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The Role of Forages in Sustainable Intensification of Crop-Livestock Agro-ecosystems in the Face of Climate Change: The Case for Landscapes in Babati, Northern Tanzania

  • F. KizitoEmail author
  • B. Lukuyu
  • G. Sikumba
  • J. Kihara
  • M. Bekunda
  • D. Bossio
  • K. W. Nganga
  • A. Kimaro
  • H. Sseguya
  • B. Jumbo
  • P. Okori
Chapter

Abstract

Agro-ecosystem productivity is highly dependent on soil moisture fluxes yet climate change induces unpredictable dynamic interactions on water and nutrient resources. This study assessed on-farm seasonal productivity, runoff and soil moisture storage estimates within forage grass and forage legume intercrops at the Long site in Babati District of Northern Tanzania and how these would be impacted by climate change. The WaterWorld model was used to ascertain the impact of climate change on temperature and moisture fluxes at landscape level within these agro-ecosystems. Study results revealed a steady increase in temperature and a projected increase in rainfall over the next 40 years to the 2050s with an average future precipitation of 1300 mm yr−1 compared to the current baseline of 960 mm yr−1. On-farm seasonal water balance estimates within forage grass–forage legume intercrops revealed that with the 645 mm of rainfall received in the 2014 rainy season, evapotranspiration (ET) was the predominant factor accounting for about 75 % of the fluxes. We demonstrate that compared to the control trials, runoff levels were significantly lower in areas with forage grass–legume intercrops which translated to 20 % lower runoff levels; there was higher soil moisture storage with an average of about 25 mm (30 % higher) in areas with forage grass–forage legume intercrops than the bare plot control areas. The Napier-Desmodium and Napier-Lablab combinations had about 15 % higher soil moisture storage and 30 % higher water productivity compared to the sole Napier accessions. The sole forage grasses depicted about 15–50 % higher runoff levels compared to the Napier-Desmodium and Napier-Lablab combinations. In doing so, a combination of perennial forages (grasses and legumes) improves the sustainability of farming systems through erosion control and soil moisture retention beyond serving as feed resources. Using both qualitative and quantitative metrics from this study, we draw on the sustainable intensification indicators framework to illustrate explicit linkages on synergies and tradeoffs associated with forage interventions within smallholder farming systems. Sustainable intensification within these landscapes will thus require more innovative solutions that incorporate establishing different types of alternative forage grass–forage legume combinations coupled with other improved agronomic practices into a compendium package of interventions that allows for sustainable land use to cope with climate change and variability.

Keywords

Sustainable intensification Climate change Adaptation Farmer options Innovative solutions 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was sponsored by the USAID Feed the Future Africa RISING Program. We recognize extension officers at Long village Mr. Zahoro Madongo and Mr. Sambali Bernard for their role in data collection; Mr. Gilbert Mbesere from the Babati District Council for his dedicated efforts in soil moisture measurements throughout the study period.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Kizito
    • 1
    Email author
  • B. Lukuyu
    • 2
  • G. Sikumba
    • 2
  • J. Kihara
    • 1
  • M. Bekunda
    • 4
  • D. Bossio
    • 1
  • K. W. Nganga
    • 1
  • A. Kimaro
    • 3
  • H. Sseguya
    • 4
  • B. Jumbo
    • 5
  • P. Okori
    • 6
  1. 1.International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)KigaliRwanda
  2. 2.International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)GuwahatiIndia
  3. 3.International Center for Research in Agroforestry-World Agro-Forestry Center (ICRAF)LagunaPhilippines
  4. 4.International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)IbadanNigeria
  5. 5.International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)El BatanMexico
  6. 6.International Centre for Research in Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)PatancheruIndia

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