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University of Toronto (2010)

Sequential Agroforestry systems for Improving Fuelwood Supply and Crop Yield in Semi-arid Tanzania

Kimaro, Anthony

Titre : Sequential Agroforestry systems for Improving Fuelwood Supply and Crop Yield in Semi-arid Tanzania

Auteur : Kimaro, Anthony

Université de soutenance : University of Toronto

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2010

Présentation
Promotion of agroforestry practices in sub-Sahara Africa may help sustain subsistent food and wood production by integrating trees and crops on farmlands to replenish soil fertility and improve crop yield. Using rotational woodlot and pigeonpea intercropping systems in semi-arid Tanzania as case studies, my research screened suitable tree species to increase fuelwood supply and examined mechanisms for reducing tree-crop competition. By adopting nutrient use efficiency (the ratio of biomass yield to nutrient uptake) as a criterion, I found that selecting tree species of low wood nutrient concentrations would minimize nutrient exports by 42 – 60 %, thus reducing soil nutrient depletion while concurrently sustaining local fuelwood supply harvested from rotational woodlots. Currently smallholder farmers cannot afford to replenish soil fertility because of high fertilizer costs. However, 5-year tree fallowing raised soil N and P levels for maize culture as high as those from recommended fertilizer applications. Post-fallow maize yield was also increased significantly over natural fallow practices. Apparently there is a trade-off between yields of maize and fuelwood under rotational woodlot culture providing farmers the choice to proportion tree and crop composition based on priority demands. An alternative practice of intercropping pigeonpea with maize may also rapidly replenish soil fertility as well as enhance maize yield when competitive interactions between trees and crops are controlled. Vector analysis revealed that such interactions suppressed biomass yields of maize and pigeonpea by 30 % and 60 %, respectively, due to limited soil nutrients and/or moisture. Optimizing yields of both crops would require prescribed fertilizer addition when intercropped, but dose rates can be lowered by half under the improved fallow system due to alleviating interspecific competition. My findings form the basis of a plea for greater use of rotational woodlot and pigeonpea intercropping systems in semi-arid areas. I conclude that smallholder farm management of rotational agroforestry systems can be significantly improved by refining tree selection criteria and mitigating nutrient competition between trees and crops to maintain food and fuelwood production.

Mots Clés : Acacia, Improved fallows, Litter quality, Manure, Nutrient use efficiency, Soil fertility, Sustainability, Vector analysis

Présentation

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Page publiée le 21 novembre 2011, mise à jour le 14 septembre 2017