2nd Floor Environment Centre Wales
PhD Title (or subject area)
Perennial green manures for low carbon agriculture
Dr Paul Hill and Prof Dave Chadwick
I am a gardener with an interest in perennial cropping systems and soil health. Previously in my career I have worked in communicating the science behind environmental gardening techniques to a lay audience through display gardening, writing and teaching. In undertaking a PhD, I aim to combine my practical experience with scientific technique to contribute towards innovation in agroecology.
Describe your research
I am researching the potential to use perennial nitrogen fixing plants as an alternative to traditional green manures. Perennial nitrogen fixers eg alder (Alnus glutinosa) and gunnera (Gunnera manicata) can be grown on sub-optimal land which is prone to flooding or of low nutrient status. Growing and harvesting green manures ex-situ, and adding leaf matter to developing crops when required could allow greater nitrogen use efficiency by increasing synchrony of supply and demand. This could reduce greenhouse gas emissions of nitrous oxide, and leaching of nitrates to waterways. Production of leaf matter as fertiliser may provide an ecologically beneficial alternative land use option for low quality land in Wales.
My project is funded by KESS II, with the Centre for Alternative Technology as the partner organisation.