Assistant Professor of Soil Ecology

Cristina will be speaking in Session 7. Vineyard health and biodiversity. Click here to see more.

Abstract

The use of cover crops is being increasingly adopted by wine grape producers around the world to avoid soil erosion and protect soil health. In addition, cover crops increase aggregate formation and soil organic matter, through root exudates, above and belowground litter inputs. Therefore, cover crops have associated benefits for water management and C sequestration, contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation. However, these benefits largely depend on how cover crops are managed. The new framework of regenerative agriculture poses that combining the use of cover crops with other sustainable soil management practices such as compost application, no-till and animal grazing, has synergistic effects that maximize C storage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from soils. Nevertheless, much debate still exists regarding the efficacy of these practices to sequester C under different soils and climatic conditions. This presentation will show current research evaluating the effects of these different cover crop management strategies and potential synergies between them on the soil ecological processes regulating C sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the potential role of soil properties and environmental conditions (temperature and precipitation) will be discussed.

Biography

Dr. Cristina Lazcano is a soil biologist and assistant professor of soil ecology at the department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California Davis (USA). She completed her PhD at the University of Vigo (Spain). Afterwards, she worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the Technical University of Denmark, the University of Calgary and UC Davis. Before joining the faculty of UC Davis in 2019, Dr. Lazcano was an assistant professor of soil ecology at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. At the most basic level the research of Dr. Lazcano aims to understand the importance of soil biodiversity for soil, environmental and human health. Her work identifies the soil ecological interactions responsible for C sequestration, nutrient availability and retention in agroecosystems and how they can be managed to increase soil health and sustainability of agricultural production. Dr. Lazcano has worked with crops like corn, tomatoes, strawberries and, for the last six years, Dr. Lazcano’s research is focused on winegrapes. Through on farm collaborative research, Dr. Lazcano hopes to help winegrape producers understand how to improve soil health, environmental quality and agroecosystem resilience while producing high quality grapes.