Smart fertilizer management and the quest for sustainable rice production

Pauline Chivenge and Sheetal Sharma   |  « PREVIOUS

Specific fertilizer recommendations in smallholder rice farming systems could increase crop production while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Rice production relies on the use of synthetic fertilizers, especially nitrogen, in order to meet the challenge of rising demand for the commodity driven by population growth. However, the nutrient needs of rice crops are not constant and can vary with fields, seasons, and years because of differences in crop-growing conditions and management. Consequently, the proper management of nutrients for rice production needs to be adjusted to suit field and crop requirements.

Furthermore, the application of external nutrients constitutes the second most expensive rice production input, after labor. As a result, nutrient management is an important component for sustainable rice production while protecting the environment.

Too much of a good thing
The Green Revolution in the mid-20th century resulted in increased crop yields, including rice, in the developing world. Much of this was due to a combination of the introduction of improved varieties and more reliance on the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. However, although the Green Revolution was undoubtedly beneficial in improving food security, it was also associated with a dramatic increase in pollution due to the high use of agricultural chemicals.

Fertilizer recommendations in smallholder rice farming systems are often given as blanket recommendations, but this can lead to the overuse of fertilizers and inefficient use of nutrients. This created a need to find approaches to increase crop production while reducing pollution.

Location-specific information
Soil testing has been promoted to estimate location-specific fertilizer requirements based on the measurement of soil nutrient pools for a field or location. Soil-test methods attempt to measure the proportions of nutrients available for crops, but the amount measured may differ across soils with contrasting properties. Additionally, different tests for one nutrient often provide different results that can be expressed in a variety of ways.

Therefore, soil-test methods need to be calibrated to be used in a specific region. Soil testing requires rapid sequential sampling of soil, laboratory analysis, and timely deployment of a fertilizer recommendation with training for farmers before crop establishment. The effective implementation across hundreds of thousands of fields has been constrained by the high costs involved in sampling and analysis.

In developed countries, precision nutrient management is done using sophisticated technology to monitor variations in nutrient levels within large fields and across seasons. But, this is not applicable for small fields in Asia and Africa.

The site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) approach was developed in the 1990s to enable rice farmers to apply fertilizers and efficiently meet varying nutrient requirements of plants, thereby reducing fertilizer misuse associated with fertilizer subsidy.

The approach is used to calculate field-specific requirements for fertilizer nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for cereal crops based on scientific principles with the aim to increase nutrient-use efficiency. SSNM has improved rice yields compared with the farmers’ practice often based on blanket recommendations.

Nutrient Manager for Rice provides farmers in the Philippines with advice on best fertilizer through mobile phones. (Photo: IRRI)

Timing is everything
The SSNM approach, however, does not aim to increase or reduce the amount of fertilizer used. The increase in grain yield with lower amounts of fertilizer has been associated with the better timing of application, particularly for nitrogen. Farmers apply a greater proportion of the nitrogen fertilizer in the early stages of the crop, causing higher vigor during early growth, which does not translate into higher grain yield at maturity.

In recent years, SSNM has been identified as one of the options for sustainable intensification of rice production in Asia and as a climate-smart technology for increasing resource-use efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient runoff into water sources.

The SSNM approach relies heavily on information generated from nutrient omission plot trials that are used to estimate fertilizer requirements for major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). Briefly, nutrient omission plots are small field trials in which adequate nutrients—except the nutrient of interest—are applied to a plot in order to estimate the supply of the omitted nutrient from indigenous sources such as soil, crop residues, irrigation water, biological nitrogen fixation, and atmospheric deposition. This is used to calculate the amount of fertilizer required to achieve a given yield target.

Phosphorus and potassium are generally applied at sowing or transplanting while nitrogen is applied at different crop stages. Thirty percent of the nitrogen is applied at transplanting and the rest is equally split at critical rice growth stages: active tillering and panicle initiation. Alternatively, the nitrogen splits can be determined using leaf color charts.

Rice production in Asia is largely done by smallholder farmers who often lack access to information. For sustainability, there is a need to develop tools that are accessible to farmers. Using the principles of SSNM, an information and communication technology decision support tool, Nutrient Manager, was developed to give field-specific fertilizer recommendations for smallholder farmers.

