Plant and Soil

, Volume 435, Issue 1–2, pp 143–159 | Cite as

Intercropping with two native woody shrubs improves water status and development of interplanted groundnut and pearl millet in the Sahel

  • N. A. BogieEmail author
  • R. Bayala
  • I. Diedhiou
  • R. P. Dick
  • T. A. GhezzeheiEmail author
Regular Article



To investigate the physiological responses of groundnut (Arachis hypogea) and pearl millet (Penisetum glaucum) that were intercropped with the native evergreen woody shrubs Piliostigma reticulatum (D.C.) Hochst and Guiera senegalensis J.F. Gmel compared to control crops throughout two growing seasons at two sites with contrasting climate and soil types in Senegal.


Shrubs grown in groundnut and millet fields at higher than native density were coppiced annually with aboveground biomass returned to the soil and no additional fertilizer. Crop leaf area index (LAI), handheld normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), leaf water potential, and soil moisture and temperature were monitored in 2012–2013.


At the drier site, the presence of shrubs reduced soil temperature at 5 cm depth by up to 5 °C during early crop growth. Shrub presence increased LAI by up to 266%, NDVI by up to 217% and increased groundnut leaf water potential throughout the day at the wetter site. Shrub effects on crop physiology were stronger overall at the drier site.


These results improve the understanding of how this unique agroforestry system alters the growing environment and the physiological response of associated crops throughout the season.


Agroforestry Agroecology Abiotic stress Soil hydrology Plant physiology 



The US National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) grant (NSF #0968247) funded this work. Additional funding was given by UC Merced. We are thankful to Mame Balla Ndiaye and Boubacar Badji for collecting data and Dame Sy all transportation and communication with local farmers. Yacine Ndour and Lydie Lardie of ISRA and IRD, respectively, coordinated lab space. Mohammed Safeeq as well as the Berhe Biogeochemistry lab at UC Merced provided valuable feedback on early versions of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We are not aware of any conflicts of interest.


