Godert van Lynden & Mike Lane (2004)
SOWAP is an acronym for a project called Soil And Water Protection Using Conservation Tillage In Northern And Central Europe aiming to assess the viability of a more “conservation-oriented” agriculture in the UK, Belgium and Hungary. SOWAP works at the farm scale, with detailed monitoring taking place at the plot level. The conservation tillage systems tested by the project will be applied at field sites in the three countries. Local variations and farmer/land owner preference will be considered and documented, making use of the WOCAT methodology. The consultation and participation by all stakeholders is critical to the success of SOWAP. Economic aspects as well as
environmental benefits will be assessed for the conventional practice, for a conservation tillage practice devised by SOWAP in co-operation with the farmer and for a SOWAP “appropriate practice” crop solution. The impact of the three cultivation practices will be compared on run-off plots by measuring sediment and water run-off, loss of soil nutrients/fertilizers, and pesticide losses. Secondly, separate areas of the monitoring sites will be used to assess the impacts of the practices on soil ecology and soil physical-chemical properties, with particular emphasis on reduction of off-site pollution, enhancement of soil structure and carbon sequestration and increase of biodiversity, due
to conservation practices Further assessments will be made of the impacts on larger species e.g. birds and fish.
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