Realizing the full biomass potential of mixed crop-livestock systems in rapidly changing Sahelian Agro-ecological landscapes
Beside meeting the demand for food and fuel by a growing population and the feed needs for sustaining livestock production, biomass is also crucial for sustaining regulating ecosystem services in the Sahel. For example, biomass secures a return flow of organic matter to impoverished soils that improves water holding capacity and soil fertility. This project uses two livestock systems value chains (in northern Burkina Faso and south-western Niger) to demonstrate the ability to transform degraded, low-productivity smallholder farms into healthy agro-ecological landscapes, if regulating ecosystem services are enhanced through practices such as biomass management. It will develop tools for integrated, participatory and gender-sensitive assessments of biomass production in mixed crop-livestock systems and identify potential opportunities for out-scaling. This project’s research will help to inform policy and development formulation by government ministries and departments in Niger and Burkina Faso.