Adapt2change – LIFE09 ENV/GR/296
“Adapt Agricultural Production to climate change and
limited water supply”
Final Version ...
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Disclaimer
This document describes work undertaken as part of the 01/11/2011 tend...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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Table of con...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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2.7.4 Dust m...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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3.7.2 Vehicl...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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6.5 Biodiver...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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1 Introducti...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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2 Environmen...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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Despite its...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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this is all...
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2.1.3 Soil ...
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Figure 2.3 ...
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 The soil ...
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economy (FA...
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Figure 2.4 ...
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2.2.2 Water...
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Nutrients. ...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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application...
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2.2.3.1 Wat...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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2.2.3.2 Irr...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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2.2.3.3 Wat...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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2.3 Chemica...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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pesticides ...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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 a normall...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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control sho...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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 What were...
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wastage due...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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formulation...
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2.3.5 Chemi...
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LOW RISK
Is...
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2.3.6 Spray...
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2.4 Fertili...
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not allow f...
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2.4.1 Nutri...
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2.4.2 Ferti...
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2.5 Biodive...
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2.5.1 Biodi...
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2.6 Waste
A...
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2.6.1 Waste...
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2.7 Air - N...
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Suggested p...
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2.7.4 Odor ...
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2.7.5 Dust ...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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2.7.6 Smoke...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
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2.7.7 Noise...
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2.7.8 Green...
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2.8 Energy
...
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2.8.1 Energ...
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3 Environme...
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3. Reduces ...
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Controlling...
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Irrigation ...
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Stunted or ...
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 Design th...
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft
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Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft

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Recent intensification of agriculture, and the prospects of future intensification, will have major impacts on the nonagricultural terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of the world (Tilman, 1998). The doubling of agricultural food production during the past 35 years was associated with a 6.87-fold increase in nitrogen fertilization, a 3.48-fold increase in phosphorus fertilization, a 1.68-fold increase in the amount of irrigated cropland, and a 1.1-fold increase in land cultivation (Tilman, 1998).
Around half the EU's land is farmed. Farming is important for the EU's natural environment. Farming and nature influence each other (EC, 2012):
 Farming has contributed over the centuries to creating and maintaining a unique countryside. Agricultural land management has been a positive force for the development of the rich variety of landscapes and habitats, including a mosaic of woodlands, wetlands, and extensive tracts of an open countryside.
 The ecological integrity and the scenic value of landscapes make rural areas attractive for the establishment of enterprises, for places to live, and for the tourist and recreation businesses.
The links between the richness of the natural environment and farming practices are complex (EC, 2012). Many valuable habitats in Europe are maintained by extensive farming, and a wide range of wild species rely on this for their survival (EC, 2012). However, inappropriate agricultural practices and land use can also have an adverse impact on natural resources, such as (EC, 2012):
 pollution of soil, water and air,
 fragmentation of habitats and
 loss of wildlife.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has identified three priority areas for action to protect and enhance the EU's rural heritage (EC, 2012):
 Biodiversity and the preservation and development of 'natural' farming and forestry systems, and traditional agricultural landscapes;
 Water management and use;
 Dealing with climate change.

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Transcript of "Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation_draft"

  1. 1. Adapt2change – LIFE09 ENV/GR/296 “Adapt Agricultural Production to climate change and limited water supply” Final Version 2012-07-23 Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation
  2. 2. www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [1]
  3. 3. www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [2] Disclaimer This document describes work undertaken as part of the 01/11/2011 tender between the TEI of Larissa and the Emmanouilides and GreenGears Ltd consortium. All views and opinions expressed therein remain the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Institute.
  4. 4. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [3]
  5. 5. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [4] Table of contents 1 Introduction....................................................................................................................... 8 2 Environmental impacts of agriculture............................................................................... 9 2.1 Land and soil.............................................................................................................. 9 2.1.1 Soil erosion ........................................................................................................ 9 2.1.2 Soil structure ................................................................................................... 11 2.1.3 Salinity ............................................................................................................. 12 2.1.4 Soil acidity and alkalinity ................................................................................. 13 2.1.5 Sodicity ............................................................................................................ 14 2.2 Water....................................................................................................................... 14 2.2.1 Inefficient use of resource............................................................................... 15 2.2.2 Efficient irrigation management practices...................................................... 16 2.2.3 Inappropriate water quality ............................................................................ 17 2.2.4 Risk Assessment............................................................................................... 20 2.2.5 Risk Assessment of irrigation water quality .................................................... 20 2.2.6 Risk Assessment of downstream water quality............................................... 22 2.3 Chemicals................................................................................................................. 23 2.3.1 Inappropriate storage of chemicals................................................................. 23 2.3.2 Inappropriate application................................................................................ 25 2.3.3 Inappropriate disposal..................................................................................... 27 2.3.4 Spray drift........................................................................................................ 27 2.3.5 Use of chemicals risk assessment.................................................................... 32 2.3.6 Spray drift risk assessment.............................................................................. 32 2.4 Nutrients - fertilizers ............................................................................................... 33 2.4.1 Nutrient management risk assessment........................................................... 35 2.4.2 Nutrient application risk assessment .............................................................. 36 2.5 Biodiversity.............................................................................................................. 37 2.5.1 Biodiversity risk assessment............................................................................ 38 2.6 Waste....................................................................................................................... 39 2.6.1 Waste risk assessment .................................................................................... 40 2.7 Air ............................................................................................................................ 41 2.7.1 Odor management .......................................................................................... 41 2.7.2 Monitoring and recording ............................................................................... 42 2.7.3 Odour management risk assessment.............................................................. 43
  6. 6. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [5] 2.7.4 Dust management risk assessment................................................................. 44 2.7.5 Smoke management risk assessment ............................................................. 45 2.7.6 Noise management risk assessment ............................................................... 46 2.7.7 Greenhouse gases management risk assessment........................................... 47 2.8 Energy...................................................................................................................... 48 2.8.1 Energy management risk assessment ............................................................. 49 3 Environmental impact assessment and control procedures........................................... 50 3.1 Soil - Soil treatment................................................................................................. 50 3.1.1 Rotation........................................................................................................... 50 3.1.2 Objective – to minimize the potential for water to erode soil on the property. 51 3.1.3 Objective – to minimize the potential for wind to erode soil on the property. 52 3.1.4 Objective – soil structure is suitable for root growth, water infiltration, aeration and drainage needs of the crop........................................................................ 53 3.3 Water....................................................................................................................... 54 3.3.1 Irrigation methods........................................................................................... 55 3.3.2 Objective – water quality is suitable for its intended use on the property and does not negatively impact downstream water quality.................................................. 57 3.4 Chemicals................................................................................................................. 58 3.4.1 Storage of plant protection products.............................................................. 59 3.4.2 Objective – agricultural chemicals are used in accordance with label or permit instructions; and all chemicals, including fuels and oils, are stored, handled, applied and disposed of in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts................................... 59 3.5 Nutrient Management............................................................................................. 61 3.5.1 Instructions of inorganic fertilizer ................................................................... 61 3.5.2 Fertilizer application management tools......................................................... 61 3.5.3 Fertilizer storage.............................................................................................. 62 3.5.4 Objective – to effectively manage nutrient inputs to meet crop requirements and soil characteristics. ................................................................................................... 62 3.5.5 Objective – to ensure nutrient application methods and timing maximize benefits to the crop and minimize potential negative environmental impacts.............. 62 3.6 Biodiversity.............................................................................................................. 63 3.6.1 Suggested practices......................................................................................... 63 3.6.2 Soil biodiversity ............................................................................................... 64 3.7 Energy Management ............................................................................................... 65 3.7.1 Irrigation.......................................................................................................... 65
