Title: How the soil moves upward in the olive orchards of NW Syria: sustainability analysis of a local innovation
Authors: Colen, Liesbeth ×
Turkelboom, Francis
Van Steenwinkel, Sarah
Al Ahmed, Kasem
Deckers, Jozef
Poesen, Jean #
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Series Title: Land Degradation & Development vol:27 issue:2 pages:416-426
Abstract: This paper analyses a local innovation in response to intense soil degradation in olive orchards of north-west Syria. Farmers developed a practice consisting of quarrying red clayey soil in valley bottoms and applying this soil to hillslope olive orchards with heavily degraded calcareous soils. A biophysical, economic and social analysis of the practice of soil application identified the opportunities and risks of this innovative soil management technique. On the basis of a pairwise comparison of nine adjacent treated and nontreated orchard plots, soil applications were found to increase soil depth by 36%, soil water availability by 28% and total available soil nutrients: potassium (+45%), nitrogen (+12%) and phosphorus (+6%). Olive yield increased by about 40%. A cost–benefit analysis found this practice to be economically viable within a large geographical area, and farmers scored the practice higher than alternative methods. A socio-economic analysis revealed its widespread adoption among different farmer types. The positive results of soil applications at the farm level explain its fast adoption. However, potential risks – including the further depletion of soil resources and the transfer of soil-borne diseases – limit the long-term sustainability of this locally developed practice.
ISSN: 1085-3278
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Research Center of Development Economics, Leuven
LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, Leuven
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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