Soil Health Improvement with Gliricidia Green Leaf Manuring in Rainfed Agriculture:On Farm Experiences uri icon

abstract

  • Enrichment of soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks through sequestration of atmospheric CO2 in agriculturalsoils is important because of its impacts on soil health, agronomic production, as well as adaptation andmitigation of climate change. A high SOC concentration can be achieved through the adoption of appropriatecrop rotations, integrated nutrient management systems and conservation agriculture practices. In arid andsemi-arid regions, crop productivity is strongly influenced by soil fertility and moisture retention capacity.Therefore, restoring soil health and enhancing SOC stocks are essential for improving and sustaining agronomicproductivity.In India, rainfed cropping is practiced on 80 Mha in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid climatic zones,constituting nearly 60% of the net cultivated area. These regions are characterized by erratic rainfall, degradedsoils, poor infrastructure and tropical or subtropical environments where ambient temperature rises frequentlyabove 40-4SoC in summer. The magnitude of change in SOC due to continuous cultivation depends on thebalance between the loss of C by oxidation and erosion, the quantity and quality of crop residues returned andadditional biomass C added to the soils. Therefore, crop and soil management practices must be designed toensure sustainability of long term cropping systems. There are several strategies to improve soil carbon status.Gliricidia green leaf manuring is one of the important strategies that improves soil organic carbon, adds soilnutrients, enhances soil moisture storage as a consequence of which the crops can cope with intermittentdroughts, as well as biological health of the soil. I congratulate the authors for documenting this commendableaction research that focused on promoting Gliricidia green leaf manuring on farmers fields in degraded lands in 8 rainĀ£ed tribal districts of Andhra Pradesh and several other regions. This bulletin will be of immense useto field level workers, administrators, policy makers etc for promoting Gliricidia leaf manuring on farm bundsand waste lands and on-farm generation of organic matter to improve soil health and sustainability of rainfedsystems in India

publication date

  • 2011