Good Practice Examples

Description of Good Practice

Hazard Addressed

Vermiculture, Cuba: The potential of composting to turn on-farm waste materials into a farm resource makes vermiculture an attractive option to enhance agro-and ecosystem resilience. Vermicomposting uses earthworms for composting organic residues, adding important quantities of nitrate, potassium, calcium and magnesium to the soil. This offers numerous benefits such as enhanced soil fertility and soil health, thereby increased agricultural productivity, improved soil biodiversity, reduced ecological risks and a better environment in reduced times of up to three weeks. 

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 Ecological Risks

Establishing grass barriers, Grenada: A culturally appropriate mitigation practice against the impacts of soil and wind erosion is the establishment of grass barriers along the contour in areas that need stabilization or where soil degradation is likely. It is a highly sustainable and effective technology, suitable to most micro-climatic and topographical zones in Grenada. These vegetative barriers are narrow, permanent strips of stiff stemmed, tall and perennial vegetation established in parallel rows and perpendicular to the dominant slope of the field. This system reduces surface runoff through detention and infiltration, diverting runoff to a stable outlet and traps sediment-borne and soluble contaminants facilitating their transformation. Farming systems with livestock may benefit from planting a grass with high protein content to use as fodder. A grass with high commercial value may constitute an alternative income source. 

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Storms/Soil Erosion/ Landslides

Strip cropping system, Grenada: Strip cropping has being advocated and adopted by conservationists and agricultural technicians in Grenada in the late 1950s for the first time as a soil conservation practice in response to the detrimental effects of Hurricane Janet in 1955. Implemented on various farms, particularly in areas where farming is done on slopes greater than 10 degrees has proved to be very effective in soil and water conservation. Strip cropping is a sustainable practice to break the cycle of soil erosion and soil quality degradation. It is extremely effective due to precise arrangement of the alternating strips in the field. The crops are arranged so that a strip of grass or close-growing crop is alternated with a clean-tilled strip or a strip with less protective cover. Generally, the strips are spaced equally across the field. Strip cropping is presently practiced in hillside areas including Madigras and Points Field, and the flood prone area of Lasagesse, part of the Eastern Agricultural District. 

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Planting trees along the borders and/or at the centre of the plot, Haiti: This practice may be applied in any environment suitable to regular cultivation of crops in order to mitigate the impacts of all weather related disasters, hurricanes included. The perceived benefits are multiple, among which: taller trees' protection of the co-located or understory crops against strong winds; trees cushioning the impact of raindrops on the soil, thus reducing rain-splash erosion; roots binding the soil, further mitigating erosion processes; reduction of soil temperature and of the amount of water that evaporates into the air through shading of the soil. Trees also break the wind, reducing the amount of wind erosion; they recycle nutrients from deep in the soil, and leguminous trees fix nitrogen that can benefit food crops. Besides all this, trees provide further economic and social benefit if high value or domestic consumption or fodder crops are planted. 

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Storms/Soil Erosion/

Construction of a traditional granary (colombier), Haiti: In order to secure grains and beans from being washed away or otherwise damaged by catastrophic events such as droughts, floods, rains and windstorms, Haiti has resorted to a traditional practice: the “colombier". This structure is built on tall posts, and can also function as a farm household kitchen, constituted by the granary ground-floor, or as a general purpose warehouse where grains and foodstuff can be stored even for extended periods of time.

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Hedgerows/Alley Cropping, Jamaica: Planting trees in rows and food or cash crops between them is a practice successful for controlling soil erosion, increasing water-holding capacity of soil, diversifying agricultural production, reducing deforestation and generally improving soil fertility and productivity. In alley cropping, fast-growing nitrogen fixing trees are planted in rows, and food or cash crops planted in the space (alley) between the rows. This practice has a high level of acceptance in local population because of its ease of implementation, its effectiveness in controlling soil erosion, and low financial implications. The practice of Alley Cropping is currently being promoted in Southern Trelawny, Jamaica. 

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Overview of all field tested good practices 

last updated:  Monday, January 31, 2011