Abandoning Slash and Burn for Slash and Mulch in Central America’s Drought-Prone Hillsides
Drought-prone hillsides in the sub-humid tropics suffer from seasonal water scarcity and dry spells. Local farmers in southeast Honduras and northeast Nicaragua found ways to cope with these adverse conditions, using the Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System (QSMAS). In QSMAS, farmers undertake agricultural crop production within secondary forests, relying on existing trees to employ slash and mulch methods. QSMAS conserves moisture, reduces erosion, protects biodiversity, and improves carbon accumulation and nutrient cycling.
From its village of origin in Honduras, QSMAS expanded to cover 7,000 hectares of crops grown by 6,000 farming families. Over 60,000 hectares of secondary forest in Honduras are now conserved. It is estimated that 90% of the 120 farmers in the Nicaraguan site have stopped slash and burn, and more than 60% have adopted the QSMAS system.
Anon. Abandoning Slash and Burn for Slash and Mulch in Central America&#8217;s Drought-Prone Hillsides. The CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, Sri Lanka (2013) 4 pp.