Urban Gardening: From Cost Avoidance to Profit Making — Example from Ljubljana, Slovenia
In this study, we compare two economic models of urban gardening in Ljubljana, Slovenia. First is an avoided costs model (ACM) and the second one is a business model (BM). Comparison is made to exemplify the main economic differences between the two models. The difference is that producers under the BM sell surplus products, which is not the case under the ACM. The main aim of this study is to present an analysis of the phenomenon of urban gardening as a BM for small family home or allotment gardens. The survey was performed through Internet questionnaires and in some cases also with on-site interviews. Totally 127 urban gardeners from Ljubljana municipality participated in the research. The average ACM urban gardeners had on 1 m2 revenue of 4.86 EUR/m2, costs of 1.48 EUR/m2 and gross margin (savings) of 3.38 EUR/m2. Altogether, ACM brings savings of approximately 462.7 EUR per average size garden (136.69 m2) or 203 EUR per median size garden (60 m2) to the average gardener. The average BM gardener sold to the wholesale company approximately 107.0 kg of vegetables per year from 32.48 m2 of production area for an average retail price of 1.46 EUR/kg and earning revenue of 156.44 EUR/year. Costs were approximately 21.27 EUR/year. Therefore, the gross margin or earning from surpluses sold was approximately 135.17 EUR/year for the average BM gardener, which was 4.29 EUR/m2 or 1.26 EUR/kg of produce. The study offers evidence that the ACM can be upgraded with the BM. For example, if a family of two retired members have an average garden of 136 m2, they can produce vegetables for four people. Consequent surpluses for two family members can be sold for extra money. The BM should be more promoted among urban gardeners as it can offer additional income and in certain cases, when a hobby becomes a profession, also a full-time job.
Part of the book: Urban Agriculture
Modelling Agri‐Environmental Measures for Minimizing Soil Erosion While Protecting Valuable Agricultural Land
Erosion processes in river basins and the consequent transport of sediment and sediment‐bound pollutants to reservoirs cause hydromorphological changes and eutrophication, as well as the loss of reservoir storage capacity. This chapter deals with the optimal selection and implementation of agri‐environmental measures in river basins to reduce sediment yield and load. The main aim of this was to contribute to more efficient river basin management by minimizing soil erosion, while protecting valuable agricultural land. This includes implementing measures at the most critical source areas, where they are most effective and necessary. The river Ledava basin was selected as the study area. It covers an area of 105 km2 in northeast Slovenia and southeast Austria. The results of monitoring the river Ledava discharge reveal that the average annual concentration of sediment in the water body exceeded the recommended value of 25 mg/l by 46.7%. Using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), we were able to determine critical source areas and simulate the effects of eight different agri‐environmental scenarios on sediment yield reduction. The results show that critical source areas comprise 12% of the river basin. Most of the scenarios reduced sediment load in the river Ledava where steeper slopes in the sub‐basin prevail and where high average annual sediment transport from hydrologic response units (HRUs) has been identified. The impact of the scenarios on the average annual sediment load (ton/year) in the river was lower than for the sediment yield (ton/ha) at the HRU level.
Part of the book: River Basin Management
Modeling Agricultural Land Management to Improve Understanding of Nitrogen Leaching in an Irrigated Mediterranean Area in Southern Turkey
Nitrogen (N) cycle dynamics and its transport in the ecosystem were always an attracting subject for the researchers. Calculation of N budget in agricultural systems with use of different empirical statistical methods is common practice in OECD and EU countries. However, these methodologies do not include climate and water cycle as part of the process. On the other hand, big scale studies are labor and work intensive. As a solution, various computer modeling approaches have been used to predict N budget and related N parameters. One of them is internationally established Soil and Water Assessment (SWAT) model, which was developed especially for modeling agricultural catchments. The aim of this study was to improve understanding of N leaching with simulation of agricultural land management (fertilization, irrigation, and plant species) in hydrological heavily modified watershed with irrigation-depended agriculture under Mediterranean climate. The study was conducted in Lower Seyhan River Plain Irrigation District (Akarsu) of 9495 ha in Cukurova region of southern Turkey. Intensive and extensive water and nitrogen monitoring data (2008–2014), soil properties, cropping pattern, and crop rotation were used for the SWAT model build, calibration, and validation of the model.
Part of the book: Water Quality
Modelling Impact of Adjusted Agricultural Practices on Nitrogen Leaching to Groundwater
The aim of the research was to determine how changes in the management of agricultural land (cultivation techniques, fertilisation, type of crop and crop rotation) influence on the leaching of nitrogen from the soil profile. Research was conducted in the Drava River plain in Slovenia. The impact of 31 different scenarios of potential change in agricultural land management was evaluated using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. The research was located on the shallow aquifer with alluvial bedrock composite from carbonate and silicate layers, which is the main source of drinking water in the area. The results of the SWAT model version 2009 showed that with the constant climate and land management technology, the magnitude of nitrogen leaching from the soil profile is mainly influenced by soil properties. The most drastic effect on the increase of nitrogen leaching showed vegetable production technology, followed by cereals (corn, wheat and barley). Vegetable production even in ecological production by Slovenian standards can result in similar leaching potential as conventional farming, due to unfavourable conditions originating from soil properties (shallow soil profile). Effects of grassland production may lead to 76–98% reduction in nitrogen loss from soil profile in comparison to current practices.
Part of the book: Water Quality
Groundwater Protection Legislation in Slovenia: Theory and Practice
As an EU member, Slovenia implemented the Water Framework Directive (WFD) guidelines into national legislation quite successfully, but in many parts of the country, groundwater is still under threat, mainly from nitrate. The problematic areas, as is the case in many other EU countries, are mostly shallow-soiled alluvial plains. Their groundwater is the country’s biggest source of drinking water, but at the same time, the fertile soil on their flat surface is considered to be the most suitable for agricultural activities. We are aiming to provide an overview of groundwater protection practices in Slovenia. To evaluate the “theory,” we will take a close look at the national legislation concerning the subject. From the “practical” perspective, we will research what guidelines and solutions were drawn from legislation to comply with WFD objectives. Furthermore, we will also discuss the current activities aimed at improving Slovenia’s groundwater status.
Part of the book: Groundwater
Perspectives of Hydrologic Modeling in Agricultural ResearchView all chapters
For decades agricultural research was done in the field or laboratories, but with the rise of computer science, hydrologic modeling became another essential tool for environmental impact studies. Many types of models can be used, each with its strengths and weaknesses in terms of accuracy, speed, and amount of input data needed. Models can be used on different scales and simulate very different processes. Based on a literature review, APEX (Agricultural Policy Extender) and SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) models are the most popular for environmental research in agronomy. An important share of modeling work in agronomic studies is focused on pollution research, mainly nutrient and pesticide leaching and soil erosion processes. Other topics include simulating the effects of irrigation and other agricultural practices and studying the impact of extreme weather events and climate change. When working with model results, it is crucial to be mindful of inevitable uncertainties and consider them during interpretation. Modeling is gaining importance in agronomic research in Slovenia, with many studies done in the recent decade and more underway.
Part of the book: Hydrology