There are details that are often overlooked when we talk about agriculture and climate change. For example, some believe that agriculture is somehow responsible for climate change due to the “exploitation” of the land or the excessive use of pesticides that have gradually damaged the ozone layer, but the reality is that many transformations which are playing a key role in the fight against climate change have taken place in the agricultural world during the last decades.
When it comes to agriculture and climate change, one of the more visible agricultural practices that stands out among producers is the growing use of plastic films, basically because it helps them optimize the yield of their crops, improve the quality of the food and reduce the use of irrigation water and chemicals, but more than anything else, plastic films are one of the main allies to reduce the ecological impact on the lands used for agriculture.
How do agricultural plastics help reduce the ecological impact on the land?
Plastic films, aside from being useful to help extend the growing seasons of fruits and vegetables throughout the year, are vital to maintain the mineral quality and structure of agricultural land since the need to use large amounts of water (erosion) and chemicals for pest control (contamination) is largely reduced. Also, these plastics can be recycled and some even reused several times such as greenhouse and tunnel covers.
Today’s modernisation of agriculture has been one of the great allies to face climate change due to the fact that the way in which it has been dealing with the land is now more conscious and friendly. Through the widespread use of intensive growing technology such as greenhouses and tunnels, mulching plastics or drip irrigation systems, growers help take better advantage of natural resources and energies to avoid the use of traditional systems that may be more aggressive on natural resources.
For example, through greenhouses, farmers have the opportunity to create the ideal scenario for crops to be protected and developed in a shorter time and in a safer way, thus preventing them from being compromised by extreme temperature changes.
It is almost the same scenario when it comes to the tunnels, only that they are a little more complex to install and the height required for each species to be cultivated should be carefully considered.
In terms of mulching plastics, it is possible to cover the soil with a layer that allows to retain the greatest amount of moisture while reducing evaporation, in this way, it is not only possible to improve the thermal conditions of the crop, but is also a great option to keep plants away from the soil, which is what causes the growth of weeds that compete for the water and nutrients necessary for the crop to thrive.
Agriculture and climate change are concepts highly linked, thus, it is important for both areas to focus on making everything work and develop in the best possible way.
Climate change does exist and is one of the critical problems that humanity faces today. However, good agricultural practices, such as carbon sequestration, are part of the guarantee that things can head in a different direction.
Crops used to produce food require for their photosynthesis the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere and this results in creating the clean oxygen necessary for humans to breathe. Through this chemical process that is naturally carried out by plants and crops, farmers are helping to fight against climate change and contribute greatly to reducing the carbon footprint of their industry.
We invite you to read our post on how crops in Almeria, Spain, are positively impacting the environment.