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 […]

Diversity in grasslands promotes temporal stability

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Seven years of data across 82 large plots in a grassland biodiversity experiment was conducted to test the degree to whihc species richness translates into temporal stability measured across different trophic levels, from population to ecosystem. Various ecological functions at different organizational levels were stabilized with increasing plant species richness; many of these functions are […]

Self Sufficiency through Integrated Crop Livestock Systems in Brittany

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In grassland plots, synergies between grasses and legumes benefit biomass production, while grazing animals fulfill three functions; harvest and distribute their own feed; return nutrients to the soil, and help to control weeds, thus minimising mechanical interventions and costs of fuel. Grazing management is the key to the efficiency of this system; the grassland is […]

Reducing Soil Erosion through Agroecology: Plan Sierra

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In the central cordillera of the Dominican Republic, Plan Sierra was implemented in order to improve yields and reduce erosion to ensure the self-sufficiency of small scale farmers and sustainability and development of production systems. The system consisted of several farming methods, including soil and water conservation practicing like terracing, alley cropping, and mulching, use […]

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 […]

Reviving Incan Waru Warus for Upland Crops

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An indigenous Incan system of raised fields evolved in the high plains of the Peruvian Andes about 3000 years ago,. The platforms of soil were surrounded by ditches filled with water, which were able to produce bumper crops even despite the exposure to floods, droughts and frosts at high alititudes.  Terraces minimize risk to drought […]

Changing land management practices and vegetation on the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso

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Cultivation of marginal lands, declining rainfall, and disappearing vegetation led to major declines in yield on the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso. Soil and water conservation techniques resulted in increases in millet and sorghum yields, and the restoration of forage on the landscape to manage livestock semi-intensively, and a rise in ground water tables.

Increasing production with management of organic inputs in Senegal.

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In Senegal, the Rodale institute works with farmers groups to build on traditional knowledge to improve soil quality.  Approaches include integrating livestock and crop rotations into mixed farming systems, water harvesting systems like rock wall contour barriers, trees for windbreaks, and trenches to improve water capacity, and composting.  Through improvements to soil quality and water […]

Increasing Maize Yields with Mucuna Green Manures

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Hundreds of farmers in the north of Honduras are applying velvetbean (Mucuna pruriens) as a source of organic fertilizer.  Application of this method in maize fields has increased crop yields to 3,000kg/ha, more than double the national average. They have also resulted in erosion control and weed suppression, while reducing the costs of land preparation. […]