  7. 7. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [6] 3.7.2 Vehicles and equipment.................................................................................. 65 3.7.3 Fuel .................................................................................................................. 65 3.7.4 Lighting ............................................................................................................ 65 3.7.5 Renewable resources ...................................................................................... 66 4 Environmental impact of prototype “Adapt2Change” greenhouse................................ 67 4.1 Land and soil............................................................................................................ 67 4.2 Water....................................................................................................................... 67 4.3 Chemicals................................................................................................................. 67 4.4 Nutrients.................................................................................................................. 68 4.5 Biodiversity.............................................................................................................. 68 4.6 Waste....................................................................................................................... 68 4.7 Air ............................................................................................................................ 69 4.8 Energy...................................................................................................................... 69 5 Environmental risk assessment at the prototype “Adapt2Change” greenhouse ........... 70 5.1.1 Water management risk assessment .............................................................. 71 5.1.2 Risk Assessment of irrigation water quality .................................................... 72 5.1.3 Risk Assessment of downstream water quality............................................... 73 5.1.4 Use of chemicals risk assessment.................................................................... 74 5.1.5 Spray drift risk assessment.............................................................................. 76 5.1.6 Nutrient management risk assessment........................................................... 77 5.1.7 Nutrient application risk assessment .............................................................. 78 5.1.8 Biodiversity risk assessment............................................................................ 79 5.1.9 Waste risk assessment .................................................................................... 80 5.1.10 Odour management risk assessment.............................................................. 81 5.1.11 Dust management risk assessment................................................................. 82 5.1.12 Smoke management risk assessment ............................................................. 83 5.1.13 Noise management risk assessment ............................................................... 84 5.1.14 Greenhouse gases management risk assessment........................................... 85 5.1.16 Energy management risk assessment ............................................................. 86 6 Determination of changes in the environmental load at the prototype “Adapt2Change” greenhouse.............................................................................................................................. 87 6.1 Land – Soil................................................................................................................ 87 6.2 Water....................................................................................................................... 87 6.3 Chemicals................................................................................................................. 87 6.4 Nutrients.................................................................................................................. 87
  8. 8. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [7] 6.5 Biodiversity.............................................................................................................. 87 6.6 Waste....................................................................................................................... 88 6.7 Air ............................................................................................................................ 88 6.8 Energy...................................................................................................................... 88 7 Reproducibility and transferability of technology........................................................... 89 7.1 Reproducibility ........................................................................................................ 89 7.2 Transferability of technology .................................................................................. 89 8 Eco friendly procedures and products ............................................................................ 90 8.1 Procedures............................................................................................................... 90 8.1.1 Hydroponics..................................................................................................... 90 8.1.2 Use of geothermal energy............................................................................... 91 8.1.3 Water recycling................................................................................................ 91 8.1.4 Waste reducing and recycling ......................................................................... 97 8.2 Eco friendly Products............................................................................................... 98 8.2.1 Greenhouse organic farming........................................................................... 98 9 Included standards .......................................................................................................... 99 9.1 Good Agricultural Practices..................................................................................... 99 9.2 Good Agricultural Practices (G.A.P.)........................................................................ 99 9.3 Food safety............................................................................................................ 100 9.4 Soil ......................................................................................................................... 100 9.5 Crop protection ..................................................................................................... 100 9.6 Sustainability ......................................................................................................... 101 9.7 Social responsibility............................................................................................... 101 9.8 Economic efficiency............................................................................................... 101 9.9 Hygiene.................................................................................................................. 101 9.10 Record keeping...................................................................................................... 102 10 References..................................................................................................................... 103
  9. 9. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [8] 1 Introduction Recent intensification of agriculture, and the prospects of future intensification, will have major impacts on the nonagricultural terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of the world (Tilman, 1998). The doubling of agricultural food production during the past 35 years was associated with a 6.87-fold increase in nitrogen fertilization, a 3.48-fold increase in phosphorus fertilization, a 1.68-fold increase in the amount of irrigated cropland, and a 1.1-fold increase in land cultivation (Tilman, 1998). Around half the EU's land is farmed. Farming is important for the EU's natural environment. Farming and nature influence each other (EC, 2012):  Farming has contributed over the centuries to creating and maintaining a unique countryside. Agricultural land management has been a positive force for the development of the rich variety of landscapes and habitats, including a mosaic of woodlands, wetlands, and extensive tracts of an open countryside.  The ecological integrity and the scenic value of landscapes make rural areas attractive for the establishment of enterprises, for places to live, and for the tourist and recreation businesses. The links between the richness of the natural environment and farming practices are complex (EC, 2012). Many valuable habitats in Europe are maintained by extensive farming, and a wide range of wild species rely on this for their survival (EC, 2012). However, inappropriate agricultural practices and land use can also have an adverse impact on natural resources, such as (EC, 2012):  pollution of soil, water and air,  fragmentation of habitats and  loss of wildlife. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has identified three priority areas for action to protect and enhance the EU's rural heritage (EC, 2012):  Biodiversity and the preservation and development of 'natural' farming and forestry systems, and traditional agricultural landscapes;  Water management and use;  Dealing with climate change.
  10. 10. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [9] 2 Environmental impacts of agriculture 2.1 Land and soil Soil is a composite environment since it is the result of abiotic factors (independent of human actions), that is to say of alterations to the bedrock (which provides soil's mineral elements), atmospheric content (oxygen fixation, nitrogen cycle, water cycle) and biotic factors (linked to the actions of living things) such as the content of vegetation cover and decomposition of organic matter (GoodPlanet.info, 2009). Soil analysis shows a superimposition of layers made up of different colors, chemical compositions and sizes of material (GoodPlanet.info, 2009). Each superimposition of layers creates a pedological profile (GoodPlanet.info, 2009). Agriculture plays a large part in soil and land degradation, especially clearing, irrigation, chemical fertilisers and pesticides, overgrazing and even the passage of heavy farming equipment (GoodPlanet, 2009). Clearing and deforestation of large plots of land to increase the agricultural surface area, change humus composition and soil formation because of varied indigenous vegetation being replaced by secondary vegetation (monoculture being the extreme) (GoodPlanet, 2009). Tillage destroys superior layers of soil as well as the layer of humus and can even cause a plough sole (lower layer of compact land) to form because of ploughs regularly passing through soil at the same depth (GoodPlanet, 2009). Farming equipment also contributes to soil compaction especially when it weighs more than 5 tons (GoodPlanet, 2009). Irrigation and soil drainage can cause soil acidification and salination whilst the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides contributes to reducing soil capillarity (runoff) as well as its consistency (GoodPlanet, 2009). 2.1.1 Soil erosion Soil is naturally removed by the action of water or wind: such 'background' (or 'geological') soil erosion has been occurring for some 450 million years, since the first land plants formed the first soil (Favis-Mortlock, 2007). In general, background erosion removes soil at roughly the same rate as soil is formed but 'accelerated' soil erosion loss is a far more recent problem stemming from human activities such as deforestation, overgrazing and unsuitable cultivation practices (Favis-Mortlock, 2007). These activities intensify soil erosion and can lead to desertification especially in arid Mediterranean areas with major topsoil loss. Furthermore, accelerated soil erosion can affect both agricultural areas and natural ecosystems either off-site or on site and it is one of the most widespread environmental problems worldwide (Favis-Mortlock, 2007). The use of powerful agricultural implements has, in some parts of the world, led to damaging amounts of soil moving downslope merely under the action of gravity: the so-called tillage erosion phenomenon (Favis-Mortlock, 2007).
  11. 11. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [10] Despite its global nature, data on soil erosion severity are often limited (Favis- Mortlock, 2005). The Global Assessment of Human Induced Soil Degradation (GLASOD) study estimated that around 15% of the Earth's ice-free land surface is afflicted by all forms of land degradation, of which soil erosion by water is responsible for about 56% and wind erosion for about 28% (Favis-Mortlock, 2005) as shown in Figure 2.1. This means that the area affected by water erosion is, very roughly, around 11 million km2 , and the area affected by wind erosion is around 5.5 million km2 , while the area affected by tillage erosion is currently unknown (Favis- Mortlock, 2005). Figure 2.1 The GLASOD estimate of global land degradation: note that this includes all forms of soil degradation, not just erosion (Favis-Mortlock, 2005) The Mediterranean region is particularly prone to erosion, as shown in Figure 2.1, because it is subject to long dry periods followed by heavy bursts of erosive rainfall, falling on steep slopes with fragile soils, resulting in considerable amounts of erosion (Van der Knijff et. al., 2000). In parts of the Mediterranean region, erosion has reached a stage of irreversibility and in some places erosion has practically ceased because there is no more soil left (Van der Knijff et. al., 2000). With a very slow rate of soil formation, any soil loss of more than 1 t/ha/yr can be considered as irreversible within a time span of 50-100 years (Van der Knijff et. al., 2000). Losses of 20 to 40 t/ha in individual storms, that may occur once every two or three years, are measured regularly in Europe with losses of more than 100 t/ha in extreme events (Morgan, 1992 in Van der Knijff et. al., 2000). It may take some time before the effects of such erosion become noticeable, especially in areas with the deepest and most fertile soils or on heavily fertilised land (Van der Knijff et. al., 2000). However,
  12. 12. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [11] this is all the more dangerous because, once the effects have become obvious, it is usually too late to do anything about it (Van der Knijff et. al., 2000). Figure 2.2 Soil erosion risk assessment in the EU (Van der Knijff et. al., 2000) Because soil is formed slowly, it is essentially a finite resource. Therefore sustainable agricultural practices, prevention and remediation measures must be further researched and implemented. 2.1.2 Soil structure When soil is compacted, its natural porosity is markedly reduced leading to severe cases of water and air induced erosion and restricted root development (DEFRA, 2011). Factors adding to compaction are (DEFRA, 2011):  Field operations carried out when the soil is too wet.  Heavy equipment – the heavier the equipment, the drier the conditions required unless different tires are used.  Emphasis on early showing or drilling (particularly in the spring).  Reducing the number and extent of tillage operations.  Wheeling in furrow bottoms when plowing. The effects of cultivation pans and weakly structured layers are: poor germination, poor response to fertilizers, traffic damage, crop diseases and pests, draughtiness (DEFRA, 2011).
