Positive impacts in soil and water conservation in an Andean region of South America: Case scenarios from a US Agency for International Development multidisciplinary cooperative project
Saavedra, Ana Karina
Delgado, Jorge A.
Barrera, Victor H.
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The Andean region of South America faces many challenges to increasing agricultural productivity: shrinking farm sizes, poor soils, erratic rainfall, and very high erosion rates. This article summarizes the positive impacts of the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program’s (SANREM CRSP) promotion of conservation agriculture (CA) in the region. SANREM emphasizes thorough and holistic evaluation of the impacts of CA, and active participation of local farmers. Farmer field schools in the Illangama watershed in Ecuador proved an effective means of encouraging CA adoption by demonstrating its positive effects. Other positive impacts are listed, emphasizing the increases in yields and economically beneficial diversification. A need for new, bilingual tools to assess the impacts of CA is identified; the article presents the adaption of the Mexican Nitrogen index for Ecuador and Bolivia as a successful example of tool development. The strong international cooperation for this project has provided an illustration of the positive results of soil and water conservation practices that will assist in addressing the environmental challenges and constraints of the twenty-first century.