Nutrient Manager targets irrigated and rainfed lowland rice farmers with the aim to increase productivity and net income by USD 100 per hectare per season at the farm level. The tool has been widely tested and used in the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, and has led to an increase in farm productivity and profitability. The tool was later developed into the Rice Crop Manager in the Philippines and India, which give climate-informed agro-advisory services to farmers, including the selection of suitable varieties. (See An app tailor-made for India’s rice farmers.)

Although the tool has effectively improved productivity in 80% of the locations where it has been tried, there is room to expand the fertilizer recommendations for a wider set of conditions. Additionally, dissemination of the tool needs to be boosted to give more rice farmers access to smarter and more sustainable fertilizer management.
Dr. Chivenge is a soils and biogeochemistry expert at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Dr. Sharma leads IRRI’s research on the design, evaluation, and dissemination of soil and nutrient management technologies for the rice-based systems of South Asia.

Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the RICE Today and retrieved on 12/13/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM Inc. accordingly.

Moving closer to achieving climate-smart future for Southeast Asia

Written by Nguyen Thu Hang (Viet Nam News) on Dec 6, 2017

Fostering learning and sharing knowledge and experiences across Climate-Smart Villages and projects in Southeast Asia.

Based on the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)’ Southeast Asia’s vision, by 2025, the Southeast Asian region has achieved a stable food supply, and communities, especially those in the most vulnerable areas, have already improved their climate change resilience through the adoption of climate-smart technologies and practices.

By this time, institutional, public, and private sector’s capacities to implement measures to cope with climate change are already strong, and climate change adaptation and mitigation measures are fully integrated into both regional and national development plans. These goals guided the implementation of its flagship projects (FP) under the program.


On its third annual meeting, CCAFS SEA looked at the four flagship projects’ progress in terms of achieving the goals abovementioned since the second phase of the program started. The annual meeting was held on the 20th of November in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The beginnings of CCAFS

The regional agenda and research portfolio of CCAFS SEA are put into four flagships (FPs), FP1 – priorities, and policies for climate-smart agriculture, FP2-climate-smart technologies, and practices, FP3–low emission development ad FP4–climate services and safety nets.

The Climate-Smart Village (CSV) project serves as the convergence point of the flagship projects. These are implemented to improve farming communities’ resilience to challenges brought about by climate change which are expected to be worsened by the region’s rapid economic growth.

At present, the projects of CCAFS SEA are mostly located in three countries of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia because they are among the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the region. However, there are also other projects implemented in the Philippines and Indonesia.

CCAFS flagship leaders Dr. Phil Thornton and Dr. Andy Jarvis, together with CCAFS SEA regional program leader Dr. Leocadio Sebastian, facilitated a special session on the future projects’ focus. Photo by Duong Minh Tuan/ICRAF

CSV achievements

During the review conducted during the event, participants discussed the successes and challenges faced by the flagship projects and looked at how much of the desired outputs and outcomes have already been achieved. The key emerging outcomes from CSV sites in Vietnam, Philippines, and Laos, have also been highlighted in the workshop.

For instance, in the first stage of the CSV project in Guinayangan Village in the Philippines’ Quezon Province, the implementers had successfully engaged with local governments. In addition, the incorporation of climate-smart agriculture into the local government’s agriculture extension services is expected to have benefitted from 5,000 farmers in Guinayangan Village. Guinayangan is also recognized as a learning site that influenced the implementation and rolls out of the Philippines’ Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA) program.

As for the project of CSVs in the Mekong Basin, initial outcomes include eight climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies have been implemented with the engagement of 100 local households. For example, in Vietnam’s Ky Son Commune, implementers have successfully coordinated with local governments, same with Guinyangan. They have also helped 2,000 farmers in achieving stable incomes and two neighboring villages in selecting 3 CSAs as priorities for scale-out: stress-tolerant rice varieties, dry season water storage, and pest smart practices for adoption during the first year of the project’s second phase.

Meanwhile, Rohal Suong CSV in Cambodia is now poised to be selected as a demonstration site under IFAD-funded ASPIRE project (worth about USD 50 million).

