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Dynamics & Diversity: Soil fertility and farming livelihoods in Africa

Ian Scoones ed

Book/Report, 244 pages

The management of Africa's soils is one of the major challenges facing agriculture and livelihoods in the 21st century. Policies to address this tend to assume that soils are being degraded on a large scale, and that farmers' practices often contribute to a `downward' spiral of degradation and poverty. But have policies been attuned to local-level understandings of soils? What can we learn from a detailed understanding of the way farmers actually manage their soils? These are just some of the critical questions addressed in this book. Based on a series of detailed case studies from Ethiopia, Mali and Zimbabwe, it explores the complex dynamics of soil fertility change from an interdisciplinary perspective, looking at the ways farmers actually manage their soils and the social and environmental processes that determine their transformation. Through this analysis, it suggests new ways of thinking about agricultural development policy and practice.

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