The economics of soil conservation in developing countries: the case of crop residue mulching

O.C.A. Erenstein

Research output: Thesisexternal PhD, WU


The study contributes to the search for a methodology to assess soil conservation, particularly in developing countries. The study first assesses the economics of soil conservation in general - with special emphasis on the relationships between technology, economic analysis and policy implications. The quantification and valuation of soil erosion and soil conservation are highly controversial and present considerable analytical challenges that have been tackled in varying ways. By implication, government intervention is controversial too - and has typically been unsuccessful. This has direct implications for both the development of conservation technology and the implementation of conservation interventions.

The study subsequently assesses the economics of one particular technological conservation option: crop residue mulching (also known as conservation tillage). An analytical framework is developed to assess the socio-economics of the technology in developing countries. The technology assessment framework follows a stepwise expanding analysis along a three-tier hierarchy: crop production, the farm household and the institutional setting. This results in a private and a social assessment of the technology, and the formulation of corresponding policy implications. The framework is applied in ex ante , ex post and partial analyses of crop residue mulching in different settings in Mexico and Central America. Conclusions are drawn regarding the technology assessment framework and crop residue mulching.

The author can be contacted

The study is also published in the Mansholt Studies, Wageningen University and can be ordered from Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, the Netherlands (,

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Kuyvenhoven, A., Promotor, External person
  • Stroosnijder, L., Promotor
  • Moll, H.A.J., Promotor, External person
Award date28 Sep 1999
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789058080899
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • erosion
  • soil conservation
  • mulching
  • crop residues
  • innovation adoption
  • technology
  • conservation tillage
  • economic evaluation
  • developing countries
  • mexico


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