  13. 13. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [12] 2.1.3 Soil salinisation Soil salinisation is the process that leads to an excessive increase of water-soluble salts in the soil (EC Joint Research Centre, 2012). Accumulated salts include sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, chloride, sulphate, carbonate and bicarbonate (mainly sodium chloride and sodium sulphate) (EC Joint Research Centre, 2012). A distinction can be made between primary and secondary salinisation processes (EC Joint Research Centre, 2012). Primary salinisation involves salt accumulation through natural processes due to a high salt content of the parent material or in groundwater. Secondary salinisation is caused by human interventions such as inappropriate irrigation practices, e.g. with salt-rich irrigation water and/or insufficient drainage (EC Joint Research Centre, 2012). More specifically, salinisation is often associated with irrigated areas where low rainfall, high evapotranspiration rates or soil textural characteristics impede the washing out of the salts, which subsequently build-up in the soil surface layers (EC Joint Research Centre, 2012). Irrigation with high salt content waters dramatically worsens the problem (EC Joint Research Centre, 2012). In coastal areas, salinisation can be associated with the over exploitation of groundwater caused by the demands of growing urbanisation, industry and agriculture (EC Joint Research Centre, 2012). Over extraction of groundwater can lower the normal water table and lead to the intrusion of marine water (EC Joint Research Centre, 2012). Soil salinisation is one of the most widespread soil degradation processes on Earth, with an estimated 1 to 3 million hectares affected in the enlarged EU and mainly in the Mediterranean countries, as shown in Figure 2.3 (EC Joint Research Centre, 2012). It is regarded as a major cause of desertification and therefore is a serious form of soil degradation (EC Joint Research Centre, 2012).
  14. 14. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [13] Figure 2.3 Saline and Sodic Soils in the EU (EC, 2008) 2.1.4 Soil acidity and alkalinity Soil acidity and alkalinity depends on various components which determine its properties (Lake, 2000). These include mineral particles (sand, silt and clay, which give soil its texture), organic matter (living and dead), air and water (Lake, 2000). Soil acidity and alkalinity are measured in pH units with a scale of 1 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline) and 7 being neutral, though extreme values do not occur in agricultural soils (FAO, 2000). Values from 7 to 4 are increasingly more acid and from 7 to 10 increasingly alkaline (FAO, 2000). A main effect of too high or too low pH is that certain nutrients become too available and toxic to the crop, while others become less available and show up as crop deficiencies (FAO, 2000). In acid soils aluminium and manganese can become very soluble and toxic, but additionally, they reduce plant's ability to take up calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and molybdenum (FAO, 2000). Phosphorus in particular is unavailable in acid soils and if boron, copper and zinc are present they can become toxic at low pH (FAO, 2000). In medium alkaline soils boron, copper and zinc become deficient and phosphorus again becomes unavailable (FAO, 2000). Soil pH has relatively little effect on nitrogen (FAO, 2000). Causes of extreme soil pH are (FAO, 2000):
  15. 15. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [14]  The soil is geologically very old and heavily leached, with high levels of aluminium and iron oxides. These soils are acid.  Acidifying fertilizers have been applied to the soil for many years. These include those with ammonium nitrogen and superphosphate.  Large amounts of organic matter have been added to a very wet soil over many years with resulting acidification.  The soil is inherently alkaline being derived from limestone parent materials. 2.1.5 Sodification Sodification is the process by which the exchangeable sodium (Na+ ) content of saline soil is increased (EC Joint Research Centre, 2012). This process takes place in saline soils, where much of the chlorine has been washed away, leaving behind sodium ions attached to tiny clay particles in the soil (Mason, 2003). As a result, these clay particles lose their tendency to stick together when irrigated – leading to unstable soils which may erode or become impermeable to both water and roots (Mason, 2003). Sodicity can occur in the top 30 cm or so of the soil, or further down, but it is in the top 5 cm where the biggest problems occur (Mason, 2003). If sodicity occurs below the root zones of plants, its effect on crop productivity may be less apparent but it can still cause significant problems (AAS, 1999). Sodic topsoils in arid and semi-arid regions are subject to dust storms, which create major environmental and human health problems (AAS, 1999). Sodic soils on sloping land are also subject to water erosion, which means that important fertile topsoil is lost from agricultural land (AAS, 1999). When water flows in channels or rivulets, soil is washed away along these lines forming furrows called rills and in some cases, even larger channels of soil removal, called gullies, develop (AAS, 1999). In other situations where only the subsoil is sodic on sloping land, subsurface water flowing over this sodic layer will create tunnels, leaving cavities that eventually collapse to form gullies (AAS, 1999). Sodic soils that are also saline contain high concentrations of both sodium and sodium chloride (AAS, 1999). Strangely enough, such soils will usually not exhibit symptoms of sodicity because the sodium and chloride ions formed by the dissolved sodium chloride (an electrolyte) in the soil solution prevents clay particles from dispersing (AAS, 1999). 2.2 Water Second only to drinking water availability, access to food supply is the greatest priority (FAO, 1996). Hence, agriculture is a dominant component of the global
  16. 16. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [15] economy (FAO, 1996) inflicting great pressures on both water quantity and quality especially in the Mediterranean region. Fresh water is a finite resource, widely but not everywhere available, sensitive to external influences and environmental degradation, difficult to manage as it is mobile under its own peculiar conditions, and costly to control and develop (FAO, 1996). On the other hand, population growth and socio-economic development lead to increasing demands, while climate change and international geopolitics are increasing uncertainties (FAO, 1996). Thus, intensifying pressure on vulnerable water and land resources, the task of sustainable management in agriculture becomes vital and urgent. 2.2.1 Water availability In recent years, a growing concern has been expressed throughout the EU regarding water scarcity problems and the significant impacts on water resources by agricultural activities (EC Environment, 2012). In Europe, agriculture has been estimated to account for around 24% of total water abstraction, although in parts of southern Europe, this figure can reach up to 80% (EEA, 2009 in EC Environment, 2012) while in Greece, Spain and Portugal this percentage rises to 90% of total overall water consumption (Berman et. al., 2012). Irrigation of crops constitutes a considerable use, especially in southern Member States where irrigation accounts for almost all agricultural water use and over-abstraction remains a pressing issue as shown in Figure 2.4 (EC Environment, 2012). Agriculture has also been identified as the major sustainable water management issue in the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) (EC Environment, 2012). For this reason, water use management in agriculture has been identified as one of the key themes relating to water scarcity and drought (EC Environment, 2012).
  17. 17. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [16] Figure 2.4 Irrigation intensity in Europe (GMIA, Siebert et. al., 2007 in Berman, 2012) All agricultural aspects of agricultural production require water and are broadly subdivided in three types of uses: irrigation, animal rearing and on-farming processing operations (Berman et. al., 2012). It takes approximately 3,500 litres of water to produce the food a typical European consumes in one day (Berman et. al., 2012). A large proportion of this comes from rainwater (so called “green water”), however in southern Europe irrigated crop production may be entirely dependent on surface and groundwater resources (so called “blue water”), for this there is increasing competition (Berman et. al., 2012). Therefore, sustainable water management is essential to maximize yields and control product quality (Lovell, 2006). Sustainable water management considers both the crop’s water demand and the amount of water available, while managing irrigation in order to maximize efficient use of water applied (Lovell, 2006). Irrigation efficiency is a term that helps define the proportion of irrigation water that is actually taken up and used by the crop (Lovell, 2006). Improvement in irrigation efficiency is normally associated with water savings, production gains and better long-term environmental management (Lovell, 2006). Irrigation efficiency is determined by factors such as (Lovell, 2006):  Ensuring irrigation systems are operating to design specification and applying water as evenly as possible;  Ability to time, or schedule irrigation, based upon crop water needs;  Clear understanding of soils’ water holding, infiltration and drainage capacity. To manage irrigation efficiently, a number of management practices need to be considered, starting with an understanding of water availability and crop requirements (Lovell, 2006) as described below. Efficient irrigation management practices There are nine basic steps in the efficient management of irrigation (Lovell, 2006): 1. Identify: Define property goals and implications for water management. 2. Plan: Know your soils. 3. Design the most suitable irrigation system. 4. Develop a farm water budget. 5. Know your water supply/ies. 6. Do: Determine a basic irrigation schedule. 7. Implement strategies to manage nutrient input and salinity. 8. Monitoring and recording: a. Monitor record and evaluate. 9. Check irrigation system performance.
  18. 18. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [17] 2.2.2 Water quality Agricultural practices may also have negative impacts on water quality (Utah State University, 2012). Pollutants that result from farming include sediment, nutrients, pathogens, pesticides, metals, and salts (US EPA, 2005). Impacts from agricultural activities on surface and ground water can be minimized by using management practices adapted to local conditions (US EPA, 2005). Many practices designed to reduce pollution also increase productivity and save farmers money in the long run (US EPA, 2005). There are two aspects of water quality that need to be considered (Lovell, 2006): The first involves water quality for agricultural use (e.g. irrigation, agricultural sprays, packing sheds); The second aspect involves water quality protection from agricultural activities, thus ensuring that the quality of water leaving the crop does not negatively impact on downstream users and the environment (Lovell, 2006). 2.2.2.1 Water quality of irrigation water If rivers or streams are used as water resources, upstream human activities may impact agriculture (Lovell, 2006). Possible problems caused from poor quality water use include (Lovell, 2006):  Salinity (high total soluble salt content)  Sodicity (high sodium content)  Toxicity (high concentration of specific salts in the soil)  Blue-green algae, which may be toxic  Clogging of irrigation equipment and  Corrosion of pipes and other equipment. 2.2.2.2 Water quality impacts from agriculture Sedimentation. The most prevalent source of agricultural water pollution is soil that is washed off fields. Rain water carries soil particles (sediment) and dumps them into nearby lakes or streams (US EPA, 2005). Too much sediment can cloud the water, reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches aquatic plants. It can also clog the gills of fish or smother fish larvae (US EPA, 2005). In addition, other pollutants like fertilizers, pesticides, and heavy metals are often attached to the soil particles and wash into the water bodies, causing algal blooms and depleted oxygen, which is deadly to most aquatic life (US EPA, 2005). Farmers and ranchers can reduce erosion and sedimentation by 20 to 90 percent by applying management practices that control the volume and flow rate of runoff water, keep the soil in place, and reduce soil transport (US EPA, 2005).
