The research work of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) section (former Soil Science) over time concerned irrigation and fertilization of crops, soil fertility, the application of new technologies in greenhouses, the use of treated waste water for irrigation and the use of renewable energy in agriculture. Methods and techniques that have already promoted to farmers in the field of irrigation/fertilization are the most widely applied. The results of limited irrigation are especially useful in periods of drought when irrigation must be restricted. Noteworthy, the long-term research data of the section enabled the acceptance of treated wastewater reuse for irrigation, while also formed the basis for the legislative framework.
A key feature of recent section’s activities is the expansion of scientific research to new topics, related to recent increased interest in global warming and climate change, such as sustainable use of soil, water and energy, precision agriculture, biodiversity conservation and environmental issues in order to assist efforts for sustainable and viable agriculture. An important part of the research work is being carried out within the framework of competitive programs (partners or lead partner) from various funding agencies, such as the European Union, and the Research and Innovation Foundation of Cyprus.
The section's work includes the following areas:
- Soil fertility, crop water requirements and plant nutrition aspects
- The use of treated wastewater for irrigation and resources recovery
- Precision agriculture and sustainable soil, water and energy use
- Native and endemic plants and biodiversity conservation
- Sustainable environment and protection for wildlife
The NRE section, through its research programs, contributes to the sustainable management of natural resources and the protection of the environment by transferring knowledge and methods to other departments of the Ministry, as well as informing, supporting and educating producers, agronomists, students and other stakeholders. The staff developed a strong research activity, resulting in the publication of a large number of scientific papers in high-impact international journals as well as in the form of printed material and related radio broadcasts. Dissemination of the results also takes place within the framework of ARI’s seminars or during the training courses of farmers organized by the Department of Agriculture and many times directly to producers. Training of scientists, both from Cyprus and abroad, students and farmers in relevant scientific aspects such as hydroponics and wastewater reuse, has always been conducted through educational programs of varying duration. NRE also provides support to thesis and doctoral dissertation projects undertaken by university students.
Results with practical significance from section’s activities are provided through some links on the ARI website, such as web applications (in Greek), programs and publications.
Externally funded ongoing projects in which the section is involved
- MED Greenhouses
- ORGANIKO LIFE+
- ADAPT2CHANGE LIFE+
- CrITERIA ERANETMED
- IoT4Potato /IoF2020
- BLACKGOLD (Integrated/0916/0019/ΙΠΕ)
- MAGNET (Infrastructures/1216/0032/ΙΠΕ)
- Recy-Film (Enterprises/0618/0131/ΙΠΕ)
- Nereus COST Action ES1403
- Biodiversity/Cyprus mouflon
Damianos Neocleous, Panagiotis Dalias, Anastasis Christou, Loukia Vassiliou