A special poster session was held to showcase the significant outputs and emerging outcomes of the various CCAFS SEA’s regional projects. Photo by Duong Minh Tuan/ICRAF

Points for improvement

Despite the successes of CCAFS SEA in the first phase and the first year of its second phase, several challenges are still needed to be addressed in the remaining years in the second phase.

The biggest concern to be addressed now pertains to the mobilization of funding for the projects because the total budget left is not enough to run all the projects while most of them will end next year.

Aside from this, Dr. Andy Jarvis, one of the Flagship Leader of CCAFS stated that there is a need to re-design the projects to make it fit with the situation. To address this concern, Dr. Godefroy Grosjean, an expert from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), suggested three ways they can improve mobilization of financial resources for the projects in the region.

According to him, the first step that CCAFS should do is to recruit a joint position with the Food and Agriculture Organization for a climate finance expert. Second, it is advised to develop new agenda on climate finance, including fiscal reform, evaluation of business models, and carbon pricing. The third step is taking new methodology such as behavioral economics, he said.

Dr. Leocadio Sebastian, the Regional Program Leader at CCAFS SEA, also pointed out the gaps between discussions and the reality in the field where the projects were implemented. He called for all stakeholders to suggest solutions in order to cope with these challenges so that the projects would be smoothly run in the coming years.

Nguyen Thu Hang is a reporter for the Viet Nam News.

Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CGIAR and retrieved on 12/07/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM Inc. accordingly.


Study: farmers could increase their production and contribute to reduce up to one gigaton of metric carbon emissions

by  | Dec 5, 2017

A new study presented at the Bonn Climate Summit, COP23 – produced by an international group of scientists led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research (CIAT), and published in Scientific Reports – has revealed how agricultural production could contribute significantly in the fight against climate change, a matter of utmost importance that will continue in discussions towards COP24.

Scientists have already established that agricultural production depletes carbon from soils as a result of over-tillage (digging or removing soil) and chemical fertilizers, which is estimated to cause between 50 and 70 percent of the loss of water reserves. carbon in agricultural soils worldwide (Lal, 2004). Taking into account that agricultural soils are capable of sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when farmers use sustainable practices – such as increased use of manure, surface crops, vegetative cover, conservation tillage, fertilization management, as well as natural climate solutions, like agroforestry – the international group of scientists sought to establish in which regions of the world the highest carbon capture could be obtained through these activities.

Using a small increase of carbon in soils -experts consider that it is affordable in almost all arable soils- the scientists found that better management of soils for agriculture could contribute to an annual emission reduction of between 0.9 and 1.85 billion tons per year, equivalent to almost the total emissions of Brazil and Argentina, or the removal of between 215 and 400 million cars of circulation .

Justin Adams, TNC’s global executive director of Land, said that “natural climate solutions are essential to address climate change and investing in our soils is a strategy with enormous untapped potential-a potential that we could use if we began to think holistically about the type of actions and policies needed from the top down and from the ground up. If we want to satisfy the growing demand for food, maintaining global health and biodiversity, and abate climate change, then soils are our least valued ally. “

The study found that most of the carbon in the soil is stored in the northern hemisphere, with the countries of North America, Northern Europe, and Russia having the largest reserves of organic carbon in their arable land. In contrast, large tracts of arable land in India, the Sahel in Africa, Northern China, and Australia, are low in carbon.

Although the capacity to increase carbon in soils depends to a large extent on their typology and the environment, the main agricultural producing countries showed significant potential for carbon capture.

“Agricultural production in Latin America is fundamental for its economy. In fact, the region is considered as the food basket of the planet, since most of its production is exported to countries outside the region, “said Ginya Truitt Nakata, director of Land for Latin America of the TNC. “Then we have an enormous potential in terms of a significant contribution to the global mitigation of the effects of climate change through carbon sequestration since most of their countries are important agricultural producers with large tracts of land. cultivable “.

Additionally, 7 Latin American countries are among the 40 countries with the highest presence of carbon in their arable land: Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, and Guatemala.

