Drought and grazing intensities affect state changes in Savannas

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Savannas are dynamic environments that are characterized by fluctuations in grass and woody plant biomass as a result of variable rainfall. Herbivores are often insufficient to regulate accumulation of grasses during wet periods, leading to periodic fire regimes that maintain savanna rangelands in open, grassy states. Changes from a grassy to woody state come about […]

High levels of genetic diversity in African poultry

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Chickens represent an important animal genetic resource for improving farmers’ income in Africa. A comparative analysis of the genetic diversity of 472 village chickens across a subset of African countries (Cameroon, Benin, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco, and characterization along 22 markers revealed high heterozygosity for all local populations (0.51 to 0.67) Human settlements, migrations […]

Planting trees for the sustainable management of marginal lands: the case of eucalyptus in Ethiopia

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In northern Ethiopia, eucalyptus is the most commonly observed tree species in community and household woodlots. In an environment suffering from biomass and water shortages, erosion and land degradation, fast growing and resilient eucalyptus perform better than most indigenous tree species. Smallholders show a clear preference for eucalyptus poles, which are useful for farm implements […]

Supporting adaptation by maintaining effective population sizes in agroforestry species

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In smallholder’s farms, evidence has suggested that effective population sizes are lower than they are in natural stands as a result of narrow sampling in seed collection, and ongoing reliance upon the same genetic material for future cultivation, as well as low individual densities, which reduces connectivity and associated pollination and seed dispersal. These effects […]

Germplasm Transfers of Agroforestry Trees for Climate Change Adaptation

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Prosopis africana  is very important for farming and pastoralist communities in the West African Sahel. The species extends from the relatively humid Sudanian and Guinean ecozones in the south to the drier Sahelian ecozone in the north, but it is disappearing in many regions due to overexploitation and the increasingly hotter and drier climate in the region. In the semi-arid West […]

Minor millets provide food security during drought

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The long history of minor millet cultivation and its spread to different regions of the world that are notable for extremely harsh farming conditions generated considerable genetic variability in these crops. Eight minor millet crops grown in different regions of Africa, Asia and Eurasia are finger millet (Eleusine coracana), proso millet (Panicum miliaceum), little millet […]

The contribution of genetic resources and diversity to wheat production in the Punjab of Pakistan

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The effects of wheat genetic diversity and other associated indicators are incorporated into a production-function analysis to estimate the effects on the mean and variance, while controlling for various production inputs in Northern Pakistan.  Variables related to genetic resources and diversity of wheat varieties are monitored in irrigated and rainfed districts between 1979 and 1985. Their […]

Benefits of Tithonia in Western Kenya

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In Western Kenya, about 4000 farmers are enriching their farms with biomass from Tithonia, a wild sunflower that grows abundantly in hedgerows and along roadsides. Tithonia biomass contains high concentrations of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, and decomposes rapidly. This has led to tremendous impacts on yields of maize and other high value crops such as […]

Agroforestry Alternatives and Farmer Profitability

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Agroforestry can provide alternatives to slash and burn agriculture at tropical forest margins in subhumid tropical Africa.  The trade-offs between carbon sequestration and farmer profitability may provide additional options to policy makers. Agroforestry practices can sequester 57Mg C per ha, three times that of croplands or grasslands are able to do. Soil nutrient capital is being […]

Legumes Improve Maize Yields and Income in Semi-Arid Kenya

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A study was conducted by ICRAF to evaluate the effect of annual and perennial legumes on soil fertility, cereal yields and economic returns. The study evaluated six cropping systems: (1) continuous sole maize, (2) maize rotated with short-duration legume, cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp.), (3) maize rotated with long-duration legume, pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan L. Millsp.), (4) […]