  1. Badiane AN, Khouma M, Sène M (2000) Région de Diourbel: Gestion des eaux. Drylands Research, CrewkerneGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnabás B, Jäger K, Fehèr A (2008) The effect of drought and heat stress on reproductive processes in cereals. Plant Cell Environ 31(1):11–38Google Scholar
  3. Bayala J, Sileshi GW, Coe R, Kalinganire A, Tchoundjeu Z, Sinclair F, Garrity D (2012) Cereal yield response to conservation agriculture practices in drylands of West Africa: a quantitative synthesis. J Arid Environ 78:13–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Belsky AJ, Amundson RG, Duxbury JM, Riha SJ, Ali AR, Mwonga SM (1989) The effects of trees on their physical, chemical and biological environments in a semi-arid savanna in Kenya. J Appl Ecol 26(3):1005–1024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bennett JM, Boote KJ, Hammond LC (1984) Relation-ships Among Water Potential Components, Relative Water Content, and Stomatal Resistance of Field-Grown Peanut Leaves. Peanut Sci 11:31–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Black CR, Tang D-Y, Ong CK, Solon A, Simmonds LP (1985) Effects of soil moisture stress on the water relations and water use of groundnut stands. New Phytol 100(3):313–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bogie NA, Bayala R, Diedhiou I, Dick RP (2018a) Alteration of soil physical properties and processes after ten years of intercropping with native shrubs in the Sahel. Soil Tillage Res 182:153–163. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bogie NA, Bayala R, Diedhiou I, Conklin MH, Fogel ML, Dick RP, Ghezzehei TA (2018b) Hydraulic Redistribution by Native Sahelian Shrubs: Bioirrigation to Resist In-Season Drought. Front Environ Sci 6:1–12. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bonachela JA, Pringle RM, Sheffer E, Coverdale TC, Guyton JA, Caylor KK, Levin SA, Tarnita CE (2015) Termite mounds can increase the robustness of dryland ecosystems to climatic change. Science 347(6222):651–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boote KJ (1982) Growth stages of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.). Peanut Sci 9(1):35–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bright MBH, Diedhiou I, Bayala R, Assigbetse K, Chapuis-lardy L, Ndour Y, Dick RP (2017) Long-term Piliostigma reticulatum intercropping in the Sahel: Crop productivity, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, and soil quality. Agric Ecosyst Environ 242:9–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burgess SSO, Adams MA, Turner NC, Ong CK (1998) The redistribution of soil water by tree root systems. Oecologia 115(3):306–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cardon ZG, Stark JM, Herron PM, Rasmussen JA (2013) Sagebrush carrying out hydraulic lift enhances surface soil nitrogen cycling and nitrogen uptake into inflorescences. Proc Natl Acad Sci 110(47):18988–18993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carminati A, Vetterlein D, Weller U, Vogel H-J, Oswald SE (2009) When roots lose contact. Vadose Zone J 8(3):805–809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Crafts-Brandner SJ, Law RD (2000) Effect of heat stress on the inhibition and recovery of the ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase activation state. Planta 212(1):67–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Debenport SJ, Assigbetse K, Bayala R, Chapuis-Lardy L, Dick RP, McSpadden Gardener BB (2015) Shifting populations in the root-zone microbiome of millet associated with enhanced crop productivity in the Sahel. Appl Environ Microbiol 81(8):2841–2851CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Diack M, Sène M, Badiane AN, Diatta M, Dick RP (2000) Decomposition of a native shrub, Piliostigma reticulatum, litter in soils in semiarid Senegal. Arid Soil Res Rehab 14:205–218Google Scholar
  18. Diakhate S, Gueye M, Chevallier T, Diallo NH, Assigbetse K, Abadie J, Diouf M, Masse D, Sembene M, Ndour YB, Dick RP, Chapuis-Lardy L (2016) Soil microbial functional capacity and diversity in a millet-shrub intercropping system of semi-arid Senegal. J Arid Environ 129:71–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Diedhiou-Sall S, Dossa EL, Diedhiou I, Badiane AN, Assigbetse KB, Samba SAN, Khouma M, Sene M, Dick RP, Assigbetse KB, Samba N, Arona S, Khouma M, Sène M, Dick RP (2013) Microbiology and macrofaunal activity in soil beneath shrub canopies during residue decomposition in agroecosystems of the Sahel. Soil Sci Soc Am J 77(2):501–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dossa EL, Bakam J, Kkouma M, Sene M, Kizito F, Dick RP (2008) Phosphorus sorption and desorption in semiarid soils of Senegal amended with native shrub residues. Soil Sci 173(10):669–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dossa EL, Khouma M, Diedhiou I, Sène M, Kizito F, Badiane AN, Samba SAN, Dick RP (2009) Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus mineralization potential of semiarid Sahelian soils amended with native shrub residues. Geoderma 148(3–4):251–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dossa EL, Diedhiou S, Compton JE, Assigbetse KB, Dick RP (2010) Spatial patterns of P fractions and chemical properties in soils of two native shrub communities in Senegal. Plant Soil 327(1–2):185–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dossa EL, Diedhiou I, Khouma M, Sène M, Lufafa A, Kizito F, Samba SAN, Badiane AN, Diedhiou S, Dick RP (2012) Crop productivity and nutrient dynamics in a shrub (G. senegalensis)-based farming system of the Sahel. Agron J 104(5):1255–1264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dossa EL, Diedhiou I, Khouma M, Sène M, Badiane AN, Samba SAN, Assigbetse KB, Sall S, Lufafa A, Kizito F, Dick RP, Saxena J (2013) Crop productivity and nutrient dynamics in a shrub (Piliostigma reticulatum)-based farming system of the Sahel. Agron J 105(4):1237–1246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Edmunds WM, Gaye CB (1997) Naturally high nitrate concentrations in Groundwaters from the Sahel. J Environ Qual 26(5):1231–1239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. FAO (2015) Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations Statistical Database. Technical report, RomeGoogle Scholar
