Advertisement

Soil Quality and Agricultural Sustainability in Semi-arid Areas

  • Msafiri Yusuph Mkonda
  • Xinhua He
Chapter
Part of the Sustainable Agriculture Reviews book series (SARV, volume 32)

Abstract

Soil quality and agricultural sustainability are required to feed about nine billion people by the year 2050. To feed such a population, the planet ought to increase food production by 60%. To attain agricultural sustainability, there should be a balance among biophysical, economic and social dimensions under which soil quality is a core aspect. It is worthwhile to explore soil quality versus agricultural sustainability in sub-Saharan countries because the population is expected to increase by 80%. This chapter reviews the current agronomic practices in countries characterized by semiarid agro-ecological zones and their implications to soil quality and agricultural sustainability, using Tanzania as a case study.

We found that agro-pastoralism based on maize, sorghum, millet, sheep, cattle and cow is a current dominant agricultural system but with low yields. Monoculture has contributed to the degradation of soil quality. Drought has raised issues to already stressed ecosystems and made rain-fed agriculture a vulnerable and unsustainable livelihood for smallholder farmers. This situation has reduced the per capita grain harvested area from 0.6 to less than 0.4 ha and thus, affected for more than 70% the smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. Fortunately, areas using fertilizations of animal manure and other organic soil management practices have increased soil fertility and crop yields from 0.82 tn ha−1 under no-fertilization to 1.8 tn ha−1 under organic fertilization.

Keywords

Agricultural sustainability Climate change Ecology Food security Nutrient use efficiency Organic fertilizations Semiarid Smallholder farmers Soils quality Tanzania 

Notes

Acknowledgement

The authors are thankful to the Editor-in-Chief of Sustainable Agricultural Reviews, Professor Eric Lichtfouse for inviting them to write a chapter in “Ecology for agriculture”. They are also appreciative to the reviewers for the constructive comments and insights.

