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Dynamics of woody species in bush-fallow systems in the Soudan zone

Elhadji FAYE student laureate


°1969 Senegal
Rural Development Engineer, option: water and forests, Institut du développement rural, Université polytechnique de Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, 2000

Dynamique des souches ligneuses dans le cycle culture-jachère en zone soudanienne

Bush-fallow systems are commonly practised in mid -Casamance, where fallow fields are contributing to soil fertility restoration and for maintenance of precious woody species which are important for biodiversity. With demographic growth and human migration from North to South, permanent agriculture becomes more and more important.
The objective of this study is two-fold: (1) to determine the optimal density of the woody species and the required length of the fallow period to achieve this; and (2) to study the impact of the species on soil fertility. In order to meet this objective, investigations were implemented on farmers fields.
The results show that regular fallows are a must to preserve the woody species and natural soil fertility restoration.
The study concludes by formulating practical recommendations in order to preserve natural biodiversity. One of the promising systems is strip cultivation, where the agricultural fields are banded along the contour lines, separated by lines of natural useful trees (fruit, forage, medicinal, fertility generating) which have been preserved when cutting the natural forest.

report by Prof. Dr. Seppe Deckers, Laboratory for soil and water, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium