Impacts of Crop Residue Removal for Biomass Energy on Soil Function; Studies to recommend Climate Adaptive Agricultural Waste Management The research project started in year 2014, with fund support from APN-GCR (Asia Pacific Network- Global Change Research) and ongoing.
Located: India, Bhutan, Philippines
SAFE has initiated an action research on agricultural waste management under the APN ARCP GlobalChange Research; this action research is undergoing in Central Luzon State University, in Philippines, Renewable Natural Resource Centres in Bhutan and as well in Indian states of West Bengal and Bihar. The research experiments to develop a decision support system for agricultural waste management to show that crop waste keeping and using can be a smarter intervention than straight burning it. Mostly, in South Asian countries the agricultural wastes are burnt by the marginal farmers for yielding biomass energy or just as a method of disposal, wherein the ash is thrown in the farmlands which deteriorates the soil function and fertility. Agricultural wastes if used as compost will only increase soil organic matter, and the mulch will retain soil moisture. The research also focuses on the impact of the practice in enhancing soil carbon sequestration potentials through change detection studies.
Objectives: The purpose of the research is to study the impacts of 'residue-keeping versus residue burning' on soil characteristics and agriculture in the perspective of climate change and therefore focus on post-harvest agricultural waste management practices that are not climate friendly. For instance, the bagasse in sugarcane cultivation is removed and burnt to meet energy needs by farmers and because of poor energy conversion systems; a large quantity of emission is released. It is therefore essential to demonstrate benefits of alternative management practices through empirical evidences.
1. Crop Alternatives assessed for energy, environmental and economic viability for sustainable use.
2. Capacity building of subsistence farmers and agriculturists towards sustainable farming practices involving efficient crop waste recycling.
3. Validated and locally relevant conservation practices includes contour cropping or conservation tillage to compensate for the loss of erosion protection and soil organic matter reductions seen with residue removal.
4. Periodic Monitoring and Assessment for fertility testing and removal rates in response to adverse changes in soil quality.
5. Rational Residue Removal Rates: Sustainable crop residue removal rates for bio-fuel production will vary with management, yield, and soil type. The results would help determine specific practices in diverse cropping systems
The collaborators also contribute in project implementation in respective countries, data analysis and interpretation, methodology, feedback and review conducted by SAFE project team. Activities related to capacity building and community communication will be joint responsibilities of project leader and collaborators.