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Looking High and Low for the Best Land Management Practice/s to Enhance Soil C Sequestration in Smallholder Farming Systems in South Africa

Presenting person: Dr. Khatab Abdalla, Agroecology, BayCEER (Homepage)
Th. 2024-01-18

Natural ecosystems provide vital functions for the sustainable economic development of rural societies. In many regions of the world, particularly in developing countries, such landscapes are undergoing extensive degradation with severe implications for soil health and its capacity to provide essential services. Concerns about the long-term sustainability of soil resources support the need for a deep understanding of the processes and consequences of land degradation. A large proportion of South African smallholder farming lands are highly degraded and exhibit a variety of constraints, including nutrient deficiency, low soil organic matter and high risk of erosion. Poor and inappropriate management has exacerbated these problems. Therefore, this work attempted to search for sustainable land management practices to improve soil health and increase yields for smallholder farmers in the region. In this talk, I will highlight the severity of soil erosion and how this affects soil C fluxes in degraded grasslands. Furthermore, an evaluation of short- and long-term grassland management practices (i.e., grazing, burning and mowing) and cropland management, e.g., tillage and residue management under continuous maize cultivation, will be presented. Finally, potential cost-effective management practices for better ecosystem functioning will be proposed.

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