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Land use change and climate-smart agriculture in the Sahel

December 8, 2021

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Sahel experienced recurrent drought and famine. Farmers and their development partners reacted to this crisis by developing climate-smart agricultural practices and changes in land use, including water-harvesting techniques to restore degraded land to productivity. In several densely populated parts of the Sahel, farmers began to protect and manage woody species that regenerated naturally on their farmland. Farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) is a foundational practice that produces multiple benefits, such as maintaining or improving soil fertility, which raises crop yields, and increasing the production of tree-based fodder, fruit, and firewood. In Niger’s Maradi and Zinder Regions alone, farmers have applied FMNR practices on 4.2 million hectares. The findings presented in this chapter suggest that the future of agriculture in the Sahel will be largely determined by whether low-income smallholder farmers will manage to improve soil fertility, which will depend on maintaining substantial densities of on-farm trees thus increasing tree cover.

Publication Year 2021
Title Land use change and climate-smart agriculture in the Sahel
DOI 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198816959.013.12
Authors Suzanne E. (Contractor) Cotillon, G. Gray Tappan, Chris Reij
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70249332
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center