The scientists also highlighted other important benefits of sustainable soil management, including higher yields for better soil fertility and better water retention capacity, which also help farmers adapt better to climate change. In this sense, it is estimated that the degradation of soils in Latin America reaches around 70 percent, according to the UN, which implies that improving agricultural practices can be a public policy incentive to maximize the additional benefits provided by healthy soils.

Table 1. Countries with the greatest potential for carbon capture by agricultural production compared to cars out of circulation (high scenario):

Table 2. Analysis of Organic Carbon Available in Cultivable Soils for Latin America and the Caribbean (most representative / high scenario):

“Soils are the basis of all food production. Healthier soils store more carbon and produce more food. Investing in better soil management will make our farming systems more productive and resilient to future impacts and stresses. “

Louis Verchot

Director of the Research Area in Soils and Landscapes for Sustainability (SoiLS) of CIAT. , International Center for Tropical Agriculture


The full study in English is available at .

To access the data and maps, visit:


Funding for this study was granted by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land, and Ecosystems (WLE), with additional support from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) , and the Center of Studies of Mountain Ecosystems (CMES), the Kunming Institute of Botany and the Key Program of Investigation of Border Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CIAT and retrieved on 12/07/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM Inc. accordingly.


Forest tenure reform implementation in Uganda: Opportunities for the future

By 21 Rosalia Omungo | NOV 2017

The absentee landlords of Kibaale: Where are they?

In Kibaale district in Uganda, 90 percent of landlords are absent. Accordingly, a majority of those living in the community lack secure land tenure.

Perhaps because of this absenteeism, the area has attracted massive, uncontrolled immigration, and migrants have cleared swaths of forest for settlement and agriculture.

But what is driving landlord absenteeism? What are the socio-economic implications of the situation on locals and the government? A new study on land use in Kibaale has found some intriguing results, which will be discussed, among other findings, at an event on forest tenure reform in Uganda on 22 November 2017 in Kampala.

Scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) found that people continue to degrade the forest by cutting trees for agriculture, and 80 percent of forests are found on private land and owned under the Mailo land tenure system.

Solutions: What has been done in Uganda? Focus on Participatory Prospective Analysis

The study outlines the various forest tenure regimes in the area, including collaborative forest management, private forest associations and customary forest. Forest tenure issues in Uganda are exacerbated by unclear boundaries, and improved through land titles and the absence of conflicts within the community. Despite Uganda’s new constitution, adopted in the 1990s and which ignited reforms in land tenure systems, a number of challenges still act as stumbling blocks to progress.

The study used the Participatory Prospective Analysis (PPA) method, a multi-stakeholder consultative process that involves identifying the issue as well as forces of change, selecting key driving forces and formulating future scenarios. In Kibaale, they identified factors impeding the quest for reforms. PPA worked to discover key driving forces while developing scenarios for the future that could potentially help secure tenure over forests there.

Total collapse of the forests and a situation where the forest is completely green were the main scenarios selected. Among the key influencers were politicians, the implementation capacity of key stakeholders, enforcement of forest laws and policies, influx of migrants and population dynamics. Undesirable scenarios included insecure forest tenure rights due to immigration and unfair enforcement of forest laws in favor of powerful, well-connected immigrants over indigenous people.

Undesirable scenarios: Drivers of landlord absenteeism

Because of the kind of destruction taking place occasioned by migrants, the researchers mapped the pathways for potential tenure security for Kibaale by 2025. The ten-year period, from 2015 when the study began to 2025 when it is projected to end, provides ample time to monitor changes. This they did through identifying desirable and non-desirable scenarios.

Using PPA, community members were brought together and this was effective in encouraging collective reflection, and thus CIFOR and partner scientists were able to identify threats to forest tenure security. The women viewed a major threat as the potential takeover of trees that were planted by women. Communities recommended involvement as well as identifying the responsible agents they were to work with.

The strategy of Kibaale district to overcome the problem was through exploring ways to strengthen community participation.

Tenure reform implementation in Uganda – presenting results

 The research is anchored in four districts of Uganda that cover four different types of tenure regimes. Lamwo district presented a unique case – most of its forests are customary and managed by traditional institutions, therefore tenure reforms enabled traditional institutions to register forests as community forests.

