Water and Soil Conservation for Improved Crop Productivity and Water Household in Sahelian Conditions

  • Jasmien C. J. WildemeerschEmail author
  • Maman Garba
  • Mahamane Sabiou
  • Wim Cornelis
Conference paper


Over the last decades, desertification, drought and erratic rainfall have become much debated and distressing issues for Niger, given the country’s reliance on natural resources and agriculture for livelihood. A decisive answer on the causes and extent of both meteorological and soil water drought is therefore of importance to enable effective policy and resilience, but adaption to future climate change often entails the very same practices as rehabilitating degraded land to enhance water productivity. This paper investigates the extent of both meteorological and soil water drought in Niger by combining rainfall and soil water analysis and assesses the potential of various small scale WSC techniques to tackle crop growth limitations in Niger. It presents a trend analysis of rainfall and drought parameters and compares the effect of 5 treatments (zaï + manure, demi-lunes + manure, no till with scarification + manure, control + manure and control) on crop performance and soil moisture profiles. The WSC-treatments zaï and demi-lunes produce significantly higher yields due to increased soil moisture levels throughout the season. Besides the improved soil moisture conditions, the potential of WSC practices to increase the agronomic efficiency is also largely explained by their impact on the soil nutrient status.


Drought Niger Trend analysis Water conservation Soil moisture 


  1. Easterling DR et al (2000) Observed variability and trends in extreme climate events: a brief review. Bull Am Meteor Soc 81:417–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Fatondji D et al (2009) Decomposition of organic amendment and nutrient release under the zaï technique in the sahel. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 85:225–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Kendall MG (1975) Rank correlation methods. Griffin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Mann HB (1945) Non-parametric test against trend. Econometrics 13:245–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Nicholson S (2005) On the question of the ‘recovery’ of the rains in the West African Sahel. J Arid Environ 63:615–641Google Scholar
  6. Rockström J (2003) Resilience building and water demand management for drought mitigation. Phys Chem Earth 28:869–877Google Scholar
  7. Sivakumar MVK (1988) Predicting rainy season potential from the onset of rainset in Southern Sahelian and Sudanian climatic zones of West Africa. Agric For Meteor 42:295–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Wildemeersch JCJ et al (2013) Assessing the constraints for adopting water and soil conservation techniques in Tillaberí. Land Degrad Dev. doi: 10.1002/ldr.2252 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jasmien C. J. Wildemeersch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maman Garba
    • 2
  • Mahamane Sabiou
    • 2
  • Wim Cornelis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Soil Management, UNESCO Chair on EremologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Département de Gestion des Ressources Naturelles (DGRN)INRAN, CERANiameyNiger

Personalised recommendations