Salt-affected soils: field-scale strategies for prevention, mitigation, and adaptation to salt accumulation

Submitted: 8 September 2022
Accepted: 31 March 2023
Published: 22 August 2023
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  • Ana Marta Paz Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária (INIAV), Oeiras, Portugal.
  • Esperanza Amezketa Tracasa, Sarriguren, Navarra, Spain.
  • Loredana Canfora Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria, Centro di Ricerca Agricoltura e Ambiente, Roma, Italy.
  • Nadia Castanheira Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária (INIAV), Oeiras, Portugal.
  • Gloria Falsone Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, Italy.
  • Maria C. Gonçalves Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária (INIAV), Oeiras, Portugal.
  • Ian Gould Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology, University of Lincoln, United Kingdom.
  • Biser Hristov University of Forestry, Sofia, Bulgaria.
  • Marcello Mastrorilli Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria; Centro di Ricerca Agricoltura e Ambiente, Bari, Italy.
  • Tiago Ramos Centro de Ciência e Tecnologia do Ambiente e do Mar (MARETECLARSyS), Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Rodney Thompson Department of Agronomy, University of Almeria, Spain.
  • Edoardo A.C. Costantini CNR-IBE - Department of Biology, Agriculture and Food Sciences, Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy.

The area of salt-affected soils is increasing globally, mainly due to land use and management malpractices, which can threaten soil health and the sustainability of farms. Climate change is likely to increase the prevalence of salt-affected soils in many agricultural areas due to increased aridity and, in coastal areas, due to the increase in sea water level. The causes and processes that develop salt-affected soils are diverse and can result in soil salinity, sodicity, alkalinity, or a combination of these conditions. There is a need to continuously update strategies to tackle salt-affected soils, finding solutions tailored at different scales. This work presents a review of the current knowledge related to salt-affected soils and identifies specific strategies and related case studies for the prevention, mitigation, and adaptation to salt accumulation in soils at the field scale while addressing their limitations, advantages, research needs, and innovation potential. The presented case studies show that adequate irrigation management and drainage can be used as a preventive measure to counter salt accumulation in soils. Phyto and bioremediation can be effective practices for the mitigation of soil sodicity. Leaching and drainage can be effective measures for mitigation of soil salinity. Crop rotation and management of soil organic matter can be used as adaptative measures that improve plant tolerance to salt-affected soils, while a newer approach, microbial management, shows innovation potential as an adaptative measure.



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Supporting Agencies

EIP-AGRI Focus Group “Soil Salinisation”, “Water4AgriFood” (Progetto ARS01_00825)

How to Cite

Paz, A. M., Amezketa, E., Canfora, L., Castanheira, N., Falsone, G., Gonçalves, M. C., Gould, I., Hristov, B., Mastrorilli, M., Ramos, T., Thompson, R., & Costantini, E. A. (2023). Salt-affected soils: field-scale strategies for prevention, mitigation, and adaptation to salt accumulation. Italian Journal of Agronomy, 18(2).