 Forest tenure issues in Uganda are alleviated through clear boundaries, land title and the absence of conflicts within the community. This means an unoccupied title opens a window for land use by migrants.

 The main concerns and the key motivations for the colloquium are to assess the implementation of forest tenure reforms in Uganda, despite reforms in land tenure systems and the subsequent adoption of the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act 15 years ago.

 The colloquium will be sharing important lessons learnt and knowledge generated both at the local and national levels.

 What work has been done in Uganda? Focus on the PPA analysis

 During the implementation of forest tenure reforms in Uganda, a number of challenges were observed including tedious processes to formalize rights, community inability to protect and safeguard forest tenure rights and poverty levels among adjacent communities. Implementers were concerned about the slow manner in which reforms were taking place.

 Despite the adoption of the National Forestry and Tree Planting Act, there have been few assessments of tenure reform progress. The study examined tenure regimes and found that there were significant differences as far as clarity and fairness of rules. It is for this reason that Participatory Prospective Analysis (PPA) was adopted, which revealed that state and non-stakeholders share a common interest in protecting forests.

 Event details and agenda:

Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CIFOR and retrieved on 11/30/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


The agriculture-forest interface is the key to achieving global restoration goals


Deforestation and forest degradation are causing ecological and socioeconomic problems in every part of the world. It is well known that these impact the climate by increasing atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide—affecting the environment and communities globally. Degradation of land and soil also poses substantial challenges to meeting global food needs and generates additional significant risks to people, particularly in predominantly rural and poor countries heavily dependent on natural resources. It is estimated that the global cost of land degradation due to land-use change and to the use of land-degrading management practices is about $300 billion annually. Moreover, if the current pace of land degradation continues over the next 20 years, it could reduce global food production by as much as 12 percent and increase the price of some commodities by as much as 30 percent.

Given its magnitude, the joint problems of deforestation and land degradation must be addressed globally to respond to these environmental and development challenges. However, even though it is often said that actions that transform degraded lands into healthy landscapes are less costly than taking no action, significant forces have prevented progress and the achievement of land and forest restoration goals.

The international community has worked to halt degradation and restore degraded lands for decades. The latest initiative, the Bonn Challenge, sets a global goal to bring 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land into restoration by 2020, and a total of 350 million hectares by 2030. A key principle underlying the Bonn Challenge is the forest landscape restoration (FLR) approach. FLR provides a framework to implement sustainable forest management while creating a substantial role for agriculture. FLR is also expected to contribute to meeting many existing international restoration commitments, including the CBD Aichi Biodiversity Targets; the UNFCCC REDD+; the Rio+20 land degradation neutrality goal; as well as the climate change mitigation and adaptation goals in the Paris Agreement and several of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Although some progress has been made towards achieving above mentioned targets, significant obstacles have prevented progress and the achievement of land and forest restoration goals. Though there are local success stories, communities living in degraded landscapes do not typically undertake large-scale restorations. Widespread adoption of such efforts is possible only if landowners, farmers, smallholders, and land managers ultimately benefit, and then only when restoration programs have stakeholder support. The active role of agriculture in such efforts is expected to encourage more direct participation by communities, helping to reduce the observed opposition to large-scale restoration projects.

Evidence shows that landscape-level interventions—such as restoration of riparian areas and wetlands to regulate water flows for agriculture, or management of tree cover both within farmland and on surrounding landscapes—can enhance the provision of ecosystem services and support functionality of agriculture landscapes. Yet, the landscape restoration movement still struggles to become operational at a large scale due to a lack of understanding of landscape complexities and perceived conflicts among the most pressing needs of some stakeholders.

A group of researchers at IFPRI and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) set out to assess the potential benefits of a globally widespread adoption of forest landscape restoration. The results of this recent work on land degradation reveal that the full inclusion of crop production in the forest landscape restoration approach could produce large-scale, worldwide benefits for food security.

The positive impacts are multifaceted and significant in size: A reduction in the number of malnourished children ranging from 3 to 6 million; a reduced number of people at risk of hunger, estimated at 70 and 151 million; reduced pressure for expansion of cropland; increased soil fertility; and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. These benefits—not only to farmers but also to the broader population—strongly suggest that a forest landscape restoration approach that meaningfully integrates agriculture can facilitate the implementation of restoration plans on large amounts of land.

