PhD defence

Optimizing Soil and Water Management in Dryland Farming Systems in Cabo Verde

This thesis investigated soil and land management techniques for Cabo-Verdean dryland farming to increase the efficiency of rainwater and crop yield, combining traditional and scientific knowledge in a field-based participatory approach. Field experiments were conducted in different agro-ecological zones of Santiago Island to evaluate the effects of water-conservation techniques combined with organic amendments on runoff, erosion, soil nutrients and on crop yield. The PESERA-DESMICE modelling approach allowed assessing the biophysical and socio-economic benefits of the selected promising sustainable land management (SLM) technologies against a local baseline condition and their potential application at larger scale, under climate variability. The thesis presents alternative options to support moving from degrading and low yielding land management practices towards more sustainable land intensification in hilly drylands that reduce runoff and soil loss, increase crop nutrient and crop productivity, ultimately, contributing to the mitigation of climate change, food security and land degradation neutrality in Cabo Verde.