Low-Input Cropping for Acid Soils of the Humid Tropics

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Science  11 Dec 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4833, pp. 1521-1527
DOI: 10.1126/science.238.4833.1521


A low-input cropping system has been developed at Yurimaguas, Peru, to serve as a transition technology between shifting and continuous cultivation for acid soils of the humid tropics. Principal features are slash-and-burn clearing, rotation of acid-tolerant upland rice and cowpea cultivars, maximum residue return, no tillage, and no lime or fertilizer applications. When yields decline as a result of increasing weed pressure and nutrient deficiencies, a kudzu fallow is grown for 1 year. Subsequent options include fertilizer-based continuous cultivation, pastures, or agroforestry. The system preserves some agroecosystem diversity and contributes toward a sustainable level of production and income for farmers in humid tropical regions.

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