LIVINGAGRO: Greek field trial works on enhancing natural regeneration and establishment of valonia oak using soil covers
In the framework of the field trials which are being implemented within LIVINGAGRO project in order to test innovations for the Mediterranean agroforestry sector, a specific experimentation was performed in Greece concerning natural regeneration of valonia oak forests.
The valonia oak forests in Greece are traditional silvopastoral systems used for livestock grazing and acorn collection (for feed and tanneries). During the past decades, these systems have faced some challenges from human and natural factors that result, among other things, in low natural regeneration (Figure 1 included in the news image). Grazing has been pin-pointed as the primary cause for this. To test this hypothesis, we established permanent experimental plots in 2014 which enabled us to test a number of possible factors.
After almost 8 years of grazing exclosure, the natural regeneration is still low. So, motivated by the LIVINGAGRO project, we looked at other possible causes of this poor natural vegetation, with drought being one of them. For this, we established a field trial in May 2021 to test the effect of soil covers on soil moisture and properties, and the valonia oak’s natural vegetation. We evaluated seedlings’ survival and growth in July 2021, October 2021 and April 2022 (Figure 3 included in the news image).
After almost a year, the results are promising, but long-term monitoring is needed to evaluate the regeneration and to draw environmentally sound conclusions. The trial will continue this year with more focused and confined protection on already established seedlings.
Texts provided by:
Anastasia Pantera1, Andreas Papadopoulos1, Panagiotis Kalaitzis2, Lisa Radinovsky2
1: Agricultural University of Athens, School of Plant Science, Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management, Greece
2: Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICH), Department of Horticultural Genetics and Biotechnology, Chania, Greece