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A novel method of land zonation to improve olive farming and oil quality
- Cantini, C., Ceccarelli, T.
- Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1199 pp. 309-314
- Olea europaea, altitude, bioclimatic indexes, chemical analysis, climate, data collection, frost, models, olive oil, olives, phenology, rain, risk, soil quality, solar radiation, temperature, weather stations, Italy
- In this work, we propose a new method of zonation to be applied in olive growing. For the study, we used as a model the area of the Consorzio Chianti Classico, in the region of Tuscany, Italy, accounting for around 330,000 olive trees. Climate was investigated on the basis of daily data using rainfall and temperature detected over a 20-year period (1993-2012) from 18 weather stations within the area. The climatic data were integrated with other environmental information such as altitude, soil quality, slope and erosion, solar radiation and risk of frost. Using the entire dataset, several bioclimatic indices related to specific olive needs and phenology were calculated. From this pool of biophysical variables and indexes, a smaller number of variables was finally statistically selected. Suitability for olive cultivation and hence as zonation criteria were defined by targeting the objective of improving the quality of olive oil production as well as the general growing conditions of the plants. Four different schemes of zonation were proposed. Chemical analysis of 765 oil samples produced in the 2003-2010 period was carried out both to analyse the influence of each environmental variable on quality and to validate the zonation scheme.