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Title Restoration of degraded soils in Burkina Faso

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Short title Restoration of degraded soils

Author(s) Ouédraogo, A.(1); Hahn-Hadjali, K.(2); Kaiser, D.(3); Konaté, S.(4); Linsenmair, K.E.(3); Soulama, S.(1); Thiombiano, A.(1)

Presenting author Ouédraogo, A.

Institution(s) (1) UFR/SVT, Université de Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; (2) Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, J.W.G. University, Frankfurt/M, Germany; (3) Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg, Germany; (4) LAMTO Ecological Station, University of Abobo-Adjamé, Côte d'Ivoire

Keywords Degraded ecosystems; regeneration; soil treatment; Zaï system; termite activity

Abstract Large areas of the arid and semi-arid zones in West Africa are degraded, due to unsustainable use and intensifying climate change. More than 24 % of the surface in Burkina Faso is already heavily degraded.
The main objective of our studies was to provide low budget techniques for degraded ecosystem restoration by using local plants and improving traditional soil restoration techniques.
The studies were carried out in the Sub-Sahel and northern Sudanian zones of Burkina Faso. One part of the study sites was treated with deep ploughing and fenced against pasturing and the other part left as control. Additionally, plantations and direct sowing were done using mainly 10 Combretaceae and 4 Mimosaceae species. Survival and growth rates were followed and spontaneous plant settlings inventoried on 10 m x10 m plots.
The results show that Mimosaceae species have the best survival rate with an average of 85 % in treated sites compared to Combretaceae species with 60 %.
An impressive example for a traditional restoration method in Burkina Faso, which is making use of the positive effects termites exert on soil properties, is the Zaï practice. It is increasingly recognized that ecosystem services provided by termites are an important component of agro-ecosystems, representing an alternative to high priced inputs via mechanical treatment or fertilizers. However, strategies to improve restoration methods can only be successfully formulated on the basis of a profound knowledge of the underlying natural processes. Therefore, experiments were conducted in the main succession stages of the Zaï system to define the role of termite activity in the restoration process (see Abstract No.199). Our results clearly indicate that directing and inducing this activity will be a promising tool for optimizing the Za? technique.

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Topic No. 4.2
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Ref. No. 574