Ecological engineering for sustainable agriculture in West African regions

This Dossier looks at potential contributions of ecological engineering to the management of agrosilvopastoral systems in sub-Saharan dryland areas, while helping to describe and define appropriate agroecological practices. Based on the authors’ and contributors’ experience, West Africa is focused on to illustrate the ecological intensification approach to agricultural production in the broad sense, which also takes livestock and forest production into account. Examples from non- African tropical dryland areas worldwide are also discussed to illustrate the potential of agroecological engineering in this climate setting.

The aim here is not to discuss all agricultural development related issues but rather to focus specifically on different examples we think are relevant to this ecological engineering approach. After reviewing a few key features of agriculture in dryland, arid and semiarid areas, examples of biological or ecological processes that could be adjusted to the benefit of agrosilvopastoral systems are covered. These examples address different key factors with regard to ecosystem functioning, including biodiversity, material and energy flows, and landscape ecology. The Dossier ends with a review of these so-called agroecological practices in the agricultural development socioeconomic context of arid and semiarid regions of West Africa. 

Ecological engineering for sustainable agriculture in arid and semiarid West African regions

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