May 2nd 2024

The Diversity of Practices in Conservation Agriculture: Categorization and Impact Assessment in the Walloon Region, Belgium

What types of Conservation Agriculture (CA) are present in Wallonia? Do these different CA-types have the same potential impact on soil quality, and do they follow the same transition processes?


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This thesis proposes a multi-scale, interdisciplinary, participatory methodology to identify and assess this diversity.

In Wallonia, five CA-types have been identified and differentiated by organic certification, the presence of temporary grassland, and the proportion of industrial crops in the rotation. Analysis shows significant differences in soil structural stability and carbon content: CA-types that include temporary grassland in their rotation, even if they occasionally plow, have higher stability and carbon content than those that have abandoned the plow altogether and grow industrial crops in their rotation. Farmers’ incentives to adopt these practices vary within the same CA-type, as do their prospects for changing CA practices.

This study highlights the diversity of CA practices at the regional level, the diversity of impacts, and the diversity of incentives and prospects for change within CA-types, with implications for other areas and farming systems. More generally, it questions the boundaries of farming systems and the policy choices associated with them.


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