Exporting conservation

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Greensboro, NC: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University


Soil degradation represents a major threat to food security, particularly in mountainous regions of Southeast Asia, where rainfall can wash away inches of topsoil. This article presents conservation agriculture as a potential solution, focusing on the work that North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University conducts in Southeast Asia in conjunction with regional partners as part of the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (SANREM) collaborative research support program. Conservation agriculture, which denotes reduced tillage, intercropping, and maintaining soil cover, can result in higher yields, cut the costs of production, and improves soil fertility. However, these long-term benefits are preceded by lower yields in the first three years of implementation. Additionally, the practice can result in more work for women, who perform the bulk of the weeding. These are challenges which the SANREM team confronts as they attempt to educate farmers on the benefits of conservation agriculture while remaining sensitive to the social, economic, and ecological circumstances in which they work.


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Conservation agriculture, Soil degradation, Soil erosion, Soil conservation, Agroforestry, Conservation tillage, Farm/Enterprise Scale Field Scale


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