References

  1. Ahmed S, Deffenbaugh N, Hertel T, Lobell D, Ramankutty N, Rios A, Rowhani P (2011) Climate volatility and poverty vulnerability in Tanzania. Glob Environ Chang 21(2011):46–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrews SS (1998) Sustainable agriculture alternatives: ecological and managerial implications of poultry litter management alternatives applied to agronomic soils. PhD dissertation. University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USAGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrews SS, Carroll CR (2001) Designing a soil quality assessment tool for sustainable agroecosystem management. Ecol Appl 11(6):1573–1585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bationo A, Kihara J, Vanlauwe B, Waswa B, Kimetu J (2006) Soil organic carbon dynamics, functions and management in West African agro-ecosystems. Agric Syst 94(1):13–25.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2005.08.011 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Birch-Thomsen T, Elberling B, Bjarne F, Magid J (2007) Temporal and spatial trends in soil organic carbon stocks following maize cultivation in semi-arid Tanzania. Springer, East Africa.Google Scholar
  6. Blythe JL (2013) Social-ecological analysis of integrated agriculture aquaculture systems in Dedza, Malawi. Environ Dev Sustain 15:1143–1155.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-012-9429-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bockstaller C, Girardin P, van der Werf HMG (1997) Use of agro-ecological indicators for the evaluation of farming systems. Eur J Agron 7:261–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Branca G, Lipper L, McCarthy N, Jolejole M (2013) Food security, climate change, and sustainable land management. Agron Sustain Dev 33:635–650.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-013-0133-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chai Q, Gan Y, Zhao C, Xu H, Waskom R, Niu Y, Siddique K (2015) Regulated deficit irrigation for crop production under drought stress, Agron Sustain Dev. Diplomacy of a New State. NOK Publishers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Christensen B (1988) Effects of animal manure and mineral fertilizer on the total carbon and nitrogen contents of soil size fractions. Biol Fertil Soils 5:304–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Doran JW, Parkin TB (1994) Defining and assessing soil quality. In: Doran JW, Coleman DC, Bezdicek DF, Stewart BA (eds) Defining soil quality for a sustainable environment. SSSA, Inc., MadisonGoogle Scholar
  12. Doran J., Zeiss M. (2000). Soil health and sustainability: managing the biotic component of soil quality. Appl Soil Ecol. 15, 1, pg 3–11  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0929-1393(00)00067-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Duru M (2015) How to implement biodiversity-based agriculture to enhance ecosystem services. Agron Sustain Dev 35:1259–1281.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-015-0306-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Duru M, Therond O, Fares M (2015) Designing agroecological transitions. Agron Sustain Devaluation of farming systems. Eur J Agron 7:261–270Google Scholar
  15. European Union (2012) Agriculture and Rural Development http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture
  16. FAO (2006) Conservation agriculture for SARD and food security in Southern and Eastern Africa. Terminal report, Kenya and TanzaniaGoogle Scholar
  17. FAO (2008) Investing in sustainable agricultural intensification: the role of conservation agriculture. A Framework for Action, RomeGoogle Scholar
  18. FAO (2012) Conservation agriculture and sustainable crop intensification in Karatu District, Tanzania, Integrated crop management, vol 15. Food and agriculture organization of the United nations (FAO), RomeGoogle Scholar
  19. FAO (2013) Climate-smart agriculture sourcebook. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  20. Giller K, Witter E, Corbeels M, Tittonell P (2009) Conservation agriculture and smallholder farming in Africa: The heretics’ view. Field Crops Res 114:23–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Glaser B, Lehmann J, Führböter M, Solomon D, Zech W (2001) Carbon and nitrogen mineralization in cultivated and natural savanna soils of Northern Tanzania. Biol Fertil Soils 33:301–309.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s003740000324 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hartemink AE (1997) Soil fertility decline in some Major Soil Groupings under permanent cropping in Tanga Region, Tanzania. Geoderma 75:245–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hartemink AE, Veldkamp T, Bai Z (2008) Land cover change and soil fertility decline in tropical regions. Turk J Agric For 32:195–213Google Scholar
  24. Herdt RW, Steiner RA (1995) Agricultural sustainability: concepts and conundrums. In: Barnett in East Africa: the impacts of resource variability on human security Clim Change.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-010-9884-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Huang Y, Li YP, Chen X, Ma YG (2012) Optimization of the irrigation water resources for agricultural sustainability in Tarim River Basin, China. Agric Water Manag 107:74–85.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2012.01.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. IPCC (2000) Land use, land use change and forestry, a special report of the IPCC (Watson RT, Noble IR, Bolin B, Ravondranath NH, Verardo DJ, Dokken DJ, eds). Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. IPCC (2014) Climate Change 2014 impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part A: global and sectoral aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Field CB, Barros VR, Estrada, Genova RC, Girma B, Kissel ES, Levy AN, MacCracken S, Mastrandrea PR, White LL, eds). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Kalhapure A, Shete B, Dhonde M (2013) Integrated nutrient management in maize (Zea Mays L.) for increasing production with sustainability. Int J Agric Food Sci Technol 4(3):195–206 ISSN 2249-3050, http://www.ripublication.com/ ijafst.htmGoogle Scholar
