- PROJECT STATUS :
Sridhar Patra, PhD Researcher (UNU-FLORES and TU Dresden)
Intensive tillage-based agricultural intensification around the globe has negative effects on the quality of essential natural resources such as soil, water, biodiversity, and the associated ecosystem services. This degradation of the land resource base has resulted in declining crop yields and factor productivities necessitating an alternative production paradigm that is ecologically sustainable as well as profitable. The environmental footprint and climate change risks associated with conventional intensive tillage-based agriculture also calls for an alternative environment-friendly and climate-resilient production system. Degraded agro-ecosystems which no longer perform the optimal ecosystem functions, such as water infiltration and maintenance of water cycles, are also more vulnerable to extreme climate events. Hence, sustainable intensification of crop production must both reduce the impact of climate change on crop production and be ‘climate smart’ in mitigating the factors that cause global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and by contributing to carbon sequestration in the soil.
In his dissertation project, Sridhar Patra investigates the potential of conservation agriculture in reversing the intensive tillage induced degradation of soil resources in the Indo-Gangetic Plains of India, one of the most intensive and environmentally sensitive agro-ecosystems in the world, by improving the soil hydro-physical properties and soil physical quality. In his journal publications, he quantified the long-term impact of various conservation agriculture practices on soil organic matter storage and soil hydraulic properties and its implication on the agro-ecosystem functions of the region.
In fulfilling the requirements of the Joint PhD Programme in Integrated Management of Water, Soil, and Waste of UNU-FLORES and Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden), Sridhar Patra will be defending his thesis entitled “Effect of Conservation Agriculture on Organic Matter Stratification and Hydro-Physical Properties of Soil Under Intensive Cereal-based Cropping Systems”.
The Joint PhD programme of UNU-FLORES and TU Dresden, launched in 2015, is embedded within UNU-FLORES’s nexus-oriented research agenda and the corresponding research interests at TU Dresden. The established PhD research projects, co-supervised by researchers from UNU-FLORES and TU Dresden, are designed to reflect nexus thinking on particular problems of environmental resources management focusing on water, soil, and waste. The programme is the first international PhD programme addressing integrated resource management in a truly holistic way.
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