Smart landscape. Czech scientists fight drought to be modern in 30 years

"This soil has been formed for whole generations and now it is lost," says Jan Vopravil of the Research Institute of Melioration and Soil Protection.

In his hand he is holding a piece of dry dirt about two centimetres thick, which he has just broken off from the soil sediment covering the entire bottom of the pool at the lower end of the small field. Vopravil is standing at the edge of one of three experimental fields where Czech scientists are studying how to protect the soil from drought and torrential rain.

This is one of the components of the unique Amálie Smart Landscape project, which is being created on an area of 500 hectares by the Centre for Water, Soil and Landscape of the Czech University of Life Sciences at the Amálie farm a few kilometres outside Lány near Rakovník. This particular area is one of the driest in the country because it lies in the so-called rain shadow.

"The situation with drought is very serious," says Petr Sklenička, the rector of ČZU, who is also the initiator of the project.

A little later he adds, slightly provocatively: "However, we must not reach the point where we would have to save water. It has to circulate in the landscape, and as soon as we divert it, we will start going down the spiral of drought." He believes that with modern technology and the return of some old practices, agriculture can continue to work well, and the Czech Republic will be able to cope with climate change and water scarcity.


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