Unlocking livestock development potential through science, influence and capacitydevelopment ILRI, APM, Addis Ababa,15–17 ...
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An ecosystem approach for the rehabilitation of degraded crop and rangelands in Eastern Africa

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Poster prepared by Kees Swaans, Don Peden, Dennis Mpairwe, Negash Geleta, Hailemichael Taye, Emmanuel Zziwa, Swidiq Mugerwa and Hirpha Legesse for the ILRI APM 2013, Addis Ababa, 15-17 May 2013

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An ecosystem approach for the rehabilitation of degraded crop and rangelands in Eastern Africa

  1. 1. Unlocking livestock development potential through science, influence and capacitydevelopment ILRI, APM, Addis Ababa,15–17 May 2013Developing capacity Influencing decisionsAn ecosystem approach for the rehabilitation ofdegraded crop and rangelands in Eastern AfricaThis document is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Licence May 2013Strategic lessons on:1. Invest for the long term: Previous ILRIresearch generated key capacity for thisnew project.2. Build university capacity: New institutionsstruggle to develop their research agenda.How can ILRI help?3. Enhance innovation capacity: Facilitatinglinkages between different actors throughinteraction, communication andcollaboration is crucial.1. Communicate with researchers:Translate ITM concepts in a mannerreceptive to relevant disciplines.2. Engage key decision-makers:Convey research implications withinthe context and language ofdevelopment oriented stakeholders.3. Recruit champions: Communicate,convince, network, and providerelevant service to decision-makers.Kees Swaans, Don Peden, Dennis Mpairwe, Negash Geleta, Hailemichael Taye, Emmanuel Zziwa, Swidiq Mugerwa, Hirpha LegesseDelivering scienceThis Research into Use project aims to sustainablyincrease livestock and crop production and enhancelivelihoods in rainfed agricultural systems of EasternAfrica through integrated termite management . Itbuilds on ILRI-led research on livestock waterproductivity.Introduction• Degradation of vast areas of Africa’s rangelands and croplandsrelegates millions of impoverished people to poverty, foodinsecurity, hunger, and disease.• Rehabilitating degraded lands generates opportunities toimprove livelihoods, regenerate agroecosystem services, andsequester carbon.• One of numerous approaches that can help restore degradedagricultural land is integrated termite management (ITM).Focus• Recognizing that termite damage is symptomatic of non-productive ecosystems and associated with inappropriate landand water management, ITM focuses on understanding theecosystem dynamics of termite affected land.• Technical solutions alone are not sufficient; it requiresgovernance, inputs and multi-stakeholder participation.1. Change thinking: Termite infestation is asymptom rather than cause of landdegradation.2. Increase productivity: Increasedinfiltration, transpiration and feedproduction reduces evaporation, makingmore water available for productive uses.3. Provide input: ITM requires a flexible andholistic approach of research to be ableto respond to change.Project staff consulting with Nakasongola farmers about their ITM-based rehabilitation of degraded pastures. From left to right: (L) Bare land scheduled forapplication of dung in 2013; (C) Rehabilitated pasture at end of dry season that now supports controlled grazing; and (R) Experimental research pastureend of one rainy season following dunging of bare soil.Results• Termite damage to rangelands is severe during dry seasonwhen organic matter in the soil is scarce due todecomposed plants. Night corralling and manuring prior toreseeding attracts termites and reduces dry season forageloss.• Maize sown during the rainy season matures early in thedry season when termite damage to crops peaks. Mulchingwith stover attracts termites and reduces crop damage.• Farms can sustain crop and livestock production if annualproduction of plant litter and application of manure andstover satisfies termites’ dietary needs.• Rehabilitating degraded pasture land involves shiftingunproductive evaporation to transpiration, the keypathway required for productive use of water resources.• Farmers appear willing to invest in ITM based on evidencefrom on-farm trial. Future ITM adoption requires otherparallel inputs and interventions such as use of termiteresistant crops and exclosures.• Other issues such as labour, cost–benefits and tradeoffs atthe farm and community level need to be taken intoaccount.PartnersILRI, IWMI, CPWF, Makerere University, Ugandan NationalAgriculture Research Organization, Wollega University

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