Land husbandry - Components and strategy

Table of contents

Eric Roose


Director of Soils Research

Montpellier, France

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Rome, 1996

Soil Resources Management and Conservation Service Land and Water Development Division, FAO

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


ISBN 92-5-103451-6

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© FAO 1996



Acronyms and abbreviations



Part one: Erosion control strategies and the concept of land husbandry

Chapter 1. Definitions: words conceal a philosophy

Soil loss tolerance
Erosion varies according to place: different agents, two perspectives
Erosion varies according to time
Soil degradation
Factors in the water balance

Chapter 2. History of erosion control strategies

Soil erosion and population density
Traditional erosion control strategies
Modern strategies for developing rural water infrastructures
Land husbandry

Chapter 3. Some social and economic aspects of erosion

Erosion crisis diversity
Who is concerned by erosion control?
The importance of exceptional rainstorms
Erosion effects in different regions
Effects of erosion on the eroded site: loss of productivity
Negative off-site effects of erosion
The economic rationale for land husbandry
Criteria for the success of soil conservation projects
Morroco case study: socio-economic study of erosion control in the Loukkos Basin

Part two: Erosion control as a response to various erosion processes

Chapter 4. Dry mechanical erosion

Definition, forms, dynamics
Causative factors
Erosion control methods

Chapter 5. Sheet erosion: the initial phase of water erosion

Forms and symptoms of sheet erosion
Cause and dynamics of sheet erosion
Wischmeier and Smith's Empirical Soil Loss Model (USLE)
Soil erodibility
The topographical factor
Effects of plant cover
Influence of cropping techniques
Erosion control strategies
Erosion control practices
The P factor in Wischmeier's equation
Erosion control structures as related to water management methods
Variability of erosion factors
Conclusions on the applicability of the USLE in Africa
Implementation of Wischmeier's erosion forecast model

Chapter 6. Linear erosion

Forms of linear erosion
The cause and processes of linear erosion
Factors in runoff
Controlling runoff and linear erosion
Cost effective gully treatment

Chapter 7. Mass movement

Forms of mass movement
Causes and processes of mass movements
Risk factors
Mass movement control

Chapter 8. Wind erosion

Forms of wind structures
Effects of wind erosion
Factors affecting the extent of wind erosion
Wind erosion control

Part three: Case studies

Chapter 9. The wide range of erosion control strategies in West Africa: from subequatorial forest to Sudano-Sahelian savannah

Erosion control in the subequatorial forest zone of the Abidjan region of southern Côte d'Ivoire
Erosion control in the humid, tropical, Sudanian savannah of Korhogo in northern Côte d'Ivoire
Erosion control in the tropical savannah environment of the Koutiala region of Mali: strictly rainfed farming
Erosion control in the Sudano-Sahelian savannah of the Ouahigouya region of north-western Burkina Faso: runoff farming
Erosion control in the northern Sahelian zone around the Doti marches in Burkina Faso: valley farming

Chapter 10. Development of the Bamiléké bocage

The situation
Diagnosis: relatively fragile environments
Effective traditional techniques
Some suggested improvements

Chapter 11. Agroforestry, mineral fertilization and land husbandry in Rwanda

The situation
Analysis of local conditions
Traditional techniques
Suggestions for managing surface water
Suggestions for managing soil fertility

Chapter 12. A new approach to erosion control in Haiti

The situation
Analysis of local conditions
Farmers' traditional strategies and their limitations
Control measures

Chapter 13. Agricultural erosion in the Ecuadorian Andes

The situation
Soil erosion: diagnosis and source
Hazards: the impact of erosion on the agricultural environment
Suggested improvements

Chapter 14. The Mediterranean Montane Region of Algeria

The situation
Diagnosis: trial conditions
Suggested improvements: influence of the farming system

Chapter 15. Pays de Caux: a temperate, field-crop region in north-western France

The situation
Local conditions
Hazards: the erosion process and its negative effects
Solutions and measures adopted

Prospects and orientations

Land husbandry: a new philosophy
Land husbandry: a strategy for action


Further reading