As impressive as these results are, the limits of the modeling employed indicate that these numbers may actually underestimate the full potential of a widespread adoption of restoration practices. Due to current modeling constraints, the representation of agroforestry, silvopastoral, and agrosilvopastoral systems at the global level is difficult and the role of these systems on a global scale remains unexplored. This is an important area for future work because research consistently indicates that the judicious use of agroforestry can provide an additional source of vitamins and micronutrients, among other positive effects on the nutritional qualities of farm output.

The results of this new work (which has not yet been peer-reviewed) not only confirm the findings of the many studies that have investigated the benefits of land and forest restoration in more localized settings—they should also provide enough confidence to governments and policy makers to answer the many calls to invest in wide-scale restoration projects without jeopardizing their food security goals. Approaches that fully integrate agriculture in restoration projects, such as forest landscape restoration, can not only avoid trade-offs between restoration and food production, but also can provide a framework to build on the synergies of multi-functional landscapes with significant benefits to food security.

Alessandro (Alex) De Pinto is a Senior Research Fellow in the Environment and Production Technology Division of IFPRI. Salome Begeladze is a programme officer for Forest Landscape Restoration in the Global Forest and Climate Change Programme of IUCN. This post is based on work which has not yet been peer reviewed.

Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the International Food Policy Research Institute and retrieved on 11/24/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


New study: Up to 7 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide can be removed from the atmosphere each year through better soil management on farm land

by  | Nov 14, 2017

By better managing farmland soil, the amount of carbon stored in the top 30 centimeters of the soil could increase an extra 0.9 to 1.85 gigatons each year, say authors of a new study published today in Scientific Reports.

This is equivalent to carbon globally emitted by the transport sector (1.87 gigatons of Carbon); and equivalent to 3 – 7 billion tonnes of CO2 which could be removed from the atmosphere. For comparison, the US emits 5 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year (Edgar database, 2015).

The maps in the new study show how much carbon could be stored per hectare each year, which will be vital for designing global mitigation strategies, for achieving targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Since the industrial revolution, 50-70 percent of the carbon stored in the soil has been lost to the atmosphere, contributing to harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the form of carbon dioxide. Since farmland is already intensively managed, improving the way it is managed is a practical step to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, say authors.

Soil organic carbon (SOC) in the top 30 cm, currently (T0), on all available cropland soils globally (i.e. those not excluded from the analysis as high SOC soils or sandy soils). Maps were produced based upon a geospatial analysis of datasets from the SoilsGrids250 database19, using ESRI ArcGIS software (version 10.3;

Soil organic carbon (SOC) in the top 30 cm, currently (T0), on all available cropland soils globally (i.e. those not excluded from the analysis as high SOC soils or sandy soils). Maps were produced based on a geospatial analysis of datasets from the SoilsGrids250 database 19, using ESRI ArcGIS software (version 10.3;

Dr. Robert Zomer, from the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences and lead author of the study, said: “Our findings show that turning soils into carbon sinks can sequester significant amounts of carbon in cropland soils. Our research shows soils can be part of the solution to combat climate change – and by doing so we can improve soil health.

The findings illustrate that most of the world’s carbon is stored in cooler, wetter, parts of the world in the northern hemisphere; and less in the tropics where it is hotter or drier. North America, Russia, and Europe currently store for over half of the world’s carbon in croplands.

The United States showed the highest total annual potential to store carbon in the soil, followed by India, China, Russian and Australia, if management is improved. The improved practices, among others, include, using compost or (green) manure, mulching, zero tillage, cover cropping, and other regenerative and natural climate solutions, such as agroforestry.