  29. Kalra RKB, Tonts AM, Siddique KHM (2013) Self-help groups in Indian agriculture: a case study of farmer groups in Punjab, Northern India. Agroecol Sustain Food Syst 37:509–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kangalawe R (2016) Climate change impacts on water resource management and community livelihoods in the southern highlands of Tanzania. Clim Dev.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2016.1139487 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kangalawe R, Lyimo G (2013) Climate Change, Adaptive Strategies and Rural Livelihoods in Semiarid Tanzania. Nat Res 2013(4):266–278.  https://doi.org/10.4236/nr.2013.43034 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kangalawe R, Mung’ong’o C, Mwakaje A, Kalumanga E, Yanda P (2016) Climate change and variability impacts on agricultural production and livelihood systems in Western Tanzania. Clim Dev.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2016.1146119 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kareemulla K, Venkattakumar R, Samuel M (2017) An analysis on agricultural sustainability in India. Curr Sci 112(258):2Google Scholar
  34. Karlen D, Ditzlerb C, Andrewsa S (2003) Soil quality: why and how? Geoderma 114:145–156.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0016-7061(03)00039-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kimaro A, Mpanda M, Rioux J, Aynekulu E, Shaba S, Thiong’o M, Mutuo P, Abwanda S, Shepherd K, Neufeldt H, Rosenstock TS (2015) Is conservation agriculture ‘climate-smart’ for maize farmers in the highlands of Tanzania? Springer-Verlag, Berlin/Heidelberg. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10705-015-9711-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lal R (1998) Basic concepts and global issues: soil quality and agricultural sustainability. In: Lal R (ed) Soil quality and agricultural sustainability. Ann Arbor Science, Chelsea, pp 3–12Google Scholar
  37. Lema MA, Majule AE (2009) Impacts of climate change, variability and adaptation strategies on agriculture in semi-arid areas of Tanzania: the case of Manyoni District in Singida Region. Tanzan J Environ Sci Technol 3:206–218Google Scholar
  38. Li YP, Huang GH, Wang GQ, Huang YF (2009) FSWM: a hybrid fuzzy-stochastic water management model for agricultural sustainability under uncertainty. Agric Water Manag 96:1807–1818.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2009.07.019 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Li W, Li YP, Li CH, Huang GH (2010) An inexact two-stage water management model for planning cultural irrigation under uncertainty. Agric Water Manag 97:1905–1914.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2010.07.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lichtfouse E, Navarrete M, Debaeke P et al (2009). Agron Sustain Dev 29:1.  https://doi.org/10.1051/agro:2008054 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McDonagh JF, Birch-Thomsen T, Magic J (2001) Soil organic matter decline and compositional change associated with cereal cropping in Southern Tanzania. Land Degrad Dev:13–26.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.419 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Medeiros C, Serrano R, Martos J, Girón V (1997) Effect of various soil tillage systems on structure development in a Haploxeralf of central Spain. Soil Technol 11(2):197–204.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0933-3630(96)00131-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mkonda MY, He XH (2017a) Conservation agriculture in Tanzania. In: Lichtfouse (ed) Sustainable agriculture reviews 22. Springer, Switzerland, pp 309–324.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48006-0_10 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mkonda MY, He XH (2017b) Long-term chemical fertilization in Tanzania. In: Lichtfouse (ed) Sustainable agriculture reviews 25. Springer, Switzerland, pp 261–276.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-58679-3_9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mkonda MY, He XH (2017c) Yields of the major food crops: implications to food security and policy in Tanzania’s semi-arid agro-ecological zone. Sustainability 9:1490.  https://doi.org/10.3390/su9081490 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mkonda MY, He XH (2017d) Sustainable environmental conservation in East Africa through agroforestry systems: a case of the eastern arc mountains of Tanzania. Int J Sustain Green Energy 6(4):49–56.  https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ijrse.20170604.11 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Monfreda C, Ramankutty N, Foley JA (2008) Farming the planet. 2. Geographic distribution of crop areas, yields, physiological types, and net primary production in the year 2000. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 22:GB1022.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2007GB002947 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Msongaleli B, Rwehumbiza F, Tumbo S, Kihupi N (2015) Impacts of climate variability and change on rain-fed sorghum and maize: implications for food security policy in Tanzania. J Agric Sci 7(5).  https://doi.org/10.5539/jas.v7n5p124
  49. Nezomba H, Tauro TP, Mtambanengwe F, Mapfumo P (2010) Indigenous legume fallows (indifallows) as an alternative soil fertility resource in smallholder maize cropping systems. Field Crop Res 115:149–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nyadzi G, Janssen B, Oenema O (2006) Analysis of the effects of rotational woodlots on the nutrition and yield of maize following trees in western Tanzania. Agric Ecosyst Environ 116:93–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Nyong A, Francis A, Osman-Elasha B (2007) The value of indigenous knowledge in climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in the African Sahel. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Chang 12:787–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Okeyo A, Muchera-Muna M, Mugwe J, Ngetich K, Mugendi D, Diels J, Shisanya C (2014) Effects of selected soil and water conservation technologies on nutrient losses and maize yields in the central highlands of Kenya. Agric Water Manag 137:52–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Osman-Elasha B, Goutbi N, Spanger-Siegfried E, Dougherty B, Hanafi H, Zakieldeen S, Sanjak A, Atti H, Elhassan, H (2006) Adaptation strategies to increase human resilience against climate variability and change: lessons from the arid regions of Sudan. AIACC Working Paper No. 42Google Scholar
