What induced farmers to protect and manage on-farm tree natural regeneration in Nigerien Dryland?
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During the second half of the 20th century the Sahel experienced one of the most striking shifts in climate known globally since instrumental records began to be kept-from anomalously abundant rains in the 1950's and 1960's to progressively drier conditions in the 1970's and 1980's (Hulme, 1996; Giannini et al. 2008). Since then, the combination of recurrent droughts, the fast-growing population and increasing pressure on the scarce natural resources drastically reduced production potential (Sissoko et al. 2011). Farmers are permanently expanding agricultural land, cropping marginal areas to close yield gap and abandoning traditional practices (particularly fallowing) that formerly allowed land to rejuvenate. Many soils are become infertile or mined of nutrients, thereby jeopardizing the long-term prospects for agricultural productivity (Bationo et al. 2006). To address these constraints, innovative management practices are needed that increase soil organic matter contents and nutrient turnover, thereby improving water use efficiency and crop productivity. In the dryland of Niger farmers are embracing an innovative production system consisting of integrating trees, crop and livestock. Integrating trees into the agricultural systems already has proven to be an effective strategy to protect arid areas against land degradation and in raising the biomass used as energy sources. Reintroducing trees can help restoring degraded lands and thus allow farmers (including women) to increase the productivity of crops (Bayala et al. 2011). The specific objectives of this study are to: i) determine factors influencing the conservation of trees on farmlands and silvicultural management activity and ii) document farmers silvicultural practices on farmland and suggestions for dryland agroforestry scaling activities and farmland tree conservation.