Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems in the Mediterranean (ISAFoM)

Research activities

The multidisciplinary and specific scientific skills that were transferred to ISAFOM at the time of its formation, lead the research to be conducted on various topics that are expressed in national research projects, regional, and international collaborations with specifications and agreements with Italian and foreign universities and private partners.
The multidisciplinary approach (biological, physiological, agronomic biotechnology, modeling etc.) to the problem of sustainability of crop production in the agricultural and forestry systems considered, allows to carry out studies and research in the area that is scientifically qualified on single plant, and almost all agricultural and forest species economically dominant for environments characterized by mediterranean climate (olive, grain legumes, tomato, artichoke, etc.).
Having to illustrate the organization of the research of ISAFOM activities should present it divided main objectives split into specific lines;

Objective 1 - The mechanisms responses and analysis of herbaceous field crops, trees, of forest formations and the rhizosphere to abiotic stresses (heat, water, salinity).

Line 1.1 Effect of abiotic stresses on ecophysiological processes whit particular emphasis to the efficiency of water use;
Line 1.2 Analysis, characterization, conservation and genetic resources improvement related to agronomic purposes, energy, environmental and nutritional (innovative cropping systems, germplasm bank of typical Mediterranean crops in situ and ex-situ; collection of international varieties of olives);
Line 1.3 Study of biological, microbiological, biochemical and physical factor that determine the structure, function and composition of the rhizosphere;

Objective 2 - Analysis of the response of land use in agricultural and forestry sector, to abiotic stresses to anthropic pressures and environmental changes.

Line 2.1 Analysis of hydrological processes, carbon and nitrogen cycles, and biodiversity to manage and preserve the soil and agricultural and forestry systems;
Line 2.2. Study of agricultural ecosystems dominated by typical tree crops (vines, olives): i) characterization of soil properties and geological substrate; ii) quantitative and qualitative responses to of the physical environment factors;
Line 2.3 Response of crops and rural land to water availability, to quality of irrigation water and to climate variability and options for adaptation to the evolution of the climate;
Line 2.4. Integrated study of the carbon cycle and water in forestry ecosystems: functionality of forests, regulation of cycles and long-term responses to environmental changes in the environment characterized by mediterranean climate;
Line 2.5. Exchange of mass and energy with the atmosphere of the agricultural ecosystems, forestry and anthropic;

Objective 3 - Development of technical solutions for the improvement of primary productivity, the total quality of the products and their postharvest valorization.

Effects of biology and conservation techniques (temperature, humidity, controlled atmosphere) on the characteristics of quality of products for IV gamma;
Line 3.2. Characterization, processing, recycling of waste products of industrial processing, evaluation of the environmental and juridical and economic analysis: i) non-food crops, ii) algae iii) agro-industrial by-products for the production of alternative energy and green chemistry;
Line 3.3. Emissions analysis and mass balances made in facilities for composting agricultural industrial wastes in a laboratory scale;
Line 3.4. Biotechnology for the development of production and conservation processes (shelf life) of vegetal with innovative features nutraceutical and human health benefits (high content in bio-functional substances). Recovery of bioactive molecules from agro-industrial waste;

Objective 4 - Development of technical solutions for the conservation and management of water resources, plant biodiversity and soil in the environment of agricultural systems.

Line 4.1. Development of crop models and geospatial decision support systems for the management of cropping systems, soil and water;
Line 4.2. Sustainable use of irrigation water also in condition of salty water and of poor quality;
Line 4.3. Development and application of hydrological and erosion models for the evaluation of forest interventions and functionality of forest ecosystems;
Line 4.4. Analysis and management of river and coastal ecosystems;
Line 4.5. Development and integration of technical survey, monitoring, modeling and geographic information systems (Web-GIS) in the chain environment-forests-wood.