Spain’s lemon industry “actively contributes to the fight against climate change by being a real carbon sink,” according to a recent report from the Lemon and Grapefruit Interprofessional Association (AILIMPO). A carbon sink accumulates and stores some carbon-containing chemical compounds and thereby lowers the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Globally, the two most important carbon sinks are vegetation and oceans.
The AILIMPO report, Carbon Footprint of the Lemon Sector in Spain, contains much technical information, including the amount of CO2 fixation in lemon plantations. It also presents data about CO2 emissions while transporting lemons to packing and processing plants, emissions in handling warehouses and emissions in processing plants.
The report states that lemons contribute to the fight against climate change due to the practices that producers are carrying out. These practices include the following:
- The area under organic cultivation has tripled in recent years in Spain. Between 2012 and 2019, it will increase from 1,708 to 7,117 hectares. Organic farming contributes to reducing emissions as the net fixation in organic farms is higher than in conventional farming.
- The shredding and incorporation of pruning residues reduces the evaporation of water from the soil and increases the organic matter in the soil, thereby increasing the CO2 stored in the soil.
- Since 92% of the lemon area has localized irrigation systems without soil tillage, no fossil fuels are consumed in soil preparation. Moreover, no tillage leads to less mineralization activity of organic matter, which favors the fixation of more carbon in the soil.
- The optimization of irrigation and the use of moisture probes, mulch nets to reduce evaporation or the controlled deficit irrigation technique lead to a reduction in water consumption and therefore a reduced need for electrical energy for irrigation, reducing emissions.
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