Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System (QSMAS): Scaling up and out an eco-efficient production system to improve resilience and food security in the Lempa River basin in El Salvador
Lead Organization: International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Project Leader: Aracely Castro
Partners: Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Salvadoran Program for Research on Development and the Environment (PRISMA)
Duration: 1.Jan.2012 – 30.Apr.2014 (28 months)
Geographic area: Lempa River basin, El Salvador
The Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System (QSMAS) is a smallholder production system that combines basic principles applied with simple technologies and practices to improve the management of vegetation, soil, and water, generating multiple ecosystem services in drought-prone areas of the sub-humid tropics. QSMAS contributes to improved rural livelihoods by enhancing productivity, resilience, water and nutrient cycling, and by restoring degraded resources (biodiversity and land), at plot and landscape scales. Experience from on-farm, participatory validation in Nicaragua and Colombia by CPWF-PN15 (“QSMAS: Improving crop water productivity, food security and resource quality in the sub-humid tropics”) suggests that QSMAS’ has a high probability of adoption by smallholders and local authorities in similar agroecoregions. Extrapolation Domain Analysis (EDA) developed by the team of CPWF Impact Assessment of Research project identified some of these agroecoregions and their potential for QSMAS’ adaptation-adoption.
Building on the two CPWF – Phase 1 project outputs mentioned above (QSMAS evaluation and EDA), the main goal of this project is to improve livelihoods of rural poor in the Lempa River basin in El Salvador by enhancing eco-efficiency and the provision of multiple ecosystem services at plot and landscape scales. The purpose is to develop strategies and mechanisms to support scaling-up and out of QSMAS within El Salvador. The anticipated outputs are: (1) identifying pilot site(s) in the Lempa River basin in El Salvador for suitability to QSMAS’ adaptation and potential dissemination; (2) adapting QSMAS to the Salvadoran context as an alternative to traditional smallholder production systems for improving productivity, profitability and resilience; and (3) developing strategies and tools to facilitate scaling up and -out of QSMAS in the Lempa river basin and other regions of El Salvador and neighbouring countries.
The project will offer a unique opportunity to explore options for adapting the key QSMAS principles that were fundamental to its agronomic success in Honduras and Nicaragua, within a new context. The work will provide experience on up-scaling QSMAS among key institutions and organizations and help to refine strategies for facilitating its out-scaling beyond the project lifespan, as well as elucidate reasons that may prevent QSMAS from being a successful land use strategy in the tropics in the face of climate change and land degradation.
The information generated in CPWF phases 1 and 2 will contribute to improving livelihoods in the tropics by enhancing scaling-out and up of QSMAS through a better understanding of the technical, institutional, policy, and collective action factors that underpin its adoption.