University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Optimize nutrients dynamic in litters to enhance yields and sustainability of traditional cocoa agroforests in a climate change context in Southern Bahia, Brazil

Optimize nutrients dynamic in litters to enhance yields and sustainability of traditional cocoa agroforests in a climate change context in Southern Bahia, Brazil

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Approximately 45 million people around the world rely on cocoa industry and many more enjoy chocolate!However, there is a predicted annual shortage of one million metric tons by 2020 (annual global production is around five millions tones for 9,9 millions planted area (FAOSTAT, 2012), which is creating tensions in markets and a necessity of increase of production. Furthermore, the impending ecological crisis due to a projected increase food demand by 70 percent by 2050, the sharply increasing costs of agricultural inputs (fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides) and the limited area of arable lands, results in the necessity to sustainably increase cocoa production. A trade-off between ecosystem dis-services and cocoa production is possible. In Brazil, traditional cocoa cropping systems known as “cabruca” provide acceptable yield, allow biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and limited environmental dis-services. My project co-run by the MARS and CIRAD explore opportunities to enhance cocoa production and Atlantic forest conservation using traditional agroforestry systems in Southern Bahia. Results of a Life Cycle Assessment of cocoa cropping in Brazil showed that i) agroforests have lower ecological impacts compared to a monospecific crop; ii) some systems can reach high production without any inputs and iii) litter and fertilizers are the biggest source of GHG emission. Results of my initial three month diagnosis on farms in Brazil show that there is a very high variability in crop structure, management and potential yield in cabrucas. The next step will be to design and implement a large experiment in representative cabrucas to explore the variation in performance. Specifically I will study nutrients, light and water and how they relate to shade trees.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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