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Managing Orchards for Climate Friendly Outcomes
Two components of a healthy, productive soil are adequate levels of soil organic matter and nitrogen. Unlike most kinds of agriculture, production of tree fruits and grapes in the Okanagan Valley has resulted in an increase in soil organic matter. In this series of workshops, we will describe the results of 5-10 years of research at UBC Okanagan on how management of orchard and vineyard soils can influence the retention or loss of soil carbon and nitrogen.

February 16th: Soil Carbon
Soil carbon is vital to agricultural production, it plays a key role in nutrient cycling and water retention, soil structure and pest/disease control. A major part of this project was to develop a better understanding of how irrigated agriculture has impacted soil carbon levels in this semi-arid region of Canada.

February 17: Microbial Nitrogen Cycle and Contributions to Nitrous Oxide Emissions
Agricultural management practices have the potential to mitigate or enhance emissions of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. Soil microorganisms carry out the processes of nitrification and denitrification, which are the major sources of nitrous oxide. In this session we will discuss new methods for quantifying these N-cycling organisms and examine how changes in soil properties, moisture, carbon and nitrogen amendments and a nitrification inhibitor can affect their abundance and the emission of nitrous oxide in Okanagan soils.

February 18: Life Cycle Modelling
Horticultural production is enabled by exogenous inputs of fertilizer, pesticides, fuels, water and other resources. Changes in orchard-level technologies and management strategies to mitigate GHG emissions may change both the kinds and amounts of exogenous inputs used as well as the direct and indirect “life cycle” GHG emissions associated with their production and use. Using systems-level modelling tools to estimate the net benefits and impacts of mitigation strategies is hence essential in order to ensure net positive outcomes.
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