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Salinization of Dutch Agriculture: How to adapt?

Starmans, Z.M. (2014) Salinization of Dutch Agriculture: How to adapt? Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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The extent of salinization in the Netherlands must not be underestimated. Even though the present situation is not very threatening, in the future salinization might have a lot of impact on Dutch agriculture. A change in climate and sea level rise will cause more pressure of salt water and less fresh water availability for cultivated areas. These global issues will not be solved in the near future so adaptation to an increase in salinization is required. To understand how to adapt, the way salinization affects crops needs to be explained. Salinized soil can decrease crop yield if the cultivated species/variety is not salt-tolerant, which is the case for many cultivated crops in the Netherlands. A toxic level of ion accumulation from the saline environment can cause enzyme inactivity that can damage a plant and restrict its yield. To achieve sustainable agriculture in a saline environment a plant has to possess salt-tolerance and a high yield, which is of importance to the farmer. Combining these two factors will be of importance and might be achieved. Genetically designing such a crop might be promising and realistic in the future, unfortunately, present knowledge is lacking. Breeding plants is another option, but for the same reasons as with genetic engineering it proves to be very hard to simultaneously breed salt-tolerant and high yielding crops. Using halophytes as alternative crops is the final option. High yielding halophytes are available and should be considered; only a lack of social acceptance might be a problem. Next to adapting our crops, our water management has to adapt as well. A method that takes into consideration local conditions must be implied to determine the amount of irrigation water needed to obtain an optimal crop yield. The Netherlands need to pay attention to these adaptations to achieve sustainable agriculture and to protect themselves from salinization.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:57
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:57

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