  19. 19. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [18] Nutrients. Farmers apply nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium in the form of chemical fertilizers, manure, and sludge (US EPA, 2005). They may also grow legumes and leave crop residues to enhance production (US EPA, 2005). When these sources exceed plant needs, or are applied just before it rains, nutrients can wash into aquatic ecosystems (US EPA, 2005). There they can cause algae blooms, which can ruin swimming and boating opportunities, create foul taste and odor in drinking water, and kill fish by removing oxygen from the water (US EPA, 2005). High concentrations of nitrate in drinking water can cause methemoglobinemia, a potentially fatal disease in infants, also known as blue baby syndrome (US EPA, 2005). To combat nutrient losses, farmers can implement nutrient management plans according to the CAP Directives. Animal Feeding Operations. Runoff from poorly managed facilities can carry pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, nutrients, and oxygen-demanding organics and solids that contaminate shell fishing areas and cause other water quality problems (US EPA, 2005). Ground water can also be contaminated by waste seepage (US EPA, 2005). Farmers can limit discharges by storing and managing facility wastewater and runoff with appropriate waste management systems according to the CAP Directives. Livestock Grazing. Overgrazing exposes soils, increases erosion, encourages invasion by undesirable plants, destroys fish habitat, and may destroy stream banks and floodplain vegetation necessary for habitat and water quality filtration (US EPA, 2005). To reduce the impacts of grazing on water quality, farmers can adjust grazing intensity, keep livestock out of sensitive areas, provide alternative sources of water and shade, and promote re-vegetation of ranges, pastures, and riparian zones (US EPA, 2005). Irrigation. Irrigation water is applied to supplement natural precipitation or to protect crops against freezing or wilting (US EPA, 2005). Inefficient irrigation can cause water quality problems (US EPA, 2005). In arid areas, for example, where rainwater does not carry minerals deep into the soil, evaporation of irrigation water can concentrate salts (US EPA, 2005). Excessive irrigation can affect water quality by causing erosion, transporting nutrients, pesticides, and heavy metals, or decreasing the amount of water that flows naturally in streams and rivers (US EPA, 2005). It can also cause a buildup of selenium, a toxic metal that can harm waterfowl reproduction (US EPA, 2005). Farmers can reduce pollution from irrigation by improving water use efficiency (US EPA, 2005). They can measure actual crop needs and apply only the amount of water required (US EPA, 2005). Farmers may also choose to convert irrigation systems to higher efficiency equipment (US EPA, 2005). Pesticides. Insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides are used to kill agricultural pests (US EPA, 2005). These chemicals can enter and contaminate water through direct
  20. 20. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [19] application, runoff, and atmospheric deposition (US EPA, 2005). They can poison fish and wildlife, contaminate food sources, and destroy the habitat that animals use for protective cover (US EPA, 2005). To reduce contamination from pesticides, farmers should use CAP Directive and EU techniques based on the specific soils, climate, pest history, and crop conditions for a particular field (US EPA, 2005). The CAP Directives encourages natural barriers and limits pesticide use and manages necessary applications to minimize pesticide movement from the field. 2.2.3 Risk Assessment The following flow charts describe Risk Assessment steps for sustainable water management implementation in agricultural practices like the proposed prototype Greenhouses, based on international literature and practice (Lovell, 2006).
  21. 21. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [20] 2.2.3.1 Water Use Risk Assessment Are you aware of the anticipated water volume required for planned production? NO HIGH RISK YES Does water availability meet this requirement? NO HIGH RISK YES Is your irrigation system working to design specifications? NO HIGH RISK YES Is the irrigation scheduling system in place? NO HIGH RISK YES Are there strategies to manage nutrient input and salinity? NO HIGH RISK YES LOW RISK
  22. 22. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [21] 2.2.3.2 Irrigation Water Quality Risk Assessment Has your water been tested for: pH, nutrient levels, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity NO Is the irrigation water known to be: Acid High in nitrogen or phosphorus Saline Low in dissolved oxygen Turbid Are these problems occurring in the region? NO LOW RISK YES HIGH RISK YES Did test results meet national guidelines? NO Is the source of irrigation water known to be affected by any other potential risk (heavy metals, agricultural chemicals etc) etc)? NO LOW RISK YESYES HIGH RISK
  23. 23. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [22] 2.2.3.3 Water Quality Impacts Risk Assessment Has the risk of soil erosion been assessed and any necessary control measures implemented? NO HIGH RISK YES Are waterstreams passing through the property protected? NO HIGH RISK YES Are fertilizers, agricultural chemicals and fuels stored so as to minimize the risk of polluting surface or ground water? NO HIGH RISK YES Is the risk of contaminating water resources addressed when applying and handling fertilizers, agricultural chemicals, fuels and releasing used packing shed water? NO HIGH RISK YES LOW RISK
  24. 24. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [23] 2.3 Chemicals Agricultural chemicals are widely used in farming, pesticides or plant protection products (EC, 2012). They fight crop pests and reduce competition from weeds, thus improving yields and protecting the availability, quality, reliability and price of production to the benefit of farmers and consumers (EC, 2012). However, their use does involve risk, because most have inherent properties that can endanger health and the environment if not used properly (EC, 2012). Human and animal health can be negatively affected through direct exposure (e.g. industrial workers producing plant protection products and operators applying them) and indirect exposure (e.g. via their residues in agricultural produce and drinking water, or by exposure of bystanders or animals to spray drift when they are applied) (EC, 2012). Soil and water may be polluted via spray drift, dispersal of pesticides into the soil, and run-off during or after cleaning of equipment, or via uncontrolled storage and disposal (EC, 2012). In this context the EU seeks to ensure the correct use of pesticides or plant protection products and to maintain public awareness (EC, 2012). In this respect, the Common Agricultural Policy includes measures that help promoting the sustainability in the use of plant protection products (EC, 2012): decoupling, cross-compliance, operational programs of the fruit and vegetables regime, agri-environmental measures (e.g. support to integrated farming), training, the use of farm advisory services. Moreover, no pesticide can be used in the EU unless it is scientifically proven that it: (EC, 2012) Doesn’t harm people's health; Has no unacceptable effects on the environment; Is effective against pests. Today, farmers are increasingly aware of the complex interrelationships between agricultural practices and environmental quality (Hamilton et. al., 2006). Modern farmers now consider the timing of agricultural chemical application and irrigation, the amount and style of pesticide application, specific crop needs, and local weather conditions in their pesticide and fertilizer use (Hamilton et. al., 2006). 2.3.1 Storage Poorly stored pesticides and improper mixing/loading practices can present a potential risk to our health and to the integrity of the environment (Kennedy, 2012). The quality of surface water, groundwater and soil can be degraded in areas where
  25. 25. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [24] pesticides are stored under inappropriate conditions, improperly mixed and loaded into application tanks and where equipment is washed and rinsed after application (Kennedy, 2012). Accidents involving spills or leakages may have serious health and environmental consequences (Kennedy, 2012). Safety is the key element in pesticide storage (Kennedy, 2012). The safest approach to any pesticide problem is to limit the amounts and types of pesticides stored (Kennedy, 2012). The amounts and types of pesticides stored should be maintained at the level that is immediately required and should not be stored beyond immediate needs (Kennedy, 2012). According to Australian Standards for minor storage (<10 kg or L of fumigants), pesticides should be stored in a dedicated shed or room and not be used for other than storage or measuring out pesticides (DPIWE, 2004). More specifically, the following checklists should be followed while planning pesticide storage in a farming area (DPIWE, 2004): Site selection: The site should be located at least:  15 m from the property boundary  10 m from buildings occupied by people or livestock  5 m from watercourses, dams, drainage or sewage lines  3 m from stored flammable materials  well above maximum flood level The site should preferably be:  in an open area with low risk to wild-fires  located to have good air circulation and avoid temperature extremes  near to the tank mixing and filling area The site must have access to:  a clean and reliable water supply for tank filling and emergency use Storage room structure/construction:  structurally sound to wind and weather especially good roof with no leaks  fire resistant structure and internal cladding is preferred  wall and roof insulation to moderate storage temperature is desirable  should have clear access and outward opening doors The floor:  must be impermeable and preferably graded to aid collection of spills and wash down  must be graded or bounded to contain 25% of the total liquid in the store. Some schemes may require this to be 110% of the possible store contents. Check that doorways and service entry/exits do not compromise containment
