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Developing conservation agriculture with trees for integrated sloping lands management in the Philippines
Degraded sloping landscapes are expanding rapidly in the Philippines because of severe soil erosion caused by intense rainfall associated with more frequent typhoons as a consequence of changing climate. Decreased agricultural productivity heightens food insecurity and exacerbates poverty particularly on the sloping acid uplands which have inherently low-nutrient soils and resource-poor farmers. Conservation agriculture with trees (CAT) revolves around minimal soil disturbance, continuous ground cover, diverse crop species, integrated nutrient and pest management and deliberate integration of trees. This approach may constitute the best ‘tool box’ to create productive and resilient cropping systems under wet tropical conditions. These practices reverse soil degradation, increase and stabilize crop yield and profits, and reduce the labor burden on farmers.