Call edition 2012
A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.
Agriculture in irrigated areas in semi-arid regions has a considerable impact on socio-economic development, and makes a big difference to the way land is used and to agricultural practices over large areas. However, large-scale irrigation can have destructive effects such as salinisation (in the broad sense of the word) of the soil.
Even if the importance of this phenomenon has been recognised, still, its origins, mechanisms and actual effects on the soil depend on complex interactions, and are generally speaking inadequately quantified.
In this work, the phenomena of salinity, sodicity and toxicity in the soils of the Maniçoba Irrigation Project in north-east Brazil are quantitatively analysed. The mechanisms of salinisation are firstly described, as a function of geological, pedological and hydrological factors, and are then modelled.
Consequences for agricultural practices, including the abandonment of plots of land, are explained. In conclusion, guidelines for good practice in the conservation of soils in the Maniçoba Irrigation Project are suggested.
This work features the two qualities needed to contribute to the region’s development: a quantitative scientific approach, which takes account of the complexity of the physical and chemical phenomena, and constant contact with those working in the field, both the public authorities and private partners.
report by Dr. P. Tréfois, Cartography and photo-interpretation, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium