Crops-Livestock Integration as a Resilience Strategy to Climate Change in Burkina Faso

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This study titled addressed a topical issue of climate change and its impacts on farmers' livelihoods and the role that an integrated crop-livestock system can play in building resilient farmers and agricultural systems. The research first of all analysed historical climate (rainfall, minimum and maximum temperature) trends across three climatic zones Sudan (Dano), Sudan-Sahel (Niou) and Sahel (Dori)) at annual, seasonal and decadal scales. Climates indices computation was done using the package ClimPACT2 GUI in R software. Annual and seasonal climate were compared using the independent t-test. Decadal climate indices were subjected to a Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The research also analysed the susceptibility or sensibility of crop production and livestock health to climate change. Thirdly, the research developed and/or updated measurement tool known as Crop-Livestock Integration (CLI) indicators for a holistic characterisation of integrated croplivestock system. These indicators were developed based on the information from 589 farmers’ households and secondary data. Above ground, data were collected from 4,733 trees over a total land area of 243.2 ha (80.1 ha, 78.8 ha and 84.3 ha in Sudan, Sudan-Sahel and Sahel zones, respectively). Due to the Sahel zone's insecurity, soil data could be collected only within Sudan and Sudan-Sahel zones. In total, 120 composite soil samples were collected for this purpose and 240 other samples for soil bulk density determination. Results revealed changes in climate conditions, more pronounced in temperature variations than in rainfall. In the Sudan-Sahel and Sahel zones, a re-wetting trends was observed over the last decade supporting the re-greening hypothesis of the Sahel. Despite some positive effects of the climate indices, crop failure was the major impact of climate pejoration across iv zones. Similarly, livestock health was majorly negatively affected by climate deterioration though the resurgence of diseases due to climate change. Climate indices could explain 23.0 - 50.2 % of the variations in crop yield and an increased cases of livestock diseases occurrence by 1-9.4 units due to the deterioration in climate conditions across climatic zones. Changes in climatic conditions may also induce microbial proliferation and host susceptibility to result in the emergence, redistribution, and changes in the incidence and intensity of pest infestations. The study concluded that crop-livestock integration is underperforming in Burkina Faso and can be improved. Majority farmers (91.6 %) in the Sudan-Sahel zone are practising full crop-livestock integration, unlike the Sahel (62.3%) and Sudan (48.2%) zones. However, only 14.8%, 10.5% and 5.1 % showed the effectiveness of integration in the Sudan-Sahel, Sahel and Sudan zones, respectively. CLI was comparatively more effective in Sudan-Sahel (65.9±32.0 %) than Sahel (44.9±29.5 %) and Sudan zones (35.6±35.0 %). Integration indicators were significantly associated with farm emissions, productivity, biodiversity and soils nutrients. CLI is also a tree-based system with high sequestration potential that could significantly counterbalance the whole system emissions. However, the coverage of fodder needs is negatively associated with soils nutrients content indicating field nutrient mining if an appropriate scheme of nutrient return to the soils as manure is not set. An adequate combination of CLI components offers an opportunity to build resilient farming systems in Burkina Faso to adapt to the changing climate.