Publication 2 – The adequacy of alfalfa crops as an agri-environmental scheme: A review of agronomic benefits and effects on biodiversity

RESEARCH

July 2023

The adequacy of alfalfa crops as an agri-environmental scheme: A review of agronomic benefits and effects on biodiversity

David Gónzalez del Portillo, Beatriz Arroyo, Manuel B. Morales

Agri-environmental programs are one of the mechanisms at the European level to combat agricultural intensification, including the inclusion of alfalfa in crop rotation. This literature review summarizes the information published up to date on the agronomic benefits of alfalfa and its relationship with biodiversity (plants, arthropods, and vertebrates).

According to the information presented, including alfalfa in crop rotations benefits biodiversity. However, its inclusion must be closely monitored to avoid possible adverse effects, such as pests or becoming an ecological trap.

Reference: González del Portillo, D., Arroyo, B., & Morales, M. B. (2022). The adequacy of alfalfa crops as an agri-environmental scheme: a review of agronomic benefits and effects on biodiversity. Journal for Nature Conservation, 126253.

Summary of the relationships between alfalfa cultivation (and its main management practices) and agricultural production and biodiversity, found in the literature. Green ellipses represent aspects favoured by alfalfa, while red ellipses represent aspects negatively affected by alfalfa. Arrows represent relationships (green if positive and red if negative). Yellow ellipses and arrows mean that the relationship can be positive or negative. If an arrow ends outside a box, the effect applies to all elements within it.

Publication 1 EN – Addressing the challenge of photovoltaic growth: Integrating multiple objectives towards sustainable green energy development

RESEARCH

February 2023

Addressing the challenge of photovoltaic growth: Integrating multiple objectives towards sustainable green energy development

Virgilio Hermoso, Gerard Bota, Lluis Brotons, Alejandra Morán-Ordónez

Solar photovoltaic (PV) energy production has increased significantly in recent decades. This increase has positive effects, in terms of contributing to climate change mitigation, and also negative effects, in terms of land use changes associated with PV installations. In order to maximize the former and reduce the latter, proper planning is important to minimize potential conflicts with biodiversity and its conservation.

The paper considers three possible scenarios for photovoltaic development, concluding that the most compatible scenario with biodiversity conservation would be to distribute photovoltaic production according to the area available in each region rather than distributing it homogeneously or grouping it according to the energy needs of its population.

Reference: Hermoso, V., Bota, G., Brotons, L., & Morán-Ordóñez, A. (2023). Addressing the challenge of photovoltaic growth: Integrating multiple objectives towards sustainable green energy development. Land Use Policy, 128, 106592.

Distribution of cells selected for photovoltaic projects (in red) from the set of all available cells (in grey) in the three different scenarios tested in this study (homogeneous across Catalonia, according to the demand in each area and according to the available area). Areas that were not suitable for PV projects are shown in white. The black dots pinpoint the capitals of the four provinces of Catalonia (Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona), which concentrate the population and energy demand of the region.

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