Study Site Trials

 The SICS selected for trialling in this Study Site are described below:

Country General Treatment Category Study Site Trials
Spain Cover crops, tillage, irrigation management

1. Desertification, wind erosion and organic matter decline

- Regulated vs Constant Deficit Irrigation and Minimum tillage in olive orchards;

-Regulated vs Constant Deficit Irrigation and Minimum tillage plus pruning residues added in olive orchards;

-Regulated vs Constant Deficit Irrigation and Minimum Tillage plus temporal cover crops (natural weeds and sowed) in olive orchards;

-Regulated vs standard irrigation and non-tillage (herbicide weed control) in peach orchards;

-Regulated vs standard irrigation and Non-tillage plus pruning residues added and temporal natural vegetation in peach orchards;

-Regulated vs standard irrigation and Non-tillage plus pruning residues and temporal cover crops sowed in peach orchards

Study Site poster 2018, Study Site poster Area A, 2019, Study Site poster Area B, 2019

OliveOrchard3lowres PeachOrchard
 Organic olive orchard (Area A)  Peach orchard (Area B)
OliveOrchard2 Tractor shredding pruning residuesXlowres
  Tractor shredding pruning branches


Geographical description

The study site is located in the province of Almería (South East Spain,). The climate is arid (Mediterranean South). Rainfall is very scarce, always less than 300 mm per year. 

Area A is located in the Sorbas-Tabernas Basin The climate is semiarid thermo-Mediterranean with an average annual temperature of 17.8ºC and an average annual rainfall of 235 mm, which is among the driest areas in Europe. The pronounced regional semiarid climate in the SE Iberian Peninsula is determined by its geographical location, in the rainfall shadow of the main Betic ranges and the proximity of northern Africa. In the autumn, rainfall is associated with incoming fronts from the Mediterranean Sea, which sometimes results in storms and torrential rains. Most rainfall events are low magnitude and low intensity. The average minimum temperature is 4.1°C in the coldest month and an average maximum of 34.7°C in the hottest month. Daily amplitudes average 13.7°C in summer. Potential evaporation is around 4 to 5 times higher than annual precipitation.

Area B is located in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. There the climate is semiarid warm Mediterranean. The mean annual temperature oscillates around 18-19ºC, and frosts are sporadic, occurring only on isolated days. Mean annual rainfall is approximately 220 mm per year, with prolonged summer droughts, strong inter- (larger than 30%) and intra-annual variations and 9 to 12 months in which precipitation is not sufficient to compensate for potential evapotranspiration. Annual potential evapotranspiration is around 1400 mm. 

Land uses include tree and annual crops cultivation, occasionally in protected structures (greenhouses and under mesh), pasturage (especially goat herds) and recreational activities (touristic uses, beaches in Cabo de Gata, and cinema in Tabernas area). Industry development is scarce and of composed by small enterprises. The exploitation of natural resources is regulated by the current zoning plan (PORN, 2008). Agriculture is one of the main activities, covering 26% of the park area. The abandonment of some agricultural areas and simultaneous intensification in certain others (i.e., water fed agricultural systems and greenhouses) are the main causes of degradation in the park.

StudySites  Orchards
 Almería map showing study sites and EC towers
 Stone fruit orchards sited in Agua Amarga at bloom.