  54. Paavola J (2008) Livelihoods, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in Morogoro. Tanzan Environ Sci Policy 11:642–654.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Partey ST, Thevathasan NV (2013) Agronomic potentials of rarely-used agroforestry species for smallholder agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: an exploratory study. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 44(11):1733–1748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pauline N, Vogel C, Grab S, Liwenga E (2016) Smallholder farmers in the Great Ruaha River sub-Basin of Tanzania: coping or adapting to rainfall variability? Clim Dev:1–14.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17565529.2016.1184607 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Poppy GM, Chiotha S, Eigenbrod F, Harvey C, Honzák M, Hudson M, Dawson T (2014) Food security in a perfect storm: using the ecosystem services framework to increase understanding. Philos Trans R Soc Lond Ser B Biol Sci 369(1639):20120288.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2012.0288 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Pretty J, Noble A, Dixon J, Hine J, Penning de Vries F, Morison J (2006) Resource-conserving agriculture increases yields in developing countries. Environ Sci Technol 40:1114–1119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rowhani P, Lobell DB, Linderman M, Ramankutty N (2011a) Climate variability and crop production in Tanzania. Agric For Meteorol Sci Direct 151(2011):449–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rowhani P, Degomme O, Guha-Sapir D, Lambin E (2011b) Malnutrition and conflict in East Africa: the impacts of resource variability on human security. Clim Change 105:207–222.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-010-9884-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Rusinamhodzi L, Corbeels M, van Wijk MT, Rufino MC, Nyamangara J., Giller K. E. (2011). A meta-analysis of long-term effects of conservation agriculture on maize grain yield under rain-fed conditions. Agron Sustain Dev 31: 657-673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Sharma BR, Minhas PS (2005) Strategies for managing saline/alkali waters for sustainable agricultural production in South Asia. Agric Water Manag 78:136–151.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2005.04.019 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sieber S, Tscherning K, Graef F, Sergio U, Paloma G (2015) Food security in the context of climate change and bioenergy production in Tanzania: methods, tools and applications, vol 15. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, pp 1163–1168.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-015-0834-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Solomon T, Snyman H, Smit G (2007) Cattle-rangeland management practices and perceptions of pastoralists towards rangeland degradation in the Borana zone of southern Ethiopia. J Environ Manag 82:481–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sosovele H, Schechambo F, Kisanga D (1999) Rethinking natural resource degradation in semi-arid Sub-Saharan Africa: the case of semi-arid Tanzania. ODI, University of Dar Es Salaam, TanzaniaGoogle Scholar
  66. Thierfelder C, Wall PC (2009) Effects of conservation agriculture techniques on infiltration and soil water content in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Soil Tillage Res 28:209–220.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-2743.2012.00406.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Tilman D, Cassman KG, Matson PA, Naylor R, Polasky S (2002) Agricultural sustainability and intensive production practices. Nature 418:671–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. UNEP (2011) Food and ecological security: identifying synergy and trade-offs. UNEP, Nairobi http://www.unep.org/ecosystemmanagement/Portals/7/Documents/unep_policy_series/Food and Ecological solutionsJS.pdf Google Scholar
  69. UNEP (2012) Avoiding future famines: Ecological foundation sustainable food systems. United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), NairobiGoogle Scholar
  70. URT (2007) United Republic of Tanzania, National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA). Division of Environment, Vice President’s Office, Dar es, SalaamGoogle Scholar
  71. URT (2012) [Tanzania] National Sample Census of Agriculture 2007/2008 Small Holder Agriculture: Regional Report – Singida Region (Volume Vm). United Republic of Tanzania, Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries, Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Environment, ZanzibarGoogle Scholar
  72. URT (2014) Review of food and agricultural policies in the United Republic of Tanzania, MAFAP Country Report Series. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  73. Vanlauwe B (2004) Integrated soil fertility management research at TSBF: the framework, the principles, and their application. In: Bationo A (ed) Managing nutrient cycles to sustain soil fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa. Academy Science Publishers, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  74. Vanlauwe B., Wendt J., Giller K. et al. (2014). A fourth principle is required to define conservation agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa: the appropriate use of fertilizer to enhance crop productivity. Field Crops Res 155. pg 10–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Vermeulen S, Campbell B, Ingram J (2012) Climate change and food systems. Annu Rev Environ Resour 37(1):195–222.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-020411-130608 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wall PC, Thierfelder C, Ngwira A, Govaerts B, Nyagumbo I, Baudron F (2013) Conservation agriculture in Eastern and Southern Africa. In: Jat RA, Graziano de Silva J (eds) Conservation agriculture: global prospects and challenges. CABI, Cambridge ISBN-13: 9781780642598Google Scholar
  77. Yanda P (2015) Climate change implications for management and use of agricultural biodiversity resources in Africa. Environ Ecol Res 3(2):35–43 http://www.hrpub.org.  https://doi.org/10.13189/eer.2015.030201 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Msafiri Yusuph Mkonda
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xinhua He
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre of Excellence for Soil Biology, College of Resources and EnvironmentSouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Solomon Mahlangu College of Science and EducationSokoine University of AgricultureMorogoroTanzania
  3. 3.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

Personalised recommendations