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Farmers’ Sustainable Strategies for Soil Conservation on Sloping Arable Lands in the Upper Yangtze River Basin, China

Sustainability

Abstract

The Upper Yangtze River Basin comprises a densely-populated agricultural region with mountainous and hilly landforms. Intensive cultivation has been extended onto steep hillslopes, which constitute the principal source area for sediment production. Soil conservation on sloping arable lands is thus of utmost priority for persisting sustainable agricultural production and maintaining sound ecosystem services. Although there have been many soil conservation techniques, either promoted by the government or adopted by local farmers, the practiced area was very limited relative to the total area affected by soil erosion. This paper attempts to introduce four popular soil conservation measures on sloping arable lands in this region to enhance a broader scale of implementation, including hedgerow buffers, level trenches, sloping terraces and limited downslope tillage. These practices, although developed from local farmers' indigenous knowledge for productive purposes, have well conformed to our contemporary understanding of soil erosion processes on sloping landscape affected by human disturbances, were of sound suitability to regional manual tillage agriculture and more trade-off-efficient on rill prevention, runoff harvest and nutrient management.

Author(s): Tang, Q; He, CS; He, XB; Bao, YH; Zhong, RH; Wen, AB

Journal: Sustainability

Year: 2014

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