Rotations for sustainable production in Bedfordshire, UK

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The Colworth Farm Project in Bedfordshire, UK, is part of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative of the consumer goods company Unilever. From 1999 to 2006, a 60-ha section of the farm was used as an experimental station. The aim of the project was to develop sustainable production systems for peas and oilseed rape within a six-year […]

Landscape scale coordination to promote functional biodiversity for pest regulation in Belgium

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The SOLABIO project brought together 27 stakeholders from Flemish and Dutch provinces to prevent loss of biodiveristy and the degradation of valuable landscapes, through a wide range of activities. These included: targeting crop and non-crop habitats, including the establishment of field margins; planting of annual flower strips to attract natural enemies and pollinators, and grassy […]

Silvics as a strategy to maintain and enhance adaptive capacity of forest trees

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Enhancing the adaptive capacity of natural and planted forests is important to decrease the vulnerability of those whose livelihoods depend on forest goods and services. Management for adaptation also helps to reinforce the role of tropical forests in climate change mitigation through sequestration, whereas large scale die-offs of poorly adapted forest trees could actually shift […]

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 […]

Cover Crops in Hillside Agriculture: Farmer Innovation with Mucuna

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Cover crops have received considerable attention as a approach in increasing productivity and sustainability in agricultural systems in the developing world. The velvetbean (Mucuna pruriens) is particularly important amongst cover crops because it is widely planted, reasonably tolerant to a number of stresses, prolific in its leaf litter, and even used as a minor crop, despite […]

Cover Crops and Green Manure Boosts Maize Yields

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In Santa Catarina, Brazil, extension service EPAGRI works with more than 38000  farmers to improve soil and water conservation in over 60 micro-watersheds using contour grass barriers, contour ploughing and green manures. Sixty different cover crop species have been tested, including leguminous plants (velvetbean, jackbean, lablab, cowpeas, vetches, crotalarias) and non-legumes (oats, turnips). These are […]

Benefits from multiple cropping systems

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In most multiple cropping systems developed by smallholders, productivity in terms of harvestable products per unit area is higher than under sole cropping with the same level of management (Francis, 1986). Yield advantages can range from 20 to 60% and accrue due to reduction of pest incidence and more efficient use of nutrients, water and […]

Reviving an Ancient Irrigation System in Bolivia

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In the 1960s, archaeologists revealed an ancient agricultural system, developed by a pre-Inca civilisation, which not only coped with environmental challenges such as flooding and drought, but also improved soil fertility and productivity. Elevated fields of up to two metres high, known as camellones, are constructed to be above the height of floodwaters, and are surrounded […]

Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System

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Less than twenty years ago, the practice of slash-and-burn agriculture had led to degraded soils, water scarcity and declining crop yields. Now, the soil, the trees and the water resources have been restored by introducing a new system which draws on an early practice of tree management discovered in the area. Known as the Quesungual […]

Strengthening Adaptation and Livelihood Resilience

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The Action Research project aiming at reducing vulnerability and enhancing adaptive capacity of community residing in flood prone area is the regions of Gorakhpur and Maharaj Ganj in India. The Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group identifies sustainable livelihoods as the prime need of small and marginalised farmers, the landless and the women farmers. It seeks to […]