RAMSES II: How to intensify agroforestry sustainably?

Ancient agroforestry practices in West Africa are currently facing multiple threats, testing the capacity of agroforestry systems to meet current needs for increased food production to feed a growing population. vulnerable. The question posed by this project is: "How can agroforestry be intensified sustainably?"

Agroforestry offers local agronomic, environmental, economic and social benefits that can contribute to improving food, nutrition and economic security. It is an interesting starting point to explore for the design of sustainable and resilient agricultural systems in the face of global change. The aim of the RAMSES II project is to provide innovative intensification scenarios for the four most-represented cereal crop agroforestry parks in West Africa, while optimizing their adoption by smallholders.

The approach is based on a multi-scale diagnosis of the key factors of park dynamics and the characterization of the multiple services they provide. The most advantageous intensification scenarios are designed using participatory modelling developed as part of multi-stakeholder innovation platforms:

1. At the farm level, a bioeconomic model simulates management scenarios proposed by farmers, providing them with the potential impacts on farm income and agronomic and environmental performance to help them select the best management scenarios. more adapted to their current priorities.

2. At the territorial level, all stakeholders, including authorities (state and customary) and social actors (women, youth, migrants) will co-build realistic governance that can support the chosen scenarios.

Main expected results and outputs

  • intensification scenarios selected and tested by key players in the area
  • supported by governance arrangements validated by all stakeholders, including the most vulnerable; For example, women's empowerment has important effects on children's nutrition, and tree and shrub products are a source of income for women

Main expected consequences (outcomes)

  • increased contribution of parks to food security
  • more resilient and productive farming systems in a sustainable way in the face of global change

Envisioned impacts

• Agroforestry landscapes thrive and regenerate around the studied areas, with food security is sustainably improved and poverty significantly reduced.

Project Work Packages:

WP1 Drivers of change in the Parklands will analyse the main biophysical and technical parameters. Socio-economic management factors of the four sites (dynamics, creation, extension, regression) at the scale of the landscape (task 1.1 population growth, migration, urbanization, climate (political, market volatility), village (task 1.2: drivers of changes in sectoral and land regulation, distance from villages, soils, agriculture, pastoral / transhumance, forestry practices, collective management initiatives, group behaviour, i.e. gender, crops, etc.) and farm scale (task 1.3) Cropping / farming systems, technical means, use of forest products, leases). WP1 results will inform WP3 and provide inputs for WP3 modelling activities.

WP2. Ecosystem Services will analyse the ecosystem services provided by agroforestry parks by quantifying multipurpose supply services and their contribution to food security and income, energy and drugs (task 2.1), their impacts on crop production (task 2.2 ), plot-level quantification and modelling of the processes involved in support services (task 2.3) and regulatory services (task 2.4), and their reliance on management practices. The results of tasks 2.3 and 2.4 will feed into a landscape scale assessment of impacts of land use patterns on ecosystem services (task 2.5). The results will be scenarios of innovative management practices that optimize the trade-offs between food and farmers' income security and environmental sustainability, providing elements that feed into WP3.

WP3 Participatory modelling will develop sustainable intensification scenarios adapted to the studied parks, using multi-criteria, multi-scale and multi-stakeholder assessment. The results will be weighted tree management options prioritized by stakeholders (task 3.1). According to the assumptions about future changes of agroforestry factors (WP1). Farmers' ability to modify their current practices will be evaluated (task 3.2) through complementary modelling and ASKA approach with stakeholders. Combined with Task 3.2 bioeconomic modelling (Task 3.3) will assess the pragmatism of scenarios with the highest adoption potential and their impacts on crop production, food security, household income, environmental sustainability and community exposure to risk.

WP4 Parkland Governance will develop a participatory analysis of the multi-scale system of parklands management. It aims to identify governance arrangements that can support the adoption of innovative scenarios, based on existing studies and field interviews (Task 4.1), including traditional institutions, state, market and governance projects, putting into practice focus on conflicts (land tenure) at the community level that limit access to resources and sustainable park management.

WP5 Dissemination of Results will build on a theory of change developed with stakeholder’s participation (Task 5.1) to maximize the effective dissemination of WP3 and WP4 outputs. Indicators will be used to track changes (Task 5.3) of the project (based on existing data), allowing monitoring and evaluating the impacts of scenario adoption with local participation. A successful shea cluster dissemination method by women farmers in Burkina Faso will be analysed (task 5.2), and the relevance of its use to increase the impacts of RAMSESII will be evaluated.

RAMSES II project website.

Wageningen team coordinator: Verina Ingram
Project coordinator: Josiane Seghieri
Burkina Faso representative: Dominique Dumet
Senegal coordinator: Diaminatou Sanogo
CDI: Jan Brouwers
WECR: Jolanda van den Berg
FEM: Frans Bongers

Link to French text.

Related project link.

Link to published paper 'Drivers of farmer-managed natural regeneration in the Sahel. Lessons for restoration'

Link to related MSc thesis:
'Social-ecological resilience of the shea butter value chain upstream end: the case of Beninese shea agroforestry parklands'

'How climate-smart is farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) as a restoration practice?'

'The benefits of woody species for soil quality restoration in farmer fields in West Africa'

'Linking household strategies to natural regeneration in West African parklands'