Conservation Agriculture (CA) is a sustainable agricultural production system that consists of several farming practices adapted to cultivation demands and every region local conditions, whose cultivation techniques and soil management protect them from erosion and degradation, improve their quality and biodiversity, contribute to preservation of natural resources such as water and air, without detriment of exploitations production’s level. Among CA, there are practises destined to herbaceous and woody cultivations. The ones used in herbaceous are called Direct Sowing (DS), Minimum Tillage in CA, and the ones used in woody cultivations are cover crops in fruit tree orchards.
Agronomic practices included in CA systems are based on three principles:
- Minimum or no soil’s alteration.
- Permanent cover of soil, with an alive cover, as well as an inert cover.
- Carrying out of species rotation in annual cultivation exploitation, recommended in the majority of the cases.
CA introduces important changes in the C soil dynamic and promotes the carbon sequestration. The rest of the harvest on the surface and the no-mechanical alteration of soil has the direct consequence of a reduction in cuttings decomposition rate, a reduction in soil’s organic material mineralization, due to a minor aeration and accessibility to microorganisms, and an increase in soil’s carbon. With CA you can also improve air’s conservation, reducing atmospheric contamination by eliminating cuttings and rest of pruning burning, as well as by reducing CO2 emissions.