Conservation Agriculture

Impact of conservation agriculture on carbon sequestration, physical and chemical soil quality, microbial biomass and greenhouse gas emission in the rift valley of Southern Ethiopia

Shimelis Gizachew

Hawassa University

Supervisors:   

  • Trond Borresen (Professor, IMV, Jord), NMBU
  • Trine Aulstad Sogn (Professor, IMV, Jord), NMBU
  • Jens Aune (Professor, NORAGRIC), NMBU
  •  WalelignWorku (Asso. Professor), HwU
  •  AmbachewDemissie (Asst. Professor), HwU

Introduction

The global trends of population growth and food consumption indicate that agricultural production needs to increase by 70 percent by 2050 (Branca et al., 2011). However, meeting the demand for higher agricultural production is further worsened by the global climate change that will reduce global average yields. The impacts of climate change will lead to greater instability in production in the agricultural sector, in communities that already have high levels of food insecurity, environmental degradation and limited options for coping with adverse climate conditions. Land degradation is one of the major problems in Ethiopia (Tadesse and Belay, 2004). Research findings indicate that soil degradation in terms of fertility decline and soil erosion is indeed increasing nationally. For instance, (Elias and Scoones, 1999) found out that soil fertility is declining in the southern region. Besides, our farming system is poor in the sense that it is low input low output and this combined with repeated tillage practices has resulted in enormous soil degradation and low productivity. Improving the resilience of agriculture is key element in adaptation to climate change (ERIKSEN and BROWN, 2011). One of the options available to improve the resilience of agriculture to climate change is climate smart agriculture, which has been defined by (FAO, 2009 ), as practices featuring increased efficiency of water, soil and nutrient management in agricultural system. Climate smart agriculture is being widely promoted as a mechanism of improving agricultural productivity, better environmental management and improved resilience of agriculture (FAO, 2012). Conservation agriculture is an important component of climate smart agriculture.

OBJECTIVES

  • To study the impact of conservation reduced tillage and mulching on microbial biomass and biodiversity
  • To assess the impact of conservation farming versus conventionally managed system on chemical and physical soil quality
  • To investigate the effectiveness of different types of cover crops in climate smart agriculture on weed suppression, soil physicochemical properties and yield of subsequent crop
  • To study the impact of conservation agriculture on greenhouse gas emission balance of a farm
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