  26. 26. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [25]  a normally closed pipe feeding an external lime pit for dilute wash down is acceptable  should be clear of fixtures and items to aid a total clean up in the event of a spill  should be non slip for worker safety. Ventilation:  must be adequate to prevent build up of chemical vapors; both lower vents just above the bund and upper vents in the walls or roof are highly recommended Lighting:  must be adequate to read labels in and to measure out chemicals; natural light is preferred Shelving:  must be sturdy and made of non absorbent materials  located on the coolest side of store and away from direct sunlight, electrical and heat sources  must be sufficient to avoid stacking and allow ease of use Water supply:  clean, reliable and capable of 15 minutes continuous flow to wash chemical off any part of the body Security:  the store must be lockable and kept locked to prevent unauthorized entry  windows and vents must be designed to prevent entry by children or others  only authorized staff should have access to store keys 2.3.2 Application Pesticide application refers to the practical way in which pesticides (including herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, or nematode control agents) are delivered to their biological targets (e.g. pest organism, crop or other plant) (Bateman, 2003). Public concern about the use of pesticides has highlighted the need to make this process as efficient as possible, in order to minimize their release into the environment and human exposure (including operators, bystanders and consumers of produce) (Bateman, 2003). Farmers can adopt “low-input” production methods, although usually they avoid these methods because they ignore agrichemical use external costs, especially environmental damage, and because of possible lack of information describing low- input farming techniques and government support (Fleming, 1987). Pest control should be initiated only when a pest is causing or is expected to cause more harm than is reasonable to accept (UK, 2005). Then, each euro spent for pest
  27. 27. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [26] control should return several euros in reduced losses or quality (UK, 2005). Often, low or moderate pest numbers will not cause damage or economic loss. In these cases, the cost of control is greater than the amount of damage that the pest would cause (UK, 2005). When control is justified, an effective strategy should be selected that is safe for the applicator and poses minimum potential harm to the environment (UK, 2005). The use of pesticides can threaten human health, the environment and wildlife; thus, the decision to use a pesticide should only be taken when all other alternative control measures have been fully considered (FAO, 2001). The three general pest control goals are prevention, suppression, or eradication and it is important to select the most appropriate one for every situation (UK, 2005). Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the combination of several appropriate pest control tactics into a single plan to reduce pests and their damage to an acceptable level (UK, 2005). IPM, as described in the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides (FAO 1990 in FAO, 2001), offers a pest management system that combines all appropriate control techniques to effect satisfactory results. Pesticides are important tools to reduce outbreaks but continued reliance on them can be very expensive and may lead to resistance to pesticides, outbreaks of other pests, or harm to non-target or beneficial organisms (UK, 2005). With some pests, using pesticides alone will not achieve adequate control (UK, 2005). The proposed steps for the implementation of IPM according to international literature and practice, include (UK, 2005): Identify the pest or pests and determine whether or not control is needed. Determine your pest control goal – suppression, eradication. Evaluate the alternatives and select one that will be most effective and will cause the least harm to people and the environment. Evaluate the results and adjust your strategy as needed. Pest control can fail for any of a variety of reasons and in the context of an IPM plan, failures should be reviewed in order to try to determine what went wrong and implement appropriate remediation and prevention measures (UK, 2005). More specifically, the following checklist should be take into account (UK, 2005):  Was the pest identified correctly? Sometimes a pesticide application fails because the pest was not identified correctly and the wrong pesticide was chosen or was applied at the wrong time.  Was the pesticide rate used? Lack of calibration or faulty spray equipment can cause control failures.  Was the application timed correctly? Sometimes the pests are too large to be controlled by a pesticide or in a less susceptible stage. In other cases, the damage is already done and killing the pest has no impact on the problem.
  28. 28. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [27]  What were weather conditions before and after application? Weather can impact pest control. Rain may wash off pesticide residues before the product can work. Poor growing conditions may keep herbicides from being effective. 2.3.3 Disposal Improper disposal of pesticides, rinsates and containers can cause water and soil pollution either through surface runoff or through leaching (UK, 2005). Runoff and leaching may occur when too much liquid pesticide is applied, leaked, or spilled onto a surface, or too much rainwater, irrigation water, or other water gets onto a surface containing pesticide residue (UK, 2005). Runoff water may travel into drainage ditches, streams, ponds, or other surface water where pesticide residues can be carried great distances offsite, while pesticides that leach downward through the soil in the sometimes reach ground water. (UK, 2005). Runoff water in the greenhouse may get into floor drains or other drains and into the domestic water system (UK, 2005). In a greenhouse, pesticides may leach through the soil or other planting medium to floors or benches below (UK, 2005). Apart from water and soil contamination, pesticide runoff may harm fish and other aquatic animals and plants in ponds, streams and lakes (UK, 2005). Aquatic life also can be harmed by careless tank filling or draining and by rinsing or discarding used containers along or in waterways (UK, 2005). Typical pesticide labeling statements that alert users to these concerns and must be carefully followed, include (UK, 2005): "Do not apply this product or allow it to drift to blooming crops or weeds if bees are visiting the treatment area." "Extremely toxic to aquatic organisms. Do not contaminate water by cleaning of equipment or waste disposal." Wildlife exposure to pesticides either directly through feeding and direct exposure or indirectly through run off, leaching or soil contamination, may lead to accumulation of certain toxic substances within the food chain (UK, 2005). Therefore, a careful IPM plan must be implemented and pesticide disposal must follow product instructions and labeling as well as measures proposed in the CAP Directives and Greek legislation on pesticide use and dangerous toxic waste disposal. 2.3.4 Spray drift The drift of spray and dust from pesticide applications can expose people, wildlife, and the environment to pesticide residues, causing both health and environmental problems (US EPA, 2009). Therefore, when using an approved pesticide, the objective is to distribute the correct dose to a defined target with the minimum of
  29. 29. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [28] wastage due to drift using the most appropriate spraying equipment (FAO, 2001). Pesticides only give acceptable field results if they are delivered safely and precisely (FAO, 2001). Unlike other field operations, the results from poor spraying may not become apparent for some time, thus it is essential that those involved in pesticide selection and use are fully aware of their responsibilities and obligations, and are trained in pesticide use and application (FAO, 2001). 2.3.4.1 Operator training Operators of spray equipment must receive suitable training before handling and applying pesticides (FAO, 2001). Training should be provided by a recognized provider and courses are frequently offered by local training groups, agricultural colleges, government extension departments, spray equipment manufacturers and the chemical industry (FAO, 2001). The satisfactory completion of a course may result in a recognized certificate of competence to cover:  safe product handling,  delivery of the product to the target  instruction on using the relevant spray equipment. 2.3.4.2 Spray equipment selection The selection of appropriate and suitable spray equipment is essential safe and effective pesticide use (FAO, 2001). International and national equipment testing schemes have been established in many countries where after thorough testing under laboratory and field situations, sprayers are given certificates of approval (FAO, 2001). Where testing is not in place equipment manufacturers can be required to confirm that a sprayer complies with the requirements in countries where testing is mandatory or the equipment meets the appropriate FAO guidelines (FAO, 2001). Equally important when selecting spraying equipment is access to spare parts, service and support facilities (FAO, 2001).m Ideally, equipment selection should not be based primarily on cost; safety, design, comfort and ease of use must be major considerations, and ease of maintenance must be a high priority (FAO, 2001). Knapsack sprayer maintenance should require only simple tools (FAO, 2001). The combination of operator training to a recognized standard, combined with the selection of appropriate spray equipment will contribute to improving the accuracy of pesticide delivery as well as protecting the environment (FAO, 2001). 2.3.4.3 Correct use Pesticides should only be used if there is an economically important need and all pesticides must be used strictly in accordance with their label recommendation (FAO, 2001). Product selection must assess potential exposure hazard of the selected
  30. 30. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [29] formulation and determine what control measures and dose rates the label recommendations advocate (FAO, 2001). 2.3.4.4 Managing operator exposure The use of Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential for protecting operator health and advice on its use will be found on the product label (FAO, 2001). Effective health monitoring records will be able to provide early warnings and identify changes in operator health, which may be attributed to working with pesticides (FAO, 2001). The public must be safeguarded as well, both during, and after spraying, for example where they might have access to a treated area (FAO, 2001). Maybe livestock also ought to be prevented from re-entering treated areas immediately after spraying (FAO, 2001). The following flow charts describe Risk Assessment steps for sustainable pesticide implementation based on international literature and practice (Lovell, 2006).
