Export file:

Format

  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text

Content

  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

Soil and water conservation on Central American hillsides: if more technologies is the answer, what is the question?

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), El Batán, Texcoco, Mexico

Special Editions: Land Management Practices for Soil Conservation in Climate Change Scenarios

Climate change is likely to lead to increased water scarcity in the coming decades and to changes in patterns of precipitation. The result will be more short-term crop failures and long-term production declines. Improved soil management is key to climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. There is growing interest in the promotion of climate smart agricultural practices. Many of these are the same practices that were promoted in the 1980s and 1990s under the guise of soil and water conservation. Farmer non-adoption of soil conservation technologies was rife and suggests that different approaches are needed today. Much can be learnt from these past endeavors to ensure that current efforts are better designed and implemented. We use the example of Central America to highlight some of these lessons and suggest alternative ways forward. Technology per se is not the limiting factor; many suitable technologies and practices are extant. What is required is a more nuanced approach to soil conservation efforts. There is a need to focus less on capturing soil once it has been eroded, via the use of cross-slope soil conservation practices, and more on improving soil quality of the soil that remains through improved soil cover. It is also critical to understand farming systems as a whole i.e. the full range of interlinked activities and the multiplicity of goals that farm households pursue. Furthermore, it is important to engage farmers as active players in conservation efforts rather than passive adopters of technologies, and to adopt a board value chain approach and engage a plethora of value chain actors (researchers, extension agents, equipment manufacturers, input suppliers, farmers, traders, and processors) in an agricultural innovation system.
  Figure/Table
  Supplementary
  Article Metrics

Keywords Central America; soil conservation; climate change; farming systems; farmer participation; agricultural innovation systems

Citation: Jon Hellin, Santiago López Ridaura. Soil and water conservation on Central American hillsides: if more technologies is the answer, what is the question?. AIMS Agriculture and Food, 2016, 1(2): 194-207. doi: 10.3934/agrfood.2016.2.194

