Introduction to agro-ecosystems. The three UN conventions on sustainable development (UNFCCC, CBD, UNCCD), the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the Sustainable Development Goals.
Tools for the integrated assessment of agricultural ecosystems:
- Climatic analytical tools: synthesis and interpretation of weather and climatic data
- Interpretation of soil physical-chemical analyses for the design of cropping systems
- Analytical tools for precision farming:
o Spatial and temporal variability
o Continuous vs management zone approaches for site specific agronomic management
o Crop yield maps, potential vs water limited crop yields, yield gaps.
o Sensors for non-destructive assessment of soil properties and crop status.
- Statistical tools for field experiments
- Modelling tools for cropping system simulations.
Precision cropping system design and management: general aspects and case studies: fertilization, irrigation, dryland farming, conservation farming.
Cropping system design and ecosystem services. Impact of cropping systems on GHG emissions, land degradation and biodiversity: adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Diagnostic tools: interpretation of climatic and weather data, soil chemical-physical analyses, analysis of spatial and temporal variability.
Water balance, nutrient apparent balance, nitrate leaching.
Modelling applications to cropping systems.
Interpretation of remote and proximal sensing finalized to the design of cropping systems in the context of precision farming.
Case studies analyses through interactive tools (diagramming, semi-structured interviews, team work).