  31. 31. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [30] 2.3.5 Chemical use risk assessment Have you investigated alternatives or environmentally friendlier options? NO HIGH RISK YES Are chemicals, fuels and soil stored safely and according to law, including an appropriate spill kit? NO HIGH RISK YES Are chemical mixing facilities designed to contain / prevent spread of any spillage? NO HIGH RISK YES Are strategies in place to minimize spray drift? NO HIGH RISK YES Do you use: agricultural, cleaning, sanitizing chemicals, fuels, oils? NO YES LOW RISK
  32. 32. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [31] LOW RISK Is the personnel working with chemicals appropriately trained and are chemicals applied safely effectively and according to legislation? NO HIGH RISK YES Are surplus chemicals (spray and tank washing) and obsolete chemicals disposed of safely and according to legislation? NO HIGH RISK YES Are empty chemical containers (including plastic and metal drums and paper and plastic bags) stored and disposed of safely and according to law? NO HIGH RISK YES
  33. 33. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [32] 2.3.6 Spray drift risk assessment Is wind speed between 3 and 15 Km/h? AND Is temperature lower than 30o C? AND Is relative humidity moderate (40-100%)? NO Are there neighbors or other crops nearby? NO LOW RISK YES HIGH RISK YES Are there sensitive environmental areas nearby (wetlands, natura sites, national park, special habitats))? NO YES HIGH RISK HIGH RISK
  34. 34. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [33] 2.4 Fertilizers - Nutrients Agricultural production increases in the next three decades are to be no smaller in absolute terms than those of the past three decades, although growth rates will be significantly lower (Alexandratos, 2003). These future increases must be achieved starting from a resource base that is much more stretched than in the past (Alexandratos, 2003). Given the scarcities of suitable agricultural land in several developing countries, a good part of the required production will stem from increasing output per ha cultivated (Alexandratos, 2003). Therefore, agriculture will become more intensive and the use of fertilizers must be more efficient and environmentally friendly. Intensive fertilizer application is linked to nutrient input in runoff and leaching, which may lead to water body eutrophication, soil acidification and potential soil and water contamination with nitrates (Alexandratos, 2003). Elements such as nitrogen and phosphorus found in fertilizers can cause algae blooms and excess plant growth in water bodies, which in turn can lead to oxygen depletion and toxic conditions in aquatic habitats (Alexandratos, 2003). Nitrates leaching into ground water resources is of great concern because they contribute to the "blue baby" syndrome in drinking water (Alexandratos, 2003). Any fertilizer in any form, whether organic or synthetic, can harm the environment if misused. Whether you're using cow manure or commercial fertilizer, you need to take precautions to protect the environment (EnviroGreen, 2012). There are several things to keep in mind when using fertilizers, described as follows (EnviroGreen, 2012): 1) Get the soil tested regularly - Soil testing is the only way that will know what nutrients are in the soil. If there are sufficient amounts of elements such as phosphorus, then there is no need in applying extra phosphorus. 2) Know the nutrient needs of crop - If the crop only needs 1/2 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet, then only apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet. Any more than this will not do any good and will most likely not be used. Unused fertilizer can be washed away into lakes, rivers and streams or leached into ground water. Study the crop and learn about its nutrient needs. Use this knowledge plus information from soil test to determine the amount of fertilizer to apply. 3) Apply at the proper time - Know when the crop needs to be fertilized. There is no need to apply fertilizer when the crop will not use it. Again, this unused fertilizer can be washed away or leached before the plant can use it. 4) Take extra precautions on slopes - Applying fertilizers on slopes can lead to the washing away of nutrients. This is how most of these nutrients wind up into our surface waters. Take precautions to control runoff from property. Do
  35. 35. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [34] not allow fertilizer to drift onto the streets because this fertilizer will certainly make its way into the storm drains. Above all, control soil erosion. Elements that are tightly held by the soil, make their way into the surface waters on soil that is washed away. Phosphorus is an example of this type of element. 5) If you use organic fertilizer sources, have them tested - Like the soil, the only way that you can know what is in your organic fertilizer source is to have it tested and the only way to know how much organic fertilizer to apply is to know what is in it. The nutrient contents of organic materials vary considerably, therefore information on average contents of individual materials are not always reliable. 6) Apply fertilizers only to healthy plants or reduce the amount to unhealthy plants - An unhealthy plant or in the case of a crop, poor plant stand, is not going to use as much nutrient as a healthy crop. Applying the same amount of fertilizer to an unhealthy plant can lead to unused fertilizer and can also harm the plant. Find out what is causing the problem. Fertilizer may not be the solution and if applied, could lead to polluting the environment. 7) Store your fertilizer materials properly - Keep fertilizer sources from being washed away by rains. Keep them under a shelter and off of the ground so the nutrients want get caught in rain water runoff. 8) Plant debris and compost is a source of nutrients - Remember that crop residue left over from last year, mulch and compost contain plant nutrients. These nutrients can also get into the environment as well. When deciding the amount of fertilizer to apply, take into consideration the nutrients from these sources and reduce the amount of fertilizer. 9) Break up fertilizer applications on sandy soils - Nutrients leach very readily on sandy soils. If apply more than the plant can use at the time, one good rain or irrigation can leach the nutrients down below the plant roots before it can use them. On sandy soils, break up fertilizer applications into several smaller applications instead of a few larger applications. 10) Follow up fertilizer applications with a light irrigation - A light irrigation is good to activate the fertilizer, but a heavy rain or irrigation can leach or wash away nutrients. Keep this in mind when applying fertilizer. The following flow charts describe Risk Assessment steps for sustainable nutrient and fertilizer management based on international literature and practice (Lovell, 2006).
  36. 36. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [35] 2.4.1 Nutrient management risk assessment LOW RISK RISK Do you know the type and quantity of nutrients your crop needs? NO HIGH RISKYES Do you know what nutrients are available to your crop from your soil/substrate? Take into account: Major and minor nutrients Soil texture, ph, salinity, organic matter and crop residues Quality of irrigation water NO HIGH RISK YES Are you losing nutrients through leaching, surface water runoff, wind erosion? NO HIGH RISK YES Are fertilizer applications/soil amendments causing other environmental pollution such as heavy metal contamination or soil acidification? NO HIGH RISK YES Have you developed a nutrient budget, farm budget nutrition? YES HIGH RISK NO
  37. 37. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [36] 2.4.2 Fertilizer application risk assessment LOW RISK RISK Are fertilizer application methods and timing chosen to maximize benefit to the crops and minimize potential negative environmental impacts? Consider: runoff, leaching, volatilization NO HIGH RISK YES Is fertilizer application equipment: Calibrated and maintained? Checked for accuracy of distribution? NO HIGH RISK YES
  38. 38. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [37] 2.5 Biodiversity Despite the fundamental importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services to the Earth’s functioning and to human society, human activities are driving the loss of biodiversity at an unprecedented rate, up to 1,000 times the natural rate of species loss (UNEP, 2008). And despite the specific importance of crop and livestock diversity, and of associated agricultural biodiversity, advances in agricultural production over recent decades have been achieved largely without major regard to the erosion of biodiversity (UNEP, 2008). The biggest driver of terrestrial biodiversity loss in the past 50 years has been habitat conversion, in large part due to conversion of natural and semi-natural landscapes to agriculture (UNEP, 2008). Nutrient loading, particularly of nitrogen and phosphorus, much of which derived from fertilizers and farm effluent, is one of the biggest drivers of ecosystem change in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal ecosystems (UNEP, 2008). Climate change is projected to become a major driver of biodiversity loss as well as a serious challenge to agriculture, whose response, to adapt, will draw upon the genetic diversity of crops and livestock and the services provided by other components of agricultural biodiversity (UNEP, 2008). Many modern practices and approaches to agriculture intensification aiming at achieving high yields have led to a simplification of the components of agricultural systems and biodiversity and to ecologically unstable production systems (UNEP, 2008). These include use of monocultures with reduction in cropping diversity and elimination of crop succession or rotation; use of high-yielding varieties and hybrids with the loss of traditional varieties and diversity together with a need for high inputs of inorganic fertilizer; control of weeds, pests and diseases based on chemical (herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides) treatments rather than mechanical or biological methods (UNEP, 2008). Land and habitat conversion to large-scale agricultural production, including drainage of land and conversion of wetlands has also caused significant loss of biodiversity (UNEP, 2008). The homogenization of farming landscape with elimination of natural areas, including hedgerows, woodlots and wetlands, to achieve larger scale production units for large-scale mechanized production has also led to decline in biodiversity and ecological services (UNEP, 2008). The following flow chart describes Risk Assessment steps for sustainable biodiversity management in agricultural practices based on international literature and practice (Lovell, 2006).
  39. 39. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [38] 2.5.1 Biodiversity risk assessment LOW RISK RISK Are there areas that are degraded / overrun with exotic species like lantana, blackberry, and willow? NO HIGH RISK Is there any native vegetation in your farm? YES HIGH RISK YES Are there areas managed to protect the habitat? Fenced, spray drift minimized, misapplication of fertilizer minimized, burning/fire risk, exotic pests NO HIGH RISK YES Is there any area where native vegetation could be established or that includes protected species? Unsuitable for horticultural production, along access roads, swappy or waterlogged land, steep slopes YES HIGH RISK NO NO LOW RISK RISK DON’T KNOW OR UNSURE
  40. 40. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [39] 2.6 Waste Agricultural waste is any substance or object from premises used for agriculture or horticulture, which the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard. It is waste specifically generated by agricultural activities (UK EA, 2012). For example, waste which came from a farm shop or a vegetable packing plant would not be agricultural waste (UK EA, 2012). Some examples of agricultural waste are: (UK EA, 2012):  empty pesticide containers  old silage wrap  out of date medicines and wormers  used tires  surplus milk  manure  sewage sludge  organic Agricultural waste can be spread on land for many reasons. For example, wastes like organic compost, digestive and food processing can reduce requirements for manufactured fertilizers (UK EA, 2008). Other wastes can be used to improve the soil by increasing organic matter content and soil structure (UK EA, 2008). Although the use of waste as a fertilizer can provide significant benefits, if done incorrectly severe impacts could be caused on the food chain, soil health, surface water and groundwater and to sensitive habitats and species (UK EA, 2008). If waste is used as as a soil improver or fertilizer it must be spread either in accordance with a registered waste exemption or in accordance with an environmental permit (UK EA, 2008). Activities involving waste storage, recycling or disposal generally require an Environmental Permit, however some waste activities pose less of a risk to the environment and human health so are exempt from requiring an environmental permit (UK EA, 2008). The following flow chart describes Risk Assessment steps for sustainable waste management in agricultural practices, based on international literature and practice (Lovell, 2006).