  27. Garcia-Huidobro J, Monteith JL, Squire GR, Squire R, Squire GR (1982) Time, temperature and germination of pearl millet (Pennisetum typhoides S.H.) 2: alternating temperature. J Exp Bot 33(133):288–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gaze SR, Brouwer J, Simmonds LP, Bromley J (1998) Dry season water use patterns under Guiera senegalensis L. shrubs in a tropical savanna. J Arid Environ 40(1):53–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ghezzehei TA, Albalasmeh AA (2015) Spatial distribution of rhizodeposits provides built-in water potential gradient in the rhizosphere. Ecol Model 298:53–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Google Inc. (2016). Google earth (version [computer software]. Available from Accessed 15 September 2016
  31. Griffin JJ, Ranney TG, Pharr DM (2004) Heat and drought influence photosynthesis, water relations, and soluble carbohydrates of two ecotypes of redbud (Cercis canadensis). J Am Soc Hortic Sci 129(4):497–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hernandez RR, Debenport SJ, Leewis MCCE, Ndoye F, Nkenmogne KIE, Soumare A, Thuita M, Gueye M, Miambi E, Chapuis-Lardy L, Diedhiou I, Dick RP (2015) The native shrub, Piliostigma reticulatum, as an ecological “resource island” for mango trees in the Sahel. Agric Ecosyst Environ 204:51–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Horton R, Wierenga PJ, Nielsen DR (1983) Evaluation of methods for determining the apparent thermal diffusivity of soil near the Surface1. Soil Sci Soc Am J 47(1):–25Google Scholar
  34. Huda AKS, Sivakumar MVK, Alagarswamy G, Virmani SM, Vanderlip RL (1984) Problems and prospects in modeling pearl millet growth and development: a suggested framework for a millet model. Agrometeorol of Sorghum Millet Semi-Arid Trop, pp 297–306Google Scholar
  35. Jackson RD, Kirkham D (1958) Method of measurement of the real thermal diffusivity of moist soil. Soil Sci Soc Am J 22(6):–479Google Scholar
  36. Kessler JJ (1992) The influence of karite (Vitellaria paradoxa) and nere (Parkia biglobosa) trees on sorghum production in Burkina Faso. Agrofor Syst 17:97–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kinzli K-D, Manana N, Oad R (2011) Comparison of laboratory and field calibration of a soil-moisture capacitance probe for various soils. J Irrig Drain Eng 138(4):310–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kizito F, Dragila M, Sène M, Lufafa A, Diedhiou I, Dick RP, Selker JS, Dossa E, Khouma M, Badiane A, Ndiaye S (2006) Seasonal soil water variation and root patterns between two semi-arid shrubs co-existing with pearl millet in Senegal, West Africa. J Arid Environ 67(3):436–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kizito F, Sène M, Dragila M, Lufafa A, Diedhiou I, Dossa E, Cuenca R, Selker J, Dick R, Sene M, Dragila M, Lufafa A, Diedhiou I, Dossa E, Cuenca R, Selker J, Dick R (2007) Soil water balance of annual crop native shrub systems in Senegal’s Peanut Basin: the missing link. Agric Water Manag 90(1–2):137–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kizito F, Dragila MI, Sène M, Brooks JR, Meinzer FC, Diedhiou I, Diouf M, Lufafa A, Dick RP, Selker J, Cuenca R (2012) Hydraulic redistribution by two semi-arid shrub species: implications for Sahelian agro-ecosystems. J Arid Environ 83(0):69–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kroener E, Zarebanadkouki M, Kaestner A, Carminati A (2014) Nonequilibrium water dynamics in the rhizosphere: How mucilage affects water flow in soils. Water Resour Res 50:6479–6495.
  42. Lahmar R, Bationo BA, Dan Lamso N, Guéro Y, Tittonell P (2011) Tailoring conservation agriculture technologies to West Africa semi-arid zones: building on traditional local practices for soil restoration. Field Crops Res 132:158–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mahalakshmi V, Bidinger FR (1985) Flowering response of pearl millet to water-stress during panicle development. Ann Appl Biol 106(3):571–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mahalingam R (2014) Combined stresses in plants: physiological, molecular, and biochemical aspects. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  45. Maiti RK, Bidinger FR (1981) Growth and development of the pearl millet plant. Research bulletin no. 6. Technical report, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid TropicsGoogle Scholar
