Where there’s European rice, nature smiles
In Europe, rice growing is in harmony with the environment.
Though the result of human intervention, the ecosystems created by paddy fields respect nature, and comply with the strict European regulations on environmental protection. Paddy fields are agricultural lands that accumulate and release water, allowing the rice plants to grow and develop, and guaranteeing a perfect balance of the water cycle, from source through to mountains and lakes, and all the way down to the sea.. This symbiosis with water, unique to rice cultivation, thus creates a landscape of great value, in which biodiversity thrives.
Sustainable agriculture, just like in the past
The use of sustainable agricultural techniques protects the habitats of numerous animal and plant species, and preserves the ecological balance of wetlands, which have always been a key factor in the fight against climate change.
Rice paddy fields are functional ecosystems for the life and reproduction of a rich and complex fauna, composed of insects, crustaceans, molluscs, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, which all find their habitat in the vast expanses of water formed when the ground is flooded in spring.
Catch crops, the use of green manure and the winter submersion of the land are all part of a conservative agriculture that promotes the fertility of the land and enriches it with organic substances.
Green manuring is a very simple, traditional technique which consists in sowing fertilizing crops, between one rice season and the next, which are then buried in the soil. This practice is used whenever it is possible.
These are particular techniques of fertilization and land management that really make the difference in terms of sustainability. Inherited from traditional agriculture, they allow us to avoid other actions that would otherwise have an overall negative impact on the environment.
Keeping the land fertile in this way meets the needs of protecting the environment, because it reduces the use of chemical fertilizers, which is indisputably beneficial for the land, and, particularly, the waterways used for rice cultivation.
Rice cultivation is a cultivation in complete harmony with water
Rice fields are good for environmental sustainability because they use water resources with utmost care. Once the water used to submerge the crops has performed its function, it is fed back into the organized system of rivers and canals totally free of residues that may be toxic for the environment.
European rice cultivation, an ally in fighting climate change
Thanks to innovation and research, it has been possible to modernize traditional farming systems without depriving them of their vocation for sustainability.
In recognition of their environmental quality, the ecosystems of rice-growing areas are an integral part of the European Natura 2000 environmental protection network.
Furthermore, the European Union considers rice as an agricultural crop that does not need to be subjected to surface area restrictions, because it already respects extremely strict environmental parameters.
The European Union has always recognized the environmental value of rice cultivation thanks to its close connection with the aquatic environment that allows it to create an authentic agro-ecosystem. For this reason, rice growers have always enjoyed simplifications in the fulfilment of environmental standards imposed on other crops, such as crop rotation and diversification obligations.
Moreover, rice growing plays a fundamental role in the conservation of cultivated land near the mouths of European rivers.
Indeed, in these areas, submersion of the paddy fields makes it possible to prevent contamination of the soil by the salt in sea water, thus preventing the loss of farmable land.
Rice is cultivated in total balance with the environment, with agriculture, with breeding and grazing, with human intervention, and with the natural balance of soils and fauna and flora ecosystems.
This harmony promotes the protection and economic growth of rural areas, and offers valid and effective solutions in the fight against climate change.