Optimising water use and soil carbon sequestration - can agricultural co-cropping systems provide multiple benefits to address climate change?
Oludare Durodola is a Hydro Nation scholar and a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen and the James Hutton Institute.
Despite the potentials of agricultural co-cropping systems (known as intercrops in some contexts) in improving yields, enhanced water use, and other multiple benefits (e.g. biodiversity, soil health), it is still considered experimental and not yet widely practiced in Scotland. Therefore, there is a need to study the role of water availability on competitive water use between co-existing crops and how this interacts with soil carbon. The degree to which complementary resource use (e.g. water uptake from different soil depths) occurs is controlled by factors including climate, resource availability, plant traits and management practices. The success of co-cropping systems therefore depends on hydrological, eco-physiological and biogeochemical interlinkages via plant-soil-water interactions. Associated water and carbon cycles are tightly coupled, but they are mostly studied in isolation, so that feedbacks and thresholds are poorly understood. This research focuses on disentangling these interactions to gain a better understanding of the processes underlying optimal co-cropping systems for multiple benefits, including water use and carbon sequestration in Scotland and globally in the face of climate change.
Oludare obtained a MSc in Water Engineering at Pan African University and Abou Bekr Belkaid University, Algeria and a B.Tech (Hons) in Agricultural Engineering at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria. Previously, Oludare worked as a water management consultant at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Italy where he supported the development of different project proposals. Furthermore, he has experience as a site engineer and worked as a teaching and research assistant at Federal University Dutsinma Katsina, Nigeria.
Through this PhD research, Oludare aims to develop a decision support framework for selecting appropriate crop combinations for sustainable water management and carbon sequestration while putting Scotland at the forefront of innovation for novel agricultural systems in mitigating and adapting to climate change.