  46. Masojídek J, Trivedi S, Halshaw L, Alexiou A, Hall DO (1991) The synergistic effect of drought and light stresses in sorghum and pearl millet. Plant Physiol 96(1):198–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McCulley RL, Jobbagy EG, Pockman WT, Jackson RB (2004) Nutrient uptake as a contributing explanation for deep rooting in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Oecologia 141(4):620–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McElrone AJ, Pockman WT, Martinez-Vilalta J, Jackson RB, Martinez-Vilalta J, Jackson RB, Martinez-Vilalta J, Jackson RB (2004) Variation in xylem structure and function in stems and roots of trees to 20 m depth. New Phytol 163(3):507–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Michéli E, Schad P, Spaargaren O (2006) World reference base for soil resources 2006: a framework for international classification, correlation and communication. Food and agriculture organization of the united nations (FAO), RomeGoogle Scholar
  50. Nemes A, Pachepsky YA, Timlin DJ (2011) Toward improving global estimates of field soil water capacity. Soil Sci Soc Am J 75(3):807–812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Neumann RB, Cardon ZG (2012) The magnitude of hydraulic redistribution by plant roots: a review and synthesis of empirical and modeling studies. New Phytol 194(2):337–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Nicou R (1986) Influence of soil ploughing on soil physical properties and growth of annual crops in semiarid West Africa: relevance to tree planting. For Ecol Manag 16:103–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ong CK (1983) Response to temperature in a stand of pearl millet (Pennisetum typhoides S. & H.). J Exp Bot 34(3):322–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ong CK, Monteith JL (1985) Response of pearl millet to light and temperature. Field Crops Res 11:141–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Peacock JM (1982) Response and tolerance of sorghum to temperature stress. Technical report, International Crops Research lnstltute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, PatancheruGoogle Scholar
  56. Petrie CL, Hall AE (1992) Water relations in cowpea and pearl millet under soil water deficits. I. Contrasting leaf water relations. Funct Plant Biol 19(6):577–589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. R Core Team (2016) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical ComputingGoogle Scholar
  58. Renaud L (1961) Le Precambrien du sud-ouest de la Mauritanie et du Senegal oriental. PhD thesis, ParisGoogle Scholar
  59. Richards JH, Caldwell MM (1987) Hydraulic lift - substantial nocturnal water transport between soil layers by Artemisia-tridentata roots. Oecologia 73(4):486–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Schneider U, Becker A, Finger P, Meyer-Christoffer A, Ziese M, Rudolf B (2014) GPCC’s new land surface precipitation climatology based on quality-controlled in situ data and its role in quantifying the global water cycle. Theor Appl Climatol 115(1–2):15–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Sharma H, Shukla MK, Bosland PW, Steiner R (2017) Soil moisture sensor calibration, actual evapotranspiration, and crop coefficients for drip irrigated greenhouse chile peppers. Agric Water Manag 179:81–91Google Scholar
  62. Sivakumar MVK (1988) Predicting rainy season potential from the onset of rains in southern Sahelian and Sudanian climatic zones of West Africa. Agric For Meteorol 42:295–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Topp GC, Davis JL, Annan AP (1980) Electromagnetic determination of soil water content: measurements in coaxial transmission lines. Water Resour Res 16(3):574–582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. United Nations (2014) 2014-2016 strategic response plan Sahel region. Technical report January, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)Google Scholar
  65. USDA (2015) Crop values: 2014 summary. Technical Report February, United States Department of AgricultureGoogle Scholar
  66. Van Noordwijk M, Ong CK (1999) Can the ecosystem mimic hypotheses be applied to farms in African savannahs? Agrofor Syst 45(13):131–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Van Oosterom EJ, Bidinger FR, Weltzien ER (2003) A yield architecture framework to explain adaptation of pearl millet to environmental stress. Field Crops Res 80(1):33–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Vanlauwe B, Wendt J, Diels J (2001) Combined application of organic matter and fertilizer. In: Sustaining Soil Fertility in West Africa, (sustainingsoilf), pp. 247–280Google Scholar
  69. Watts WR (1972) Leaf extension in Zea mays II. Leaf extension in response to independent variation of the temperature of the apical meristem, of the air around the leaves, and of the root-zone. J Exp Bot 23(3):713–721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wezel A, Böcker R (1999) Mulching with branches of an indigenous shrub (Guiera senegalensis) and yield of millet in semi-arid Niger. Soil Tillage Res 50:341–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wezel A, Rajot J-LL, Herbrig C (2000) Influence of shrubs on soil characteristics and their function in Sahelian agro-ecosystems in semi-arid Niger. J Arid Environ 44(4):383–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Zurmühl T, Durner W (1998) Determination of parameters for bimodal hydraulic functions by inverse modeling. Soil Sci Soc Am J 62(4):874–880CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of California MercedMercedUSA
  2. 2.École Nationale Supérieure d’AgricultureUniversité de ThièsThiès EscaleSénégal
  3. 3.School of Environment and Natural ResourcesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations