"Fallow Band System", a land management practice for controlling desertification and improving crop production in the Sahel, West Africa. 1. Effectiveness in desertification control and soil fertility improvement

Ikazaki, Kenta
Shinjo, Hitoshi
Tanaka, Ueru
Tobita, Satoshi
Funakawa, Shinya
Kosaki, Takashi
Soil Science and Plant Nutrition
Publication Year: 
Wind erosion is a major contributor to desertification in the Sahel. Although three effective countermeasures for wind erosion (i.e. ridging, mulching with post-harvest crop residue, and windbreaks) have been proposed, they are not practical for Sahelian farmers. Therefore, we designed a new land management practice, termed the œFallow Band System, ? which can be used for both controlling wind erosion and improving soil fertility and crop production. This method does not impose additional expense and labor requirements on Sahelian farmers who are economically challenged and have limited manpower. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of this system on wind-erosion control and soil-fertility improvement. We conducted field experiments at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics West and Central Africa and showed that (i) a fallow band can capture 74% of wind-blown soil particles and 58% of wind-blown coarse organic matter, which suggests that it can effectively control wind erosion, (ii) the amount of soil nutrients available for crops in a former fallow band was increased by the decomposition of trapped soil materials containing considerable amounts of nutrients, and (iii) the amount of soil water available for crops in a former fallow band was increased by the trapped wind-blown soil materials through improvement of rainwater infiltration into surface soil. These results lead to the conclusion that the œFallow Band System ? can be useful for preventing desertification and improving soil fertility in the Sahel, West Africa.
Name of Journal: 
Soil Science and Plant Nutrition
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.