References

  • 1. Lobell D, Burke M, Tebaldi C, et al. (2008) Prioritizing climate change adaptation needs for food security in 2030. Science 319: 607-610.    
  • 2. Brown ME, Funk CC (2008) Food security under climate change. Science 319: 580-581.    
  • 3. Warner K (2010) Global environmental change and migration: Governance challenges. Global Environ Chang 20: 402-413.    
  • 4. Adger WN, Agrawala S, Mirza M, et al. (2007). Assessment of adaptation practices, options, constraints and capacity. In Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, et al. (eds.) Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability (contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • 5. Beddington JR, Asaduzzaman M, Clark ME, et al. (2012) The role for scientists in tackling food insecurity and climate change. Agric Food Secur 1: 10.    
  • 6. Schwilch G, Hessel R, Verzandvoort S (eds) (2012) Desire for Greener Land. Options for Sustainable Land Management in Drylands. CDE, Alterra, ISRIC, CTA: Bern, Switzerland, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
  • 7. FAO, Organizacion de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentacion y la Agricultura (2014) Sistematizacion de practicas de conservacion de suelos y aguas con enfoque de adaptacion al cambio climatico. Metodologia basada en WOCAT para America Latina y el Caribe. Santiago, Chile, 123.
  • 8. Scherr SJ, Yadav S (1996) Land Degradation in the Developing World: Implications for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment to 2020. Food, Agriculture, and the Environment Discussion Paper 14, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington D.C., USA.
  • 9. Hellin J, Schrader K (2003) The case against direct incentives and the search for alternative approaches to better land management in Central America. Agric Ecosyst Environ 99: 61-81.    
  • 10. Stocking M (1995) Soil erosion and land degradation. In: O’Riordan, T. (ed.). Environmental Science for Environmental Management. Longman, Harlow, UK. 223-242.
  • 11. Oldeman LR (1994) The global extent of soil degradation. In: Greenwood, DJ, Szabolcs I (eds.) Soil Resilience and Sustainable Land Use. CAB International, Wallingford, UK. 99-118.
  • 12. Sheng TC (1990) Runoff plots and erosion phenomena on tropical steeplands. In: Ziemer RR, O’Loughlin CL, Hamilton S (eds.) Research Needs and Applications to Reduce Erosion and Sedimentation in Tropical Steeplands. International Association of Hydrological Sciences Publication No. 192. 154-161.
  • 13. Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura (IICA) and La Dirección de Planeamiento, Programación, Proyectos y Auditoría Técnica (DIPRAT). (1995) Honduras - Diagnóstico del Sector Agropecuario. IICA, San José, Costa Rica.
  • 14. Hudson NW (1995) Soil Conservation. B.T. Batsford Limited, London, UK.
  • 15. Magrin G, Gay García C, Cruz Choque D, et al. (2007) Latin America. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof, JP et al. Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 581-615.
  • 16. Neelin JD, Munnich M, Su H, et al. (2006) Tropical drying trends in global warming models and observations. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103: 6110-6115.    
  • 17. Jones P, Thornton P (2003) The potential impacts of climate change on maize production in Africa and Latin America in 2055. Glob Environ Chang 13: 51-59.    
  • 18. Knowler D, Bradshaw B (2007). Farmers’ adoption of conservation agriculture: A review and synthesis of recent research. Food Policy 32: 25-48.    
  • 19. Baudron F, Anderson J, Corbeels M, et al. (2011) Failing to Yield? Ploughs, conservation agriculture and the problem of agricultural intensification: An example from the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe. J Dev Stud 48: 393-412.
  • 20. Marques MG, Schwilch N, Lauterburg S, et al. (2016) Multifaceted Impacts of Sustainable Land Management in Drylands: A Review. Sustainability 8: 177.    
  • 21. Ovalle C (2012) Dissemination of soil conservation technologies in dryland areas. In Schwilch, G., Hessel, R., Verzandvoort, S., (eds.) Desire for Greener Land. Options for Sustainable Land Management in Drylands. CDE, Alterra, ISRIC, CTA: Bern, Switzerland, Wageningen, The Netherlands. 197-200.
  • 22. Douglas MG (1993) Making conservation farmer-friendly. In: Hudson NW, Cheatle R. (eds.). Working with Farmers for Better Land Husbandry. Intermediate Technology Publications, London, UK. 4-15.
  • 23. Bunch R (2003) Adoption of green manure and cover crops. LEISA 19: 16-18.
  • 24. Norman D, Douglas M (1994) Farming Systems Development and Soil Conservation. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
  • 25. Thierfelder C, Chisui J, Gama M, et al. (2013) Maize-based conservation agriculture systems in Malawi: Long-term trends in productivity. Field Crops Res 142: 45-57.
  • 26. Zimmerer K (1993) Soil erosion and labor shortages in the Andes with special reference to Bolivia, 1953-91: Implications for “conservation-with-development’. World Dev 21: 1659-1675.
  • 27. Giller KE, Witter E, Corbeels M, et al. (2009) Conservation agriculture and smallholder farming in Africa: The heretics’ view. Field Crops Res 114: 23-34.    
  • 28. Kassam A, Friedrich T, Shaxson TF, et al. (2009) The spread of conservation agriculture: Justification, sustainability and uptake. Int J Agric Sustain 7: 292-320.    
  • 29. Shaxson TF (1999) New Concepts and Approaches to Land Management in the Tropics with Emphasis on Steeplands. Soils Bulletin 75, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy
  • 30. Bunch R (1982) Two Ears of Corn: A Guide to People-Centered Agriculture. World Neighbors, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
  • 31. Lutz E, Pagiola S, Reiche C (1994) The costs and benefits of soil conservation: the farmers’ viewpoint. World Bank Res Obs 9: 273-295.    
  • 32. Shaxson TF, Hudson NW, Sanders DW, et al. (1989) Land Husbandry: A Framework for Soil and Water Conservation. Soil and Water Conservation Society and The World Association of Soil and Water Conservation, Ankeny, Iowa, USA.
  • 33. Shaxson TF, Barber R (2003) Optimizing Soil moisture for Plant Production. Soils Bulletin 79, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
  • 34. Shaxson TF (2004) Think like a root: the land husbandry context for conservation of water and soil. Submission to FAO e-conference on Drought Resistant Soils: Optimization of Soil Moisture for Sustainable Plant Production, November-December, 2004.
  • 35. Stocking M (1994) Assessing vegetative cover and management effects. In: Lal R (ed.). Soil Erosion Research Methods. Soil and Water Conservation Society, Ankeny Iowa and St. Lucie Press, Florida, USA. 211-232.
  • 36. Erenstein O (2003) Smallholder conservation farming in the tropics and sub-tropics: a guide to the development and dissemination of mulching with crop residues and cover crops. Agric Ecosyst Environ 100: 17-37.    
  • 37. Eilittä M, Sollenberger LE, Little RC, et al. (2003) On-farm experiments with maize-mucuna systems in the Los Tuxtlas region of Veracruz, Mexico. I. Mucuna biomass and maize grain yield. Exp Agric 39: 5-17.
  • 38. Kass DCL, Foletti C, Szott LT, et al. (1993) Traditional fallow systems of the Americas. Agrofor Syst 23: 207-218    
  • 39. Hellin J, Welchez L, Cherrett I (1999) The Quezungual System: an indigenous agroforestry system from western Honduras. Agrofor Syst 46: 229-237.    
  • 40. Valbuena D, Lopez-Ridaura S, Wijk MT, et al. (2015) Food security, income and agriculture in the new ruralities of Central America. In Gritti, E.S., Wery, J. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium for farming Systems Design (FSD5) - Multi-functional Farming Systems in a Changing World. European Society of Economy (ESA) and Agropolis International, Montpellier, France, 79-80.
  • 41. Astier M, Speelman EN, Lopez-Ridaura S, et al. (2011) Sustainability indicators, alternative strategies and trade-offs in peasant agro-ecosystems: analyzing 15 case studies from Latin America. Int J Agric Sustain 9: 409-422.    
  • 42. Tittonell P, Vanlauwe B, Leffelaar P, et al. (2005) Exploring diversity in soil fertility management of smallholder farms in western Kenya: I. Heterogeneity at region and farm scale. Agric Ecosyst Environ 110: 149-165.
  • 43. López-Ridaura S, Masera O, Astier M (2002) Evaluating the sustainability of complex socio-environmental systems. The MESMIS framework. Ecol Indic 2: 135-148    
  • 44. Sumberg J, Okali C, Reece D (2003) Agricultural research in the face of diversity, local knowledge and the participation imperative: Theoretical considerations. Agric Syst 76: 739-753.    
  • 45. Chambers R (1993) Sustainable small farm development - frontiers in participation. In: Hudson NW, Cheatle R. (eds.). Working with Farmers for Better Land Husbandry. Intermediate Technology Publications, London, UK. 96-101.
  • 46. Pretty JN (1995) Regenerating Agriculture: Policies and Practice for Sustainability and Self-Reliance. Earthscan Publications Ltd, London, UK.
  • 47. Hallsworth EG (1987) Anatomy, Physiology and Psychology of Erosion. The International Federation of Institutes of Advanced Study. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, UK.
  • 48. Ortiz R, Alonzo S, Hellin J, et al. (2015) Comunidades adaptadas al cambio climático, un modelo de adaptación local exitoso en la conservación de los suelos, los bosques y los materiales genéticos. EnlACe 28: 42-46.
  • 49. Hellin J, Larrea S (1998) Ecological and socio-economic reasons for the adoption and adaptation of live barriers in Güinope, Honduras. In: Blume H.-P, Eger H, Fleischhauer E, et al. (eds.). Towards Sustainable Land Use: Furthering Cooperation between People and Institutions. Selected papers of the 9th conference of the International Soil Conservation Organisation, Bonn, Germany.
  • 50. Muyanga M, Jayne TS (2008) Private agricultural extension system in Kenya: Practice and policy lessons. J Agric Educ Ext 14: 111-124.    
  • 51. Eakin H, Lemos MC (2006) Adaptation and the state: Latin America and the challenge of capacity-building under globalization. Glob Environ Chang 16: 7-18.    
  • 52. Thornton PK, Jones PG, Alagarswamy G, et al. (2009) Spatial variation of crop yield response to climate change in East Africa. Glob Environ Chang 19: 54-65.    
  • 53. Hall A, Mytelka L, Oyeyinka B (2005) Innovation systems: Implications for agricultural policy and practice. ILAC Brief 2. Rome: IPGRI.
  • 54. Spielman DJ, Ekboir J, Davis K, et al. (2008) An innovation systems perspective on strengthening agricultural education and training in sub-Saharan Africa. Agric Syst 98: 1-9.    

