Soils play a critical role in a number of key ecosystem services, including nutrient cycling, food production, availability of surface and well water, and climate regulation. However, in many parts of the world, long-term soil degradation is compromising these services. Parts of sub-Saharan Africa have been especially susceptible to soil degradation, which negatively affects agricultural productivity and sustainability, and ultimately smallholder food and economic security.
But all is not lost! There are biologically-based principles and alternative management techniques that can help rebuild soil health at the farm-level, which could lead to more stable yields and resilient agricultural systems. But what are the constraints within which smallholders are operating, and what agro-ecological principles and technologies might be most appropriate given these constraints? And if we want to use new approaches for improving soil health and smallholder resilience, what other systems and scales might we need to consider in order to be most effective?
This talk with Dr. Sieglinde Snapp (MSU) and Dr. Geoff Heinrich (CRS) -- with opening remarks from USAID's Dr. Jerry Glover -- was not to be missed. The presenters covered the above questions and more based on their work in eastern and southern Africa. Remember to continue checking out Agrilinks this month as we wrap-up the International Year of Soils with lots of great, new content!
Michigan State University