A. Aguiar, A. Melo, C. Mansilha, I. Ferreira
In NW of Portugal, the region between Esposende and Vila do Conde was established into a unique system called masseiras; masseiras are small fields that were created at the beginning of 20th century by removing sand from dunes. Since the 80’s sand between closed masseiras has been removed giving way for larger fields, the “enlarged masseira with greenhouses”. This region is part of vulnerable zone nº1 (VZ1). Nowadays, the masseiras have almost disappeared; they had been replaced by “enlarged masseiras with plastic greenhouses” exploited by a new generation of growers. As water quality is an indicator of agriculture practices, 8 wells were selected and water samples were collected on four dates from September 2009 to May 2010. Laboratorial analysis was performed on nitrates and 28 pesticides. The results confirm that water in VZ1 is contaminated with nitrates (as it was expected) and also with pesticides. The water was contaminated in both dug wells and drilled wells all year round. Masseiras’ wells have more nitrates than greenhouses’ wells, probably due to poor agricultural practices used by growers who still employ high quantities of fertilizers and water. Pesticides detected in water samples include some that have been sprayed in the field and others that have not. Some forbidden substances were found. Our results confirm that, in VZ1, there is a diffusion contamination, which origin is unknown. In this communication, we put in picture the history of masseiras fields: how masseiras fields have been created and how they have disappeared; what trends exist in pest management strategies and the use of fertilizers, pesticides and water resources. These results reinforce the need to change the agricultural system in this region of traditional vegetable production.
Aguiar, A., Melo, A., Mansilha, C. and Ferreira, I. (2012). VEGETABLES PRODUCTION IN NW PORTUGAL, AGRICULTURE PRACTICES AND GROUNDWATER QUALITY . Acta Hortic. 936, 61-70
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2012.936.6
landscape, water, vulnerable, pesticide, nitrate, well, agriculture

Acta Horticulturae