The European Landowners Organization awarded the 2022 Land and Soil Management Award to researchers at the Geographical Institute of the ELKH Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences (CSFK) for their outstanding research in the field of sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture. At the Forum of The Future of Agriculture conference in Brussels – as in previous years – the jury, made up of the most prestigious European experts in agricultural and environmental sciences, presented the award on March 15 to Hungarian researchers for the first time.
Large-scale arable farming – if not based on environmentally friendly tillage – threatens the survival of soil cover worldwide. In addition to reducing soil fertility, this issue can lead to the pollution of surface waters and the formation of lightning and inland waters. Large-scale agricultural activity also contributes significantly to the disappearance of soil humus cover and the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, by changing the process of tillage, these processes can be reversed. In addition to maintaining arable farming, the productivity and yield of soils, drought tolerance of crops and diversity of wildlife can also be increased.
Since 2003, the CSFK Geographical Institute has been operating a major research station on the border of Szentgyörgyvár in western Hungary, where the environmental and economic effects of traditional and environmentally friendly field farming are studied on a one-hectare scale. The findings of the experiments carried out there have been published in Soil and Tillage Research, one of the most prestigious journals in the field. Environmentally friendly cultivation, which is becoming more widespread worldwide, is not only helping to retain rainwater more efficiently, reduce soil degradation and improve soil quality, but also to increase crop safety. The processes and technologies studied at the research station open up new perspectives in the field of adaptation to the agricultural challenges caused by climate change, as well as in the absorption of greenhouse gases in the form of humus.
The research station also plays a role in disseminating knowledge to domestic and foreign farmers, decision-makers and policy makers.