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 […]

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 […]

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) […]

Wheat genetic diversity decreases production risk on degraded lands

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Ethiopia is a centre of diversity for durum wheat, and farmers manage a high range of varieties in their plots. In the Tigray region, which is susceptible to drought, variable precipitation and land degradation, varietal richness in wheat fields is demonstrated to increase farm productivity, and reduce yield variability, especially for very high levels of […]

Coping Mechanisms of Dryland Farmers in Tamil Nadu India

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In the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu, India, dryland farmers are highly vulnerable to frequent droughts as well as other climatic factors. Ninety farmers were surveyed to determine the different factors influencing the adoption of different coping mechanisms by dryland farmers. Farmers reported reduced yields and revenue linked, as well as quick evaporation of soil […]

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 […]

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 […]