Nature and Environment

Agriculture not only uses natural resources such as soil, water, nutrients and genetic diversity, but also interacts directly with the natural environment and the climate. Within the theme of “nature and environment” we study ways to work with natural resources in a sustainable way, to minimize mutually negative impacts, and to stimulate win-win situations such as ecosystem services, functional agrobiodiversity, and green, blue en red services.

Animal trials consistent with ethics code

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Climate

Onderzoek op effecten van de klimaatswijziging op de landbouwClimate change is a proven fact and has a clear impact on agriculture. ILVO researches ways to monitor the effects of agriculture on the climate (quantifying the emissions of greenhouse gases from agricultural activities) as well as the effects of climate change on agriculture (the development of new plagues and diseases, etc.). How can agriculture help prevent further climate change (for example, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions) and where should agriculture adjust in order to cope with a changing climate (use of better-adapted crops, etc.).

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Energy

Miscanthus x gigantheusEnergy is an important production factor in the agriculture and fisheries industries. ILVO conducts various projects to monitor companies’ energy needs. We work toward energy-saving measures as well as the production of renewable energy.

The goal of research in this area is to gather scientifically supported information on the efficient use of energy as a production factor in agricultural processes and about the possible role of agriculture as an energy delivery source. Keywords are rational energy use (study of a dehumidifying technique for glasshouse production and the energy rationalization of the mechanical ventilation in intensive animal production) and renewable energy sources (such as via Miscanthus).

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Nutrients

Bemestingsproef UGent te Melle: een verandering in de bemesting heeft ook belangrijke consequenties voor de gewasgroeiSustainable nutrient management focuses on closing nutrient cycles, minimizing loss (through emission, runoff, etc.) and striving for optimal availability of these nutrients in soil and crops. We research low-emission animal housing systems and modern and efficient manure management, which maintains soil fertility and quality and simultaneously minimizes eutrophication of the environment.

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Water

Simulatie van de P-uitspoeling uit bodems met verschillende bemesting: bepaalt het type van meststof de uitspoeling van fosfor?Water is the source of all life on earth. An agricultural approach to sustainable water use includes attention for water maintenance in the soil, water quality and careful water use. ILVO approaches this subject through researching sustainable soil management, addressing the problem of surface- and groundwater pollution due to excessive runoff of nutrients and crop protection products and the need for rational water use in agricultural production.

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Biodiversity

Boomblauwtje in een bloemrijke graanrandILVO researches biodiversity, specifically in relation to agricultural production and business management. Several related subthemes include functional agrobiodiversity (such as natural plague management, pollination, and functional soil life), agro-environmental measures, damage from wild animals to agricultural crops, and the interaction between woody plants and agricultural crops.

More details on the ILVO research portal