Knowledge gaps on how to adapt crop production under changing saline circumstances in the Netherlands

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Salinization, the increase and accumulation of salts in water and soil, impacts productivity of arable crops and is exacerbated by climate change. The Netherlands, like several other deltas and semi-arid regions, faces increasing salinization that negatively impacts agriculture and freshwater availability. Although a lot of salinity expertise exist in the Netherlands, several knowledge gaps on the impact of salinization in the Netherlands, as well as steps to facilitate closing this knowledge gaps to improve saline agriculture in the Netherlands, still exist. This review/opinion article moves beyond existing papers on salinization in bringing together various adaptation measures by thoroughly reviewing the measures through a triple P (People, Planet, Profit) lens. Five main salinity adaptation measures of the crop-soil-water continuum are 1) breeding and selection of salt tolerant varieties, 2) increased cultivation of halophytes, 3) soil management interventions, 4) use of biostimulants, and 5) irrigation techniques. These adaptation measures are described, discussed and analysed for their compliance to the sustainable development elements People, Planet and Profit. All five adaptation measures have potential positive impact on livelihood, contribute to food security and generate revenue but on the other hand, these measures may contribute to unwarranted changes of the ecosystem. The paper ends with a concluding chapter in which the bottlenecks and knowledge gaps that need resolving are identified based on the critical, including triple P, assessment of the discussed adaptation measures. Three key knowledge gaps on breeding, agronomy, environmental sciences and socioeconomics are identified with several approaches that lead to insights elucidated. Thereby informing on future research and action plans to optimize implementation of salinity adaptation measures in the Netherlands
Original languageEnglish
Article number170118
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2024


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