publications

You can download several academic publications related to the use and management of woody amendments in semi-arid West Africa here-below:

  • Use and management of biodiversity by smallholder farmers in semi-arid West Africa (review) Biodiversity use and management in dryland ecosystems of West Africa provides opportunities for novel food production schemes based on local farmer innovations. Soil heterogeneity is a consequence of fertility islands materialized by presence of woody perennials (macro level) and by termite nests (micro level). The contribution of wild edible plants to household nutrition should not be underestimated.
  • Ramial wood amendments (Piliostigma reticulatum) mitigate degradation of tropical soils but do not replenish nutrient exports – 2018 (on-station experiment) Restoring degraded soils to support food production is a major challenge for West African smallholders who have developed local innovations to counter further degradation. The objective of this study was to evaluate a local farmer’s technique that uses ramial wood (RW) as soil amendment (Piliostigma reticulatum shrub). Three treatments were applied in an experimental plot in Burkina Faso: control (no amendment), low RW (3 Mg fresh mass·ha−1·yr−1), and high RW (12 Mg fresh mass·ha−1·yr−1). RW was chipped to <5‐cm pieces and either buried or mulched. Topsoil carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) in control and low‐RW treatments declined after 7 years of continuous sorghum cultivation. Use of high‐RW amendment stabilized soil C content while N and P declined, thus not replenishing nutrient exports. Net contribution to soil C in the layer measuring 0–15 cm was 15% of the applied C in the high‐RW amendments. Although biomass and grain yields were higher in high‐RW treatments, crop productivity declined throughout the experiment for all treatments. Termite casts on RW treatments evidenced the potential role of wood‐foraging termites in diluting the impact of RW on soil fertility build‐up and soil water content. We conclude that mitigating soil degradation under semiarid conditions in Burkina Faso would require large amounts of woody amendments, particularly if the level of termite activity is high. Additional nutrient sources would be needed to compensate for removal in exported products so that biomass and grain production can be stabilized or increased.
  • Agroecology as a vehicule for contributive justice – 2015
    Recently published, Timmermann & Félix (2015) present arguments for the benefits of labour-intensive and creativity-enhancing types of agriculture. Contributive justice demands a work environment where people are stimulated to develop skills and learn to be productive. It also suggests a fairer distribution of meaningful work and tedious tasks. Building on the notion of contributive justice authors explore which capabilities and types of social relationships are sustainably promoted and reinforced by agroecological farming practices. Authors argue that agroecological principles encourage a reconceptualization of farm work. Farmers are continuously stimulated to develop skills and acquire valuable experiential knowledge on local ecosystems and agricultural techniques. Although not necessarily directly linked to the woody amendments subject, this article is part of our reflection within the WASSA project and its implication for the development of sustainable world farming systems. Please find the full published article in Agriculture & Human Values Journal (Springer) or downlaod the freely-available post-print version (full text) on Academia.

 

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