No tillage operations, plastic nets permanently on the soil surface [Greece]

Κάλυψη με πλαστικά (Greek)

technologies_1087 - Greece

Completeness: 71%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
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SLM specialist:

Mentzidakis Ioannis

National Agricultural Research Foundation - NAGREF - Institute of Olive


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1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

A technology which combines no tillage operations and the cover of the ground with plastic nets

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


This technology has the same main advantages and characteristics as no tillage operation against soil erosion and water lconservation. Soil erosion is drastically reduced since soil surface is protected from raindrop splashing by the existing annual vegetation and the plastic nets. Soil water evaporation is also reduced due to the mulching provided by the plant residues and the nets. Furthermore, higher amount of rain water is infiltrating into the soil compared with other traditional LMPs. The specific technique has emerged as a need to overcome obstacles to the collection of olive fruits and protection of the nets from animals. Nets are spread in the whole field (intensive cultivation) covering completely the soil surface or part of the field (extensive cultivation), so olive fruits falling down can be periodocally collected by the farmer. Furthermore, a problem arises if nets are removed from the ground and stored. Animals, like mice, prefer to go in and make their nets by destroying them. Therefore, by keeping nets in the field during the whole year they are protected from such damages. Nets are installed in the field by stones or using metallic pins of about 15 cm long which are entered into the soil. Nets can remain in the field at least 10 years. Referring to the map showing areas undergoing tillage and non-tillage operations in the study area of Chania, it can be noted that the combined technique using cover nets is applied mainly in areas with high altitude and at a rate of approximately 15% of the no tillage area.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

Kissamos province

Further specification of location:



Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 5 km2.

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied



  • Tree and shrub cropping
Tree and shrub cropping - Specify crops:
  • olive

Longest growing period in days: 120Longest growing period from month to month: March to JuneSecond longest growing period in days: 150Second longest growing period from month to month: March to June


Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): high soil erosion rates and lack of water for irrigation

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Hig cost of olive oil production

3.4 Water supply


Water supply: mixed rainfed - irrigated, full irrigation

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • improved ground/ vegetation cover
  • minimal soil disturbance

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A3: Soil surface treatment
management measures

management measures

  • M2: Change of management/ intensity level

Main measures: agronomic measures

Secondary measures: management measures

Type of agronomic measures: retaining more vegetation cover, mulching, manure / compost / residues, zero tillage / no-till

Type of vegetative measures: in blocks

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
water degradation

water degradation

  • Hs: change in quantity of surface water

Main type of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion

Secondary types of degradation addressed: Hs: change in quantity of surface water

Main causes of degradation: crop management (annual, perennial, tree/shrub) (soil erosion), poverty / wealth (loss in farm income)

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • reduce land degradation

Main goals: mitigation / reduction of land degradation

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

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Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

Technical knowledge required for land users: low

Main technical functions: increase in organic matter

Secondary technical functions: increase of surface roughness

Retaining more vegetation cover
Material/ species: oxalis sp

Material/ species: plastics
Quantity/ density: plastics a

Manure / compost / residues
Material/ species: green manure, oxalis sp
Remarks: natural growing plant

Zero tillage / no-till
Remarks: tillage is not allowed since nets will be destroyed

In blocks
Vegetative material: O : other
Number of plants per (ha): 250
Vertical interval between rows / strips / blocks (m): 5
Spacing between rows / strips / blocks (m): 5
Vertical interval within rows / strips / blocks (m): 5
Width within rows / strips / blocks (m): 4

Perennial crops species: olives

Other species: existing vegetation

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

other/ national currency (specify):


If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:


Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Buy the nets

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Installation ha 1.0 320.0 320.0
Equipment Nets ha 1.0 2700.0 2700.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 3020.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 2026.85

Duration of establishment phase: 0.1 month(s)

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. replacing destroyed nets 0.2 days/ha/year
2. reinstalling nets removed by winds or other reason 0.5 days/ha/year

4.6 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)


Machinery/ tools: no tools

the cost has been calculated for the year 2009

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

the purchase of materials

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

With 6 months of dry period

Agro-climatic zone
  • semi-arid

Thermal climate class: temperate

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • high (>3%)

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

> 50 m

Availability of surface water:


Comments and further specifications on water quality and quantity:

Water quality (untreated): good drinking water, for agricultural use only (irrigation)

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • high

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • subsistence (self-supply)
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • average
  • rich
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • mechanized/ motorized
  • men
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users

Difference in the involvement of women and men: Yes women are used to work mainly in the house

Population density: 10-50 persons/km2

Annual population growth: 1% - 2%

5% of the land users are rich.
55% of the land users are average wealthy.

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • small-scale

Average area of land owned or leased by land users applying the Technology: 2-5 ha, 5-15 ha, 15-50 ha

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, titled
Land use rights:
  • communal (organized)
  • individual
Water use rights:
  • communal (organized)
  • individual

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


land management

Comments/ specify:

Problem if a minimum tillage LMP is applied since nets must be removed

Income and costs

farm income

Quantity before SLM:

1800 Euro/ha

Quantity after SLM:

3200 Euro/ha



Socio-cultural impacts

SLM/ land degradation knowledge


Improved livelihoods and human well-being

Comments/ specify:

Increase in farmers income and reduction the off-site effects

Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

water quality


surface runoff


soil moisture


soil loss


soil crusting/ sealing


soil compaction


6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

downstream flooding


groundwater/ river pollution


6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought not well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood not well

protection of the area from flooding or from animal passing over

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:


How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:



Reduction of labor and protection of of harvesting materials

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • > 50%
If available, quantify (no. of households and/ or area covered):


Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 91-100%

10% of land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support

250 land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support

90% of land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support

250 land user families have adopted the Technology without any external material support

There is a moderate trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Reduce cost production but create problems to the cultivation of olive groves. The major cost in olive production is labour for harvesting. By applying this technology harvesting labour is minimized to about one tenth. It can be viable at small to medium scale farms, prone to water erosion, on very steep slopes where harvesting of olive fruits by the traditional methods become very difficult.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Providing financial support
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Technologies on conserving soil and water resources and combating desertification in Crete are mainly related to land management. Olive groves can survive under adverse climatic and soil conditions supporting a significant farmer’s income under relatively low labour. Land management practices have been adopted in the area based on tradition and transfer knowledge by the local institutes and specialists. The no tillage land management practice combined with plastic nets on the soil surface can be considered as an important technique protecting the land from degradation and desertification and increasing farmer’s income.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? By explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the technology to the farmers

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Difficulties in removing perrenial natural vegetation and spreading the fertilizers. applying fertilizers by the irrigation system
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Too many plastics spread around in an area. Recycling of plastics is a great problem. no overcome

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

Links and modules

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