Evaluation of generic farming conditions in Eastern Lithuania
Keywords: attitude survey, Eastern Lithuania, farming conditions, hilly terrain, natural handicaps, soil erosion
AbstractAgricultural experts’ perception and knowledge towards farming conditions and natural agro-environmental problems are important to develop a sustainable rural strategy and may serve when planning land use in sloping agricultural areas to avoid land abandonment. The objective of investigations was to analyze the attitudes of agricultural experts in the Eastern Lithuania region towards the state of the generic agrarian sector, soil erosion processes and natural handicaps. Replies of respondents indicated that the means (the Likert Scale) of the evaluation towards the items “Soil quality”, “Agricultural sector development” and “Land suitability for generic agricultural activity” were 2.68, 3.11 and 2.73, respectively. The evaluations indicating that the mean score perceived by respondents towards impact of soil erosion on common farming activity in the region was 2.63. A questionnaire study showed that respondents recognized that the impact of terrain and soil texture factors on the potential of soil erosion processes is the highest in the region, thus the factor of soil type has been evaluated as the least important. The most frequently noticed topographical parameter of the terrain influencing the intensity of soil erosion was slope steepness (63.1% of respondents), followed by slope aspect (21.1%) and length (15.8%). Hilly terrain and soil acidity constraints by frequency 24.5 and 18.9%, respectively, have showed the most important attitude of respondents, in the content of the natural handicaps limiting successful farming activity in the region. However, the study disclosed that unfavourable climate conditions and soil cover diversity were the two least crucial natural constraints for farming. These empirical findings intended to bring benefits and can help in decision-making framework in order to decide the best soil conservation measures and improving farming conditions in agricultural areas under natural handicaps.