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oLIVE-CLIMA - Introduction of new olive crop management practices focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation

LIFE11 ENV/GR/000942


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Project description:

Background

Human activities contribute to increasing the level of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere by creating new sources of emissions or by removing natural sinks. Agriculture is generally considered to be a source of greenhouse gases, but appropriate farming practices that enhance the capability of plants to capture such gases and remove them from the atmosphere could change this situation so that farmland becomes a carbon sink. Olive cultivation is considered as one of the most significant agricultural activities in Greece, from a financial, social and ecological point of view.


Objectives

The oLIVE-CLIMA project set out to test new cultivation practices for tree crops in order to find a cost-effective means of mitigating and adapting to climate change. Focusing specifically on olive-producing areas in Greece, it investigated the potential of these areas to capture more carbon in soils, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To identify farming practices that lead to increased carbon dioxide uptake by plants it worked in partnership with farmers from 3 farming organisations, to cover the full range of socio-economic activity: from standard practices to innovative environmentally-sensitive farming. To reverse the trends of soil organic matter loss, soil erosion and desertification the project implemented measures that increase the rate of organic matter build-up. Measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts during crop production included reducing dependence on inorganic fertilisers. The project provided farmers with methodologies that enhance biodiversity, reduce carbon dioxide emissions from soil and which are suitable for organic agriculture. The project demonstrated to farmers that environmentally-benign agriculture can be more efficient, with less cost, can lead to product differentiation and in the case of olive-oil production can result in self-sustaining crops. To link farming practices to quantifiable carbon storage in the soil, the project developed a set of easy-to-measure indicators. A final objective was the incorporation of the projects results into national environmental and agricultural policy and legislation.


Results

The oLIVE CLIMA LIFE project was developed on 120 olive groves, for 5 years and distributed in 3 pilot areas in Greece with different characteristics Farmers Organization Nileas, Union of cooperatives of Peza, Union of cooperatives of Merabello, as also in the pilot olive groves of ELGO DIMITRAs institute. The oLIVE-CLIMA project achieved all its objectives and exceeded expectations in terms of policy uptake. It demonstrated the benefits of no-soil tillage and proper winter weed management, showing that these alternative farming methods reverse the loss of soil organic matter and can sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide, thus contributing to the implementation of EU climate change mitigation policy. Additional benefits can be realised through the return of organic carbon back to the olive orchards, by applying shredder prunings directly or after composting. Results indicated a net ecosystem carbon balance for the pilot olive orchards of up to 1.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per square metre per year. The pilot plots also showed an increase in soil fertility, enhanced biodiversity and higher yields. The latter is particularly important when it comes to persuading farmers to adopt environment-friendly methods. Improved yields and/or reduced production costs have a positive social impact on local communities dependent on olive oil production, such as in the pilot areas. Similar benefits could be expected through the replication of the project in other Mediterranean regions, with similar socioeconomic characteristics. Outcomes were shared with farmers organisations and policymakers at national and EU level. Four workshops took place in 2017, with great success and resonance, in Northern, Central and Southern Greece, as well as in Italy, under the aegis of the Institutes of the Department of Agricultural Research (former N.AG.RE.F.) of the Hellenic Agricultural Organization "DIMITRA", partners of the project, in order to educate farmers in oLIVE-CLIMA cultivation practices. 5 Demonstration videos on the project good practices are available on the website. The project team collaborated with the relevant Ministries on the possibility of using olive oil waste as a fertiliser based on Life oLive-CLIMA data. In January 2017, the amendment to the Joint Ministerial Decision (WMD) concerning alternative waste management measures of olive presses was completed, with Government Gazette 3924 / / 7-12-2016, taking into consideration the project proposals. Furthermore, project partners have been active in the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules determination for olive oil. They are involved in the development of the 'Olive Oil Protocol by the International Olive Council' and the EU's Technical Secretariat for PEFCR for Olive Oil. On 18 November 2016, the Technical Advisory Committee of the PEF unit recognized olive trees as one of the two largest ever-living trees in European agriculture on long-term carbon storage. The LIFE oLIVE CLIMA project was designed to highlight the potential of olive trees to support climate change mitigation efforts with a series of measures aimed at increasing the absorption of carbon from the atmosphere and the storage of a significant part of it in the soil and trunk of the olive trees. The action of the project concerning the prune wood shredding and its distribution in the soil of the olive grove, either directly or after composting, has direct benefits for the olive grove, the farmer and the environment. The Ministry, taking into account the benefits of implementing this action, has decided to provide a financial incentive under the latest national Rural Development Programme. Thus, farmers can receive funding for the purchase of machinery for wood shredding of prunings and can get grants for the wood shredding per ha, with the commitment to apply it for 5 years. Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Industry-Production - Agriculture - Forestry
Climate change Adaptation - Sectoral adaptation (industry-services)
Climate change Mitigation - Carbon sequestration


Keywords

agricultural method‚  emission reduction‚  greenhouse gas‚  soil erosion


Target EU Legislation

  • Climate Change & Energy efficicency
  • COM(2014)15 - Policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030 (22.01.2014 ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator Development Agency of Eastern Thessaloniki's Local Authorities, ANATOLIKI SA
Type of organisation Development agency
Description ANATOLIKI S.A. is a development agency set up in 1995 by local authorities and other public bodies in eastern Thessaloniki, Greece. ANATOLIKI's development activities cover the environment and infrastructure, energy, human resources, support for local authorities, business support, rural development, the promotion of innovation and new technologies, and support to networking activities.
Partners National Agricultural Research Foundation-Institute of Olive Tree, Subtropical Crops and Viticulture (IOTSCV), Crete, Greece National Agricultural Research Foundation-Soil and Water Resources Institute - Department of Soil Science of Athens (SWRI/DSSA), Greece National Agricultural Research Foundation-Soil and Water Resources Institute (SWRI), Thessaloniki, Greece Dipartimento Di Scienze dei Sistemi Colturali, Forestali e dell'Ambiente, Potenza, Italy RodaxAgro Ltd Environment & Quality, Athens, Greece Agriculture Press Publishing Company (AGROTYPOS) S.A., Amaroussion, Greece NILEAS-Agricultural Cooperative for Standardized Products-Nestor Messinia, Greece Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Peza, Crete, Greece Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Mirabello, Crete, Greece

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Project reference LIFE11 ENV/GR/000942
Duration 01-OCT-2012 to 30-SEP -2017
Total budget 3,649,373.00 €
EU contribution 1,822,436.00 €
Project location Kentriki Makedonia(Ellas) Peloponnisos(Ellas) Attiki(Ellas) Kriti(Ellas) Basilicata(Italia)

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Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Project's final technical report (Greek, with abst ...

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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version