The management of Africa’s soils is one of the major challenges facing agriculture and livelihoods in the 21st century. Policies to address this trend to assume that soils are being degraded on a large scale, and farmers’ practices often contribute to a ‘downward spiral’ of degradation and poverty – a familiar narrative of negative environmental change.
But have policies been attuned to local-level understandings of the way farmers actually manage their soils and the social and environmental processes that result in their transformation? Is the story of environmental change always so gloomy? What factors encourage more positive trends?
These are just some of the critical questions addressed in this book. Based on a series of detailed case studies from Ethiopia, Mali and Zimbabwe, it explores the complex dynamics of soil fertility change from an interdisciplinary perspective, looking at the way farmers actually manage their soils and the social and environmental processes that determine their transformation. Through this analysis, Dynamics and Diversity suggests new ways of thinking about agricultural development policy and practice.