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Title: Conservation Agriculture; laying the ground for increased drought resilience
Authors: Govaerts, Bram
Verhulst, Nele
Sayre, Ken D. #
Issue Date: 2009
Host Document: Book of Abstracts Interdrought III The 3rd International Conference on Integrated Approaches to Improve Crop production Under Drougt-Prone Environments
Conference: Interdrought III International Conference on Integrated Approaches to Improve Crop production Under Drougt-Prone Environments edition:3 location:Shangai Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Shanghai Agrobiological Gene Center. Shangai, China date:11-16 October 2009
Abstract: The overall impacts predicted by climate change models vary, but we are now locked into global warming and inevitable changes to climatic patterns that are likely to exacerbate existing rainfall variability and further increase the frequency of climatic extremes and drought. Improving food security, environmental preservation and sustainability and enhancing livelihood should therefore be the main targets of the innovators of today’s farming systems. New agricultural practices for delivery to farmers also need to improve system resilience through increased soil organic matter, improved water use efficiency, nutrient use efficiency, and increased flora and fauna biodiversity. Conservation agriculture (CA), based on minimal soil disturbance, adequate levels of ground cover by crop residues and crop rotations is a management system that achieves these goals; it results in improved soil physical and biological health, better nutrient cycling and crop growth. CA also increases water infiltration, reduces soil moisture evaporation and enhances soil penetration by roots allowing crops to better adapt to lower rainfall and make better use of the available water (both from rain and) irrigation. Water and wind erosion is also reduced by CA since the soil surface is protected and water runoff is lowered as more water enters the soil profile. CA therefore results in soils and production systems more resilient to climate variation, risk and drought. CA is creating a basis on which other important management components like disease and pest resistant varieties and improved nutrient management can be fully expressed. Integrated research and farmer participatory extension is needed to fine tune CA to specific locations and identify suitable germplasm, fertility management, weed and other biotic constraints control to convince farmers to adopt these CA-based technologies. This presentation will provide results related to the above from long-term trials (>15y) comparing different management practices in different agro-ecological zones in Mexico.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Division Soil and Water Management
# (joint) last author

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