To terrace or not: the short-term impact of bench terraces on soil properties and crop response in the Peruvian Andes

H. Posthumus, L. Stroosnijder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Soil erosion is considered as a serious threat to agricultural development in developing countries. Soil and water conservation measures, such as terraces, are often promoted to combat soil erosion and to increase agricultural production. In this paper, the short-term impact of bench terraces, 2–4 years after their establishment, on soil properties and maize yield in the Peruvian Andes is analysed and discussed. The results show that bench terraces did not result in any short term change in soil properties, such as fertility or infiltration capacity. Nevertheless, the bench terraces resulted in 20% higher yields, due to a higher planting density, compared with adjacent sloping fields. However, this increase in yield was nullified by the loss of area occupied by the bench terraces. Bench terraces should therefore be accompanied with other measures to intensify agriculture, such as irrigation or cash crops, to improve the profitability and uptake of bench terraces in the Andes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-276
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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