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 […]

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 […]

Utilizing functional agrobiodiversity for pest control in the Netherlands

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The Hoeksche Waard is a 26,500 ha area of polder south of the city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands.The main objective of farmers is to become less dependent on the use of (synthetic) insecticides by strength- ening the ecosystem service of pest control. To this end, annual and perennial field margins have been established, scouting of […]

Adoption of sweet potato for food and feed in mixed crop-livestock systems

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Mixed crop–livestock systems have a crucial role to play in meeting the agricultural production chal- lenges of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Sweet potato is seen as a potential remedial crop for these farmers because of its high productivity and low input requirements, while its usefulness for both food and feed (dual-purpose) make it attractive […]

Functional diversity in Mango Orchards on Reunion

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The knowledge of factors implicated in agroecosystem diversity is necessary to better evaluate their role. The study aims to link within-field plant diversity, cultural practices, and landscape context with terrestrial predatory arthropods in mango orchards on Reunion. Twenty-four plots distributed within the mango production area have been studied. Arthropods were sampled with pitfall traps. The […]

Productivity higher in species mixtures on tropical plantations

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At the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica, some species demonstrated signficantly faster growth in mixtures than as monocultures. For instance, Jacaranda copaia, Vochysia guatemalensis and Calophyllum brasiliense produced 21% more merchantable volume as a mixture than a sole monoculture of J. copaia, the fastest growing of the three species. Similarly, Dipteryx panamensis, Virola koschnyi and Terminalia amazonia mixtures demonstrated growth […]

Higher productivity in mixed-species forest plantations

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The vast majority of the world’s forest plantations are monocultures, many consisting of just a few common and widespread genera such as Eucalyptus, Pinus, Acacia, Tectona, Picea, Pseudotsuga, Swietenia, Gmelina the most important. There are potential advantages to using species mixtures rather than the more conventional monoculture approach in forest plantations, provided they are carefully designed […]

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 […]

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 […]

Shifting from cattle ranching to Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems in Amazonia

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A grazing system based on one species (Brachiaria brizantha, representing 90% of sown grass in Amazoni)  with Nelore zebu cattle, is adapted to marginal regions with little need for inputs, but income per hectare remains low. Integrated Crop and Livestock Systems in Amazonia can generate higher income per ha and stop deforestation. The system, which involves […]