 

This article has been cited by

  • 1. Celia A. Harvey, M. Ruth Martínez-Rodríguez, José Mario Cárdenas', Jacques Avelino, Bruno Rapidel, Raffaele Vignola, Camila I. Donatti, Sergio Vilchez-Mendoza, The use of Ecosystem-based Adaptation practices by smallholder farmers in Central America, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 2017, 246, 279, 10.1016/j.agee.2017.04.018
  • 2. Celia A. Harvey, Milagro Saborio-Rodríguez, M. Ruth Martinez-Rodríguez, Barbara Viguera, Adina Chain-Guadarrama, Raffaele Vignola, Francisco Alpizar, Climate change impacts and adaptation among smallholder farmers in Central America, Agriculture & Food Security, 2018, 7, 1, 10.1186/s40066-018-0209-x
  • 3. Sarah E. Eichler Inwood, Virginia H. Dale, State of apps targeting management for sustainability of agricultural landscapes. A review, Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 2019, 39, 1, 10.1007/s13593-018-0549-8
  • 4. Jon Hellin, Eleanor Fisher, Climate-Smart Agriculture and Non-Agricultural Livelihood Transformation, Climate, 2019, 7, 4, 48, 10.3390/cli7040048
  • 5. Santiago Lopez-Ridaura, Luis Barba-Escoto, Cristian Reyna, Jon Hellin, Bruno Gerard, Mark van Wijk, Food security and agriculture in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, Food Security, 2019, 10.1007/s12571-019-00940-z

Reader Comments

your name: *   your email: *  

Copyright Info: 2016, Jon Hellin, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved