Zai_ Practice: A West African Traditional Rehabilitation System for Semiarid Degraded Lands, a Case Study in Burkina Faso

Roose, E., V. Kabore and C. Guenat

Publication Date:

For degraded soil productivity, restoration, and green cover rehabilitation, it is essential to study and improve traditional farming systems, especially in the Sudano-Sahelian areas, where technical possibilities are limited. One example is the Zai_ practice, a very complex soil restoration system using organic matter localization, termites to bore channels in the crusted soils, runoff capture in microwatersheds, and seed hole cropping of sorghum or millet on sandy soils. Investigation on many fields of the Mossi Plateau (northern part of Burkina Faso) has shown a range of variations of the Zai_ system in relation to soil texture, availability of labor and organic matter, and relevance for rehabilitation of these degraded crusted soils. We describe a complex soil restoration system revealed during our 2 years of inquiries and experiments testing this system in two types of soil (a shallow, poor apso1 and a deep, brown tropical inceptisol).

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Arid Soil Research and Rehabilitation