Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus allocation in agro-ecosystems of a West African savanna

Organic matter is both a commodity and a means of production in low-input farming systems of sub-Saharan Africa. Since this resource is becoming increasingly scarce in West African savannas, there is a need to assess OM, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus allocation in local ecosystems related to land management

Raphaƫl J. Manlay

2002

Key concepts

Scholarcy highlights

  • Organic matter is both a commodity and a means of production in low-input farming systems of sub-Saharan Africa. Since this resource is becoming increasingly scarce in West African savannas, there is a need to assess OM, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus allocation in local ecosystems related to land management
  • A threshold was reached after 10 years of fallow
  • Because storage in woody and herbaceous biomass remained steady in fallows aged more 10 years, young fallows were found to have the highest productivity for wood and forage
  • Plant productivity relied on the high resprouting capacity of local tree species, and on the maintenance of long breaks of fallow needed for the maintenance of perennial rooting systems
  • One of the aims of programs to improve the management of fallows, or to replace them with agroforestry techniques, should be to preserve perennial rooting systems by any means that are possible in the cropping systems of the WAS

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