  41. 41. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [40] 2.6.1 Waste risk assessment LOW RISK Can you identify the waste in your farm? NO HIGH RISK YES Can any of these products be avoided? NO HIGH RISK YES Change inputs and/or practices to minimize waste NO HIGH RISK YES
  42. 42. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [41] 2.7 Air - Noise Air pollution issues, particularly odors, dust, smoke and noise, can often be of most significance to immediate residencies (Lovell, 2006). Primary producers need to recognize that some activities can negatively impact neighbors and that at times it may be appropriate to adjust activities as far as reasonable to minimize the impact (Lovell, 2006). 2.7.1 Odor management Odors can be caused by animal manures, fertilizers and chemicals, waste disposal sites, composting sites and activities, mulches and waste management equipment (Lovell, 2006). Therefore cultivation practices must be chose carefully (Lovell, 2006):  Working soil to fine tilth in dry windy weather should be avoided if possible. Pre-irrigation to wet dry soil before cultivation will help to reduce dust.  Use slower cultivation speeds when there is a risk of dust.  Uncultivated crop stubble provides protection against wind erosion.  Minimize the amount of time soil is left without vegetation or a cover crop.  Minimum tillage techniques should be used where practical.  Inter-row spacing and headlands should have groundcover whenever possible. 2.7.2 Dust management Excessive dust can cause annoyance and in some cases health problems to neighbors and staff (Lovell, 2006). Dust created around packing sheds can also settle on packed produce, affecting visual quality and potentially having food safety implications (Lovell, 2006). The combination of soil type, farming system and weather patterns contributes to the risk of soil erosion by wind (Lovell, 2006). Applying mulches to the surface of seedbeds after drilling on sandy soils is an effective control measure (Lovell, 2006). Use of plastic mulch along plant rows will also contribute to dust control (Lovell, 2006). Wetting down, sealing and use of ‘minimal dust materials’ (for example blue metal or hardstand) for the surfaces of frequently used traffic ways (transport delivery and pickup areas, harvested produce delivery points and forklift routes at the packing shed) will dramatically reduce the dust problem (Lovell, 2006). Do not apply oil to traffic-ways due to the potential for it to end up in waterways (Lovell, 2006). 2.7.3 Noise management Noise many not seem like an environmental management issue for growers, however Greek legislation for environmental protection includes noise as part of the definition of the environment. For this reason, noise management is included in the environmental assurance process for horticultural businesses.
  43. 43. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [42] Suggested practices include (Lovell, 2006): Identify and consider local government regulations. Buffer zones are useful to reduce noise and are also helpful to mitigate impacts of off-target spray application. Where pumps are located close to residential areas, consider changing from diesel to electric pumps or creating a sound barrier around the pump. Electric pumps will most likely be run at night time, when electricity tariffs are lower. Consider muffling equipment where daytime intermittent noise levels are excessive. Where normal methods are not sufficient to reduce noise to acceptable levels, equipment that is continuously operated may require soundproofing or artificial mounds to help absorb and deflect the noise. Some forms of seasonal activity, or current and accepted industry practice like harvesting, may require the use of machinery at night. Where sensitive places are close to noise and night-time activities occur, consider starting work closer to the sensitive area and moving away as night falls. The converse applies for early morning activities. The following flow charts describe Risk Assessment steps for sustainable odor, dust, smoke, noise and greenhouse gas emissions management in agricultural practices, based on international literature and practice (Lovell, 2006).
  44. 44. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [43] 2.7.4 Odor management risk assessment LOW RISK Do you: Store manure, fertilizers, chemical? Have a produced waste site? Have other unpleasant odor producing activities? NOYES Could the activity cause concern to family, employees, neighbors or community? NO YES HIGH RISK LOW RISK
  45. 45. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [44] 2.7.5 Dust management risk assessment LOW RISK YES Do any of the following apply to the site? Soil type is lite to erosion, Cropping/harvesting activity will leave soil exposed during windy weather Site is particularly exposed NO HIGH RISK
  46. 46. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [45] 2.7.6 Smoke management risk assessment LOW RISK YES Do you burn your waste? NO HIGH RISK Are there disposal options other than burning? YES NO HIGH RISK
  47. 47. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [46] 2.7.7 Noise management risk assessment LOW RISK Does the operation generate excessive noise? NOYES Are there neighbors close to the operation? NO YES Is the operation running during sensitive times (e.g. between 10 am and 6 pm, or on weekends)? NO HIGH RISK YES LOW RISK Are there sensitive environmental areas, particularly with are or endangered fauna, close to the operation? NO NO
  48. 48. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [47] 2.7.8 Greenhouse gases management risk assessment LOW RISK YES Do you: Undertake regular maintenance of all equipment, particularly that requiring fossil fuels and CFCs? Regularly check insulation? Strategically apply nitrogenous fertilizers? Minimize unnecessary journeys and cultivation passes NO HIGH RISK
  49. 49. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [48] 2.8 Energy Agricultural and horticultural businesses carry out a wide range of different activities but there are many common areas where energy is wasted (Lichfield District Council, 2012). There are several low and no-cost measures, as well as those requiring investment, that farming businesses can put into place to lower energy consumption and save money (Lichfield District Council, 2012). Across all farming businesses, the major areas of energy consumption are lighting, heating, ventilation, air circulation and refrigeration (Lichfield District Council, 2012). The main areas of energy consumption by broad agricultural activity are (Lichfield District Council, 2012):  horticulture heating typically accounts for 90 per cent of the energy used in a greenhouse  pig farming - energy is used in a number of pig farming processes, including welfare and feeding systems, building services and environmental protection, waste management and emissions control  poultry farming - most energy is used for maintaining good environmental conditions for housing the flock  dairy - cooling milk and heating water account for as much as 65 per cent of the energy used, with lighting and pumping also significant consumers  crop stores - the amount of energy required by a crop store is closely linked to the thickness of the insulation and the difference between the storage temperature and the temperature outside  combinable crops - energy is often wasted in storing and drying these crops
  50. 50. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [49] 2.8.1 Energy management risk assessment LOW RISK Do you monitor the amount of electricity and fuel you use and the use to which it is put? NOYES Are you using the most efficient and practical energy source? NO YES Are these things you can do to minimize the energy usage of your operation? YES HIGH RISK NO HIGH RISK HIGH RISK
  51. 51. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [50] 3 Environmental impact assessment and control procedures 3.1 Soil treatment Tillage is a means to an end and not an end in itself. It prepares the field for the next crop, for seeding, to destroy and cover unwanted plants, to ensure proper aoil drainage and aeration. Bare cultivated soil is vulnerable to wind and water erosion. Therefore, soil treatment must be as limited as possible with the necessary interventions. Excessive tillage increases required energy, inducing large and unnecessary fuel consumption, and also has negative impacts on the soil. In order to maximize tillage benefits and minimize its negative impacts, the following measure will be followed: The type of crop, soil and agricultural machinery available should be taken into account before tillage. Provision should be taken, for fewer interventions. Process should take place when the soil is in the "right state for cultivation", i.e. after the first autumn rains. It is desirable to avoid summer plowing, unless it is necessary for perennial weed Control. Avoid deep tillage below 40 cm, unless it is needed for weed eradication and breaking deep-root impenetrable soil horizon. In the case of deep tillage, due to breakage the reversal soil should not be impenetrable. Where there is danger of flooding a special method will be used that assures leveling plots using reversible plows. When slopes are greater than 10%, plowing must be either parallel to the contours or diagonal. Embankments created during contour plowing should be diagonal (uncultivated areas with vegetative cover) with a range of 1-2 m. Uncultivated soil between parcels and hedges, as well as the natural vegetation of gullies and neighboring forests must be preserved. Interventions involving water stream rerouting must be implemented only when needed and after appropriate authorization by government authorities. 3.1.1 Crop rotation Crop rotation is the process of growing different types of crops in the same field in sequential seasons. It is one of the oldest and most effective cultural control strategies (PAN Germany, 2012). The succeeding crop belongs to a different family than the previous one (PAN Germany, 2012). Planned rotation may vary from 2 or 3 year or longer period (PAN Germany, 2012). Some insect pests and disease-causing organisms are hosts’ specific, therefore crop rotation can contribute significantly to pest control. Moreover, crop rotation (PAN Germany, 2012): 1. Prevents soil depletion. 2. Maintains soil fertility.
