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Conservation agriculture for sustainable intensification of maize and other cereal systems: the case of Latin America

Code: 9781838791155
Bram Govaerts, CIMMYT, Mexico; Isabelle François, Consultant, Belgium; and Nele Verhulst, CIMMYT, Mexico

Chapter synopsis: Latin American agriculture faces many challenges, including extensive soil degradation and the prospect of increasing rainfall variability due to climate change. Conservation agriculture offers a way of responding to these challenges through improved management practices to prevent further soil degradation, improve the resilience of the system through increased soil organic matter and improve the efficiency of water and nutrient use. In this chapter, we review the need to move towards more sustainable soil management practices, and the long-term projects CIMMYT is using to research and develop such management practices. We consider the effects of conservation agriculture on physical, chemical and biological soil quality and on productivity, and then discuss how conservation agriculture can minimize greenhouse gas emissions while also making farms more resilient in the face of a changing climate. Finally, we discuss the implementation of conservation agriculture in Latin America.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2016.0001.22
Table of contents 1 Introduction: the need for sustainable soil management 2 Introduction to CIMMYT’s long-term experimental sites 3 The influence of CA on physical soil quality 4 The influence of CA on chemical soil quality 5 The influence of CA on biological soil quality 6 Weed management under CA 7 The influence of CA on productivity 8 CA and climate change 9 Implementation of CA 10 Conclusions 11 Where to look for further information 12 Acknowledgements 13 References

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