Trees, grasses, and weeds: species choices in farmed-developed contour hedgerows uri icon

abstract

  • Innovations intended to conserve soils and improve soil nutrient cycling have not been widely adopted because of technical problems and lack of fit with farmers' circumstances. Research in Claveria, the Philippines, facilitated and monitored farmers' adaptation of contour hedgerows to fit their particular needs. Farmers tested diffeent establishment methods and many hedgerow species. They initially planted a combination of Gliricidia sepium (a legume tree) and Pennisetum purpureum. (grass). Later adoptors chose fodder grasses (especially Setaria spp.) or naturally occuring vegetation in their hedgerows-either solely or in combination with other species, including weeds such as Rottboellia cochinchinensis identified as crop problems. Upland rice and maize farmers who adopted contour hedgerows from 1987 through 1991 were interviewed in 1992. Although hedgerow-crop competition, grazing by neighbors' cattle, and added labor were problems, farmers viewed hedgerows as a way to reduce soil erosion and provide fodder. Farmers planting mulberry were disappointed after a silkworm project folded. Farmers now face the problem of soil nutrient depletion, leading to fallowing of fields with hedgerows and shifting to other parcels. A farmer decision tree model of the minimum necessary criteria for sustainable adoption of contour hedgerows is hypothesized.

publication date

  • 1994
  • 1994
  • 1994