  52. 52. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [51] 3. Reduces soil erosion. 4. Controls insect/mite pests. The process is most effective when pests present before the crop is planted with no wide range of host crops; attack only annual/biennial crops; and do not have the ability to fly from one field to another. 5. Reduces reliance on synthetic chemicals. 6. Reduces the pests' build-up. 7. Prevents diseases. 8. Helps weed control. 3.1.2 Objective – to minimize the potential for water to erode soil Suggested practices include (Lovell, 2006): Maintaining soil cover: Soil cover protects the soil from erosion by reducing the displacement (movement) of soil particles caused by rain or overhead irrigation droplets, and by slowing the movement of water across the site. Types of soil cover include:  grassed waterways on drainage and sump areas;  inter-row groundcovers in orchards, vineyards and ground crops;  green manure/cover crops planted between (in space and time) commercial crops;  organic mulches, plastic, slashed inter-row material or crop residues spread over the exposed soil; and  products such as PAM (polyacrylamide), PVA (polyvinyl acetate) or molasses which bind soil together. Managing soil cover:  avoiding soil tillage (where possible) during times of the year when heavy rainfall events are likely, especially in tropical areas;  avoiding cultivation of light sandy soils subject to regular flooding;  using minimum tillage systems that minimize mechanical disturbance of the soil;  using permanent bed systems that improve soil structure and soil stability through maintaining or improving soil organic matter levels;  planting green manure or cover crops during the period between commercial crops to cover the soil and increase soil organic matter levels for improved soil structure, stability and fertility;  under sowing or planting in the inter-row area at the same time as commercial crops;  leaving crop residues (where possible) on site until the site is next required;  minimizing the time soil is left exposed between harvest and planting of the next crop; and  establishing permanent grass or vegetation cover on areas that are not cropped.
  53. 53. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [52] Controlling run-off water: Controlling the direction of flow, volume and speed of run-off water on site can minimize soil erosion. Long, gentle slopes are just as prone as short, steep slopes. Good planning and drainage design before planting can prevent problems later. Improving soil structure: Adding organic matter increases soil resistance to erosion. Organic matter can either be left on the soil surface as a mulch or incorporated into the soil to improve soil organic matter levels and soil structure. Establishing sediment traps: Sediment traps or ponds (also called silt traps or ponds/sediment retention basins) aim to hold run-off water long enough to allow soil particles to settle. They can be small ponds or weirs, or large dams that capture and re-use run-off water. Artificially constructed wetland systems may be established to capture sediment and remove the nutrient in run-off waters. Monitoring and recording - Visual inspection: Immediately after a rainfall event, go and have a look at how run-off is flowing across the farm. Is erosion occurring? How dirty (turbid) is the water?  Assessing water turbidity: In addition to a visual inspection of water leaving the property or returning to farm dams, a turbidity tube can be made and used to gauge basic changes in water turbidity. Turbidity meters are also available for more precise assessments.  Assessing soil erosion losses: Place a piece of 100x50 mm timber, or similar, on the ground and, over time, look at the amount of soil that accumulates behind it. 3.1.3 Objective – to minimize the potential for wind to erode soil Suggested practices include (Lovell, 2006): Maintaining soil cover: Soil cover protects the soil from erosion by minimizing soil exposure to the physical force of the wind. Managing soil cover. Moderating wind speed. Improving soil structure. o Plenty of organic matter in the soil will strengthen soil structure and make it less prone to wind erosion. Monitoring and recording – Visual inspection: Wind erosion can be visually assessed – have a look at an exposed site with light soils on a windy day. However, the effects of erosion are often subtle and require an extended period of time to become obvious. In this case it may not be possible to clearly distinguish between the causes of erosion, but an understanding of your own property, soil type and weather patterns should help you determine the most significant influences so that appropriate control measures can be instigated. Assessing soil erosion losses: Measuring wind erosion can be difficult because of its patchy nature.
  54. 54. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [53] Irrigation can be applied immediately prior to, or during, wind events to increase the cohesion between soil particles, thereby reducing erosion (Lovell, 2006). Cultivating so as to leave a rough, raised and very uneven surface. Planning when setting up new sites, particularly where major ground works are concerned, should include consideration of the likelihood of wind extremes and managing or avoiding the periods when they are likely to occur. Using remnant vegetation or shelter belts within or adjacent to the new site can minimize soil erosion. 3.1.4 Objective – soil structure suitable for root growth, water infiltration, aeration and drainage needs of the crop. Suggested practices include (Lovell, 2006): Cultivation method: Most tillage for fruit and vegetable crops occurs prior to planting to enable suitable contact between the soil and the planted material. This primary tillage is an important part of initial land preparation and cannot really be avoided. Secondary tillage operations should be minimized where possible. Cultivation timing: The soil moisture content during tillage has an important effect on soil structure. Where the water content is too great, the soil acts like plasticine, smearing and compacting with tillage and traffic. Don’t go onto paddocks with machinery when the soil is wet. Similarly, soils can be too dry to work, requiring excessive amounts of energy to produce a seed bed. Remedial action: If a hard pan or compaction layer is present, then additional cultivation may be needed depending on whether the cause is cultural or due to sodicity. If the condition is not due to sodicity, cross-ripping under the correct soil moisture levels will help to shatter the pan, loosening and breaking clods that will break down further when exposed to the weather.  Increasing organic matter: Increasing organic matter through use of crop rotations and green manure crops promotes good soil structure. Stubbles and crop residues can also be returned to the soil.  Crop rotation: Using rotations and green manure crops will provide short-term soil structure benefits through better soil aggregation. This helps optimize the soil’s water-holding capacity, ability to hold nutrients, workability and water infiltration. Monitoring and recording: Soil compaction can be assessed by determining how difficult it is to dig. The assessment should bear in mind any short-term tillage and effects of soil moisture. Penetrometer (screwdriver) test: A simple test of compaction is to see how far you can push a screwdriver into the soil using reasonable. It is a way of simulating the difficulty that roots have pushing through the soil. Try it after decent rainfall or irrigation. Visual assessment: Soil compaction affects the ability of plant roots to penetrate the soil and root systems are often stunted. Dig up some plants and assess their root systems and also assess the overall vigor of the plants.
  55. 55. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [54] Stunted or sharply-bent roots mean small, feeble, low-yielding plants that are prone to drought. It can be useful to compare roots from different areas, such as under fence lines where compaction may be less. Take a closer look at the clods and aggregates. Many large clods mean the soil will need to be kept wetter to allow roots to penetrate. Sharp angular aggregates with smooth faces indicate poor structure. Well-structured soils have a range of aggregate sizes (2-10 mm), with irregular or rounded shapes and porous faces. 3.2 Water Water resources are now considered essential for developing any kind of activity and the maintenance of ecological balance and life in general. In recent decades the rapid development of agriculture, resulted in increasing water demands, which combined with reckless use and pollution have caused serious problems for future development and sustainability. Future development depends both on the quality and quantity of irrigation water. As a minimum contribution farmers must implement and follow all necessary precautions for water resources protection and efficient management. Water management considers both the crop’s water demand and the amount of water available. It also involves management of irrigation to maximize efficient use of water applied (Lovell, 2006). Drainage water and run-off also need to be managed to avoid any impact, such as nutrient pollution, on groundwater or waterways and wetlands (Lovell, 2006). Irrigation efficiency is a term that helps define the proportion of irrigation water that is actually taken up and used by the crop. Improvement in irrigation efficiency is normally associated with water savings, production gains and better long term environmental management. (Lovell, 2006). Irrigation efficiency is determined by irrigation management factors such as (Lovell, 2006): ensuring irrigation systems are operating to design specification and applying water as evenly as possible; ability to time, or schedule irrigation, based upon crop water needs; and clear understanding of soils’ water holding, infiltration and drainage capacity. In order to manage irrigation efficiently, a number of management practices need to be considered, starting with an understanding of water availability and crop requirements (Lovell, 2006). There are nine basic steps involved in the efficient management of irrigation: Identify: define property goals and implications for water management Plan  Know your soils
  56. 56. Environmental Impact Assessment of Prototype Greenhouse Installation www.greengears.eu info@greengears.eu [55]  Design the most suitable irrigation system  Develop a farm water budget  Know your water supply/ies Do  Determine a basic irrigation schedule  Implement strategies to manage nutrient input and salinity Monitoring and recording  Monitor, record and evaluate  Check irrigation system performance 3.2.1 Irrigation methods Surface irrigation with ditches: This method is used for crops such as cotton, maize vegetables and others. For the success of this type of irrigation the crops must be sown linearly. This method has significant disadvantages:  high water consumption  nutrient leaching  uneven watering The aforementioned disadvantages appear more intense in sandy soils, where field slopes are greater than 2-3% increasing surface runoff. Artificial rain: With this system, water is applied on the field evenly. The rate of irrigation should be the same as the rate at which the soil absorbs water in order to prevent surface runoff. For this purpose, the choice of nozzle and provision of sprinklers should be done in such a way that the intensity of rain is equal to the soil infiltration rate and the average hourly rainfall is proportional to height, which corresponds to the soil type of the field. The timing of irrigation should be such as to prevent leaching into deeper soil layers. With this system losses may occur because of wrong timing (noon 11 am-3 pm) due to evaporation, or uneven watering due to weather conditions (strong wind). With these conditions it is advisable to avoid irrigation. Artificial rain drops break the structure of the surface soil with high pressure launchers. This system should be avoided when irrigation water quality is not good because salts and other residues can collect on plant leaves and shoots. Drip Irrigation: This method is applied to a part of the soil and specifically in the area of the root system. Water injections require very small amounts of water, 2-3 liters per hour and the water is filtered through the soil without surface runoff. Since irrigation is repeated daily for 2-3 hours to replace evapotranspiration, deep leaching is avoided.

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