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Short term response of rainfed crops to charcoal addition in a Ferralitic soil of Madagascar Highlands

Raboin L.M., Rabary B., Dusserre J., Scopel E.. 2010. In : Wery Jacques (ed.), Shili-Touzi I. (ed.), Perrin A. (ed.). Proceedings of Agro 2010 : the XIth ESA Congress, August 29th - September 3rd, 2010, Montpellier, France. Montpellier : Agropolis international, p. 197-198. ESA Congress. 11, 2010-08-29/2010-09-03, Montpellier (France).

Charcoal application to soil may have been an ancient strategy to increase soil fertility (Sohi et al; 2010). Many reports have been made on the positive agronomic effects of charcoal addition to soil. In particular, it may significantly increase soil pH (Glaser et al. 2002) and cation exchange capacity in soils (Liang et al., 2006) and therefore improve nutrient availability. Thus, charcoal amendment could be an interesting way to improve the fertility of the very acidic soils of Madagascar Highlands with pH between 4 and 5.5 (Rabeharisoa, 2004), where most farmers cannot afford chemical fertilizers. Here we report on the very strong short term effects of charcoal addition to a very acidic ferralitic soil in the Highlands of Madagascar on a row intercropping of maize and bean.

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