In Hungary, the MARGINS project is being conducted near Lake Balaton - the largest lake in Central Europe. The lake is renowned for its beauty and wildlife. Its surrounding hilly landscape is covered with rich brown forest soil. This landscape is, however, prone to soil erosion -in particular, rills develop when soil is weakened by excessive tillage and exposed to intense rainstorms.
If not carefully managed, runoff and soil erosion threaten not only the productivity of these soils, but also the region’s water resources. The MARGINS Project is providing practical solutions by demonstrating how to integrate the protection of natural resources with their productive use in the Lake Balaton region.
This project is located on a site previously used as part of the SOWAP Project - a soil and water protection initiative conducted by Syngenta in Hungary, with several partners, as part of an EU-Life+ program. It was also replicated in Belgium and the UK.
Results from SOWAP field research show that minimum tillage can protect valuable soil resources, particularly organic matter, by dramatically reducing soil erosion. This was also demonstrated in the ProTerra research project, a collaboration for perennial crops led by Syngenta. Pilot farms reduced soil erosion by up to 90 percent when cover crops were planted between rows of vines and olive trees in France, Portugal and Spain by improving soil structure and water absorption during the rainy season.