By reconstructing the nutrient balance of a Catalan village circa 1861-65 we examine the sustainability of organic agricultural systems in the northwest Mediterranean bioregion prior to the green revolution and the question of whether the nutrients extracted from the soil were replenished. With a population density of 59 inhabitants per square km, similar to other northern European rural areas at that time, and a lower livestock density per cropland unit, this village experienced a manure shortage. The gap was filled by other labour-intensive ways of transferring nutrients from uncultivated areas into the cropland. Key elements in this agricultural system were vineyards because they have few nutrient requirements, and woodland and scrublands as sources of relevant amounts of nutrients collected in several ways. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
- Agricultural sustainability
- Fertilizing methods
- Nutrient balance
- Past organic agricultural systems