Maximising the effectiveness of riparian buffer zones in the Mediterranean
In this project I will be researching the use of plants to reduce soil erosion and its associated problems in Spanish agriculture. Spain has the most severe erosion in Europe which not only causes issues for farmers through loss of fertile soil but can also result in water pollution as sediment and nutrients are washed into rivers and streams. Sediment loss predominantly takes place during intense rainfall. Plants can help to stabilize soil by breaking up individual raindrops before they hit the ground, through interrupting runoff and trapping sediment. Some plant species are more effective at reducing soil erosion than others. An important consideration for the plants used in this arid region is the amount of water they require. I am excited to be working with Primafruit on this project and hope that the outcomes can be implemented by their suppliers in Spain.
I have always been passionate about the natural world and learning about how it is interconnected. I first came to Lancaster University in 2010 to study a BSc in Environmental Science; my interest in soil began during this degree. After graduation, I worked on a placement in a development organisation in Rwanda, and then was a Research Assistant for a development consultancy based in the UK. The experience from both of these jobs led to me developing an interest in sustainable agriculture and shifted me away from a predominantly ecocentric outlook. A couple of jobs later I returned to Lancaster to pursue this interest through an MSc in Environment and Development. For my dissertation I researched soil fertility in the mid-hills of Nepal by interviewing farmers and collecting soil samples, working with fellow students at Lancaster University and Kathmandu University. During my Masters I decided I wanted to engage in a career researching sustainable agriculture with a focus on soil, beginning with this PhD.