Take it or Leave it? Towards a Decision Support Tool on Sustainable Crop Residue Use | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
December 2014
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In the last decade, the increased interest in bioenergy production has led to the need for improved crop residue management. Crop residues have historically been used for many other purposes: to sustain healthy soils for food production, as feed and bedding for livestock, and as raw material for heating and cooking. As the link between crop residue management and food security is evident, one needs to decide whether or to which extent the removal of crop residues for bioenergy production is possible. Building science-based decision support tools can guide stakeholders in this decision process. The study presents a first attempt in designing such a decision support tool for soil residue management. The study seeks to explore the effect of crop residue management on soil quality and yield, two crucial aspects for food security. More than 1 000 peer-reviewed journal papers of the past ten years were studied in order to assess (i) whether crop residue application is associated with higher soil organic carbon (SOC), (ii) whether it ameliorates soil structure and (iii) if the change in SOC related to residue application has a positive impact on yields. The findings of this report demonstrate that crop residue management has to be contextualized, suggesting the need for site-specific residue management schemes. in coarse soils located in tropical climates and in SOC-depleted soils located in temperate climates, crop residue removal is not advisable.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Bogdanski, Anne
Climate, Energy and Tenure Division

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Data provider