73% under treatment4 compared to the tillage plot. Conventional tillage and alternative management using Vicia faba cover crop(treatment 1) result the most ineffective treatment to soil erosion. These results show that the use of a cover cropcan be a simple soil and water conservation practice in Sicilian vineyards.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2009

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