The annual increase in soil organic carbon (SOC) in the top 30 cm, on all available cropland soils globally (i.e. those not excluded from the analysis as high SOC or sandy soils) under the medium scenario (i.e. an increase in percent SOC of 0.27 over 20 years). Maps were produced based on a geospatial analysis of datasets from the SoilsGrids250 database19, using ESRI ArcGIS software (version 10.3;

“Regenerating soil organic carbon is a foundational strategy for conservation, through which we can provide food and water sustainably and help tackle climate change.  Analyses like this help us understand the importance of soil management for reaching climate goals. The question now is: how can we unlock this potential?” asked Dr. Deborah Bossio, Lead Soil Scientist at The Nature Conservancy.

Tropical soils are especially sensitive to management, as they lose carbon faster than their counterparts in temperate regions, due to higher temperatures and rainfalls. Dr. Rolf Sommer, CIAT’s principle soil scientist and part of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land, and Ecosystems, which funded the study said:

“In western Kenya, over half of all carbon stored in the soil has been released to the atmosphere in the last 30-100 years. That’s roughly twice the speed we would see in other parts of the world like in parts of Europe.”

The authors point out that further research is needed to pinpoint which soil management practices are possible in specific areas to sequester more carbon. Especially in developing countries like Ethiopia, where carbon sequestration in soils could significantly reduce emissions and make agriculture carbon neutral, farmers are often very resource constrained, with few options to actively manage soils.

Soils are the basis of all food production. Healthier soils store more carbon and produce more food. Investing in better soil management will make our agricultural systems more productive and resilient to future shocks and stresses.

Dr. Louis Verchot

Co-author and Director of the Soil Research Area, International Center for Tropical Agriculture

Although there is vast potential, turning soils into a carbon sink requires climate-smart solutions and supportive policy enabling environments, to catalyze a change in countries outlined in the study.

Full citation: Zomer, Robert J.; Bossio, Deborah A.; Sommer, Rolf; Verchot, Louis V.. 2017. Global Sequestration Potential of Increased Organic Carbon in Cropland Soils. Scientific Reports . 7: 15554.

“Global Sequestration Potential of Increased Organic Carbon in Cropland Soils” was published in the online journal Scientific Reports on 14th November 2017.

Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CIAT and retrieved on 11/24/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.




Cambodian farmers participate in cross-site visits to learn about Integrated Pest Management practices

Farmers check the trichoderma x variety trial in Por Lors Station, Prey Veng

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Farmers adapt new technologies by integrating new knowledge to existing practices based on their present conditions. The Ecologically-based Participatory Integrated Pest Management for rice in Cambodia (EPIC) Project, through its Learning Alliance platform, facilitated cross-site visits among farmers that enabled them to share their knowledge and experiences on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technologies. The farmers from Prey Veng and Takeo Provinces had been involved in adaptive research trials for two seasons and this activity will enhance learning that will lead to its local adaptation in Cambodian provinces.

On October 24, 25 farmers and extension staff from Prey Veng visited the villages of Ro Vieng and Kandaul in Takeo to observe rodent management trials and interact with ‘host farmers’ who implemented them.

In Ro Vieng, the participants learned from farmers who tried the Community Trap Barrier System (CTBS) with various types of traps, and community rat hunting. In Kandaul, they met with farmers who have tried the Linear Trap Barrier System, which they say is useful for trapping rats but would prefer to have a longer barrier. The farmers also learned about community action and limited but well-timed use of Bromadiolone in controlling rodents. They found out that even if the LTBS was not as long as they would want, there was reduction in rodent damage. Researchers shared the findings from data collected from farmers. Damage caused by rats is 28% lower, and yield increased by 23% with LTBS vs. control plots (farmer’s practice).

In exchange, 27 farmers and extension staff from Takeo visited the adaptive research trials in Sdao and Thom villages, and the Por Lors station in Prey Veng, on October 25.  Topics such as entomopathogenic fungi (biological control agent that eats pest insects), differences in herbicide programs for integrated weed management, Trichoderma (biological control against diseases such as rice blast) and pest-resistant varieties like CAR14, were covered during the field visit and discussions.

At the end of the visits, farmers in their village groups reflected on and shared what they have observed. The ‘host farmers’ shared their experiences in coordination, sourcing of materials, and implementation of IPM considering local conditions. They remarked on the effectiveness of the technologies and discussed future plans for the 2018 rice-crop season. This project is funded by the USAID through the IPM Innovation Lab.

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