Here you can (re-)watch the presentation given by Niek Pepels during our event on the 12th of May 2020 (the first minute is missing, sorry for that):
It has been known for a while that our global phosphorous reserves are diminishing due to an increasing demand of the nutrient in the fertilizer industry. The mining of phosphorous has a detrimental impact on its immediate environment and it is an nonrenewable resource, of which winds up in water ways and forms chemical bonds in the soil, making it inaccessible for plants. The whole story seems to be a downward spiral of which farmers all over the world will feel the consequences. If you’re interested to read more about the phosphorous crisis, take a look at the article we wrote here.
Niek Pepels, MSc Organic Agriculture student, has studied food forests and how the forest ecosystem manages nutrients such as phosphorous, resulting in a resilient system that is independent from additional fertilizers. He shows that forests remain productive for hundreds of years without any inputs. How is this possible? And can we learn from his research in a transition to sustainable farming systems?
A short introduction of 𝐍𝐢𝐞𝐤 𝐏𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐥𝐬::
In the last 5 years, I have been researching regenerative agricultural systems that produce food, fibre and medicine and simultaneously provide all the ecosystem services on which our species depends. Through the lens of an ecologist, I studied different agro-ecosystems and my journey has brought me to the Tree Crop systems of Europe that, in my opinion, serve as a blueprint for future regenerative agricultural systems based on perennial species. Perennial-crop based agriculture has the potential to become the new dominant European agricultural system as it would help fight many challenges that we are currently facing, such as the global biodiversity crisis and the glooming depletion of our phosphorus-mines