International attention and insights on agro-ecosystems sustainability in Lithuania
On 2-3rd December, 2020 was held the 3rd International Scientific Conference AgroEco2020: “Agroecosystem Sustainability: Links between Carbon Sequestration, Food Security and Climate Change” organized by Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) Agriculture Academy, Faculty of Agronomy. The conference was held virtually for the first time. The international research infrastructure consortium AnaEE also contributed to the organization of the conference. The conference was attended by about 200 participants from various countries: France, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, India, Denmark and others.
The conference AgroEco2020 was opened by the VMU Agriculture Academy Dean of Agronomy Faculty prof. Aušra Blinstrubienė. Vice-President of Lithuanian Academy of Sciences prof. Zenonas Dabkevičius welcomed all participants of the conference.
The topics of the conference are closely related to the European Commission’s Mission area “Soil Health and Food”. The conference was attended by the Chairman of the Mission Board “Soil Health and Food” prof. Cees Veerman. He presented the Mission and the Board’s activities in plenary session. He has a wide experience as he is a former Dutch Minister of Agriculture, a professor at Wageningen University & Research, and also he is a farmer. Assoc. prof. dr. Zita Kriaučiūnienė from VMU Agriculture Academy, Faculty of Agronomy, Institute of Agroecosystems and Soil Sciences is also a member of Mission Soil Health and Food Board.
The second plenary presentation was about the research infrastructure AnaEE (Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems), presented by Michel Boer, Head of this infrastructure. VMU Academy of Agriculture together with the Lithuanian Agriculture and Forestry Sciences Center (LAMMC) seeks to join this international infrastructure and its project activities. Later in the conference was presented BIOEAST initiative, in which the VMU Academy of Agriculture and its researchers are already participating as partners together with other Central and Eastern European countries, on common agro-ecological problems and insights into sustainable farming. Prof. Abdul M. Mouazen from the University of Ghent (Belgium) presented research on precision agriculture. Active cooperation with this professor has been going on for several years and in 2021 a joint international project will be launched. The famous researcher of allelopathy research prof. Inderjit from the University of Delhi (India) had presentation about weeds in agroecosystems. Professors from Poland presented two more plenary presentations: prof. Ewelina Hallmann on bioactive food components, and prof. Renata Marks-Bielska on the circular bioeconomy in the food chain.
For the rest of the day, oral presentations were presented in three parallel sections. A total of 31 oral presentations were made on the following topics: soil health and carbon sequestration for sustainability; soil and crop management to reduce chemicals in agriculture; biodiversity, crop and product diversification; precision agriculture and digital technologies; food quality and safety; the role of the circular bioeconomy in climate change mitigation.
The conference poster presentations, of which there were 41, and the conference abstract book were published on the Internet.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to the presentation of AnaEE international research infrastructure and its services. During it prof. Algirdas Augustaitis, prof. Arvydas Povilaitis, prof. Vaclovas Bogužas, assoc. prof. Zita Kriaučiūnienė presented agro-, forest- and aquatic ecosystem research infrastructures, laboratory equipment and research and project activities in VMU Agriculture Academy, and the director of LAMMC dr. Gintaras Brazauskas in the Lithuanian Agriculture and Forestry Sciences Center.
Communication with foreign partners is very important to increase the awareness and quality of research. The conference, even in a pandemic, took place and was successful. It is hoped that the experience gained by organizing an international scientific conference virtually will be useful in the future, but wishing that at the AgroEco2022 conference we would have the opportunity to meet live in our nice academic campus and in a wonderful country – Lithuania!
Assoc. prof. Zita Kriaučiūnienė and prof. Vaclovas Bogužas