Implementation of contour vegetation barriers under farmer conditions in Burkina Faso and Mali

W.P. Spaan, F. Bodnar, O. Idoe, J. de Graaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Amongst the soil and water conservation (SWC) measures adopted in Burkina Faso and Mali, contour vegetation barriers (CVB) constitute a cheap option in terms of labour and material requirements. In order to understand the actual adoption and maintenance of CVB, labour requirements of five commonly adopted CVB species were evaluated: Andropogon gayanus, Ziziphus mauritiana, Piliostigma reticulatum, Euphorbia balsamifera and Jatropha curcas. Labour requirements for the installation of 100 m CVB varied from 7-8 man-days when using cuttings or direct sowing to 15 man-days when installed from nursery seedlings, excluding 8 days for the installation of a dead fence. Maintenance takes 2-4 days per 100 m. Phasing the installation over several years is an option to overcome labour constraints. Low labour requirements for establishment and management do not explain the rather low adoption and poor maintenance of vegetation barriers. Labour requirements for CVB are lower than for stone rows, but the establishment of barriers coincides with the start of the growing season. Farmers mostly choose CVB species and planting methods with low labour requirements but prefer species with additional benefits such as thatching grass, oil for soap making and fodder and fruits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-38
JournalQuarterly Journal of International Agriculture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Adoption
  • Contour vegetation barrier
  • Farmer conditions
  • Installation
  • Labour requirements
  • Management


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