Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    European survey shows poor association between soil organic matter and crop yields
    Vonk, Wytse J. ; Ittersum, Martin K. van; Reidsma, Pytrik ; Zavattaro, Laura ; Bechini, Luca ; Guzmán, Gema ; Pronk, Annette ; Spiegel, Heide ; Steinmann, Horst H. ; Ruysschaert, Greet ; Hijbeek, Renske - \ 2020
    Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems (2020). - ISSN 1385-1314
    Arable farming - Crop yield - Europe - Soil organic matter - Survey

    A number of policies proposed to increase soil organic matter (SOM) content in agricultural land as a carbon sink and to enhance soil fertility. Relations between SOM content and crop yields however remain uncertain. In a recent farm survey across six European countries, farmers reported both their crop yields and their SOM content. For four widely grown crops (wheat, grain maize, sugar beet and potato), correlations were explored between reported crop yields and SOM content (N = 1264). To explain observed variability, climate, soil texture, slope, tillage intensity, fertilisation and irrigation were added as co-variables in a linear regression model. No consistent correlations were observed for any of the crop types. For wheat, a significant positive correlation (p < 0.05) was observed between SOM and crop yields in the Continental climate, with yields being on average 263 ± 4 (95% CI) kg ha−1 higher on soils with one percentage point more SOM. In the Atlantic climate, a significant negative correlation was observed for wheat, with yields being on average 75 ± 2 (95%CI) kg ha−1 lower on soils with one percentage point more SOM (p < 0.05). For sugar beet, a significant positive correlation (p < 0.05) between SOM and crop yields was suggested for all climate zones, but this depended on a number of relatively low yield observations. For potatoes and maize, no significant correlations were observed between SOM content and crop yields. These findings indicate the need for a diversified strategy across soil types, crops and climates when seeking farmers’ support to increase SOM.

    Use of organic inputs by arable farmers in six agro-ecological zones across Europe : Drivers and barriers
    Hijbeek, R. ; Pronk, A.A. ; Ittersum, M.K. van; Verhagen, A. ; Ruysschaert, G. ; Bijttebier, J. ; Zavattaro, L. ; Bechini, L. ; Schlatter, N. ; Berge, H.F.M. ten - \ 2019
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 275 (2019). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 42 - 53.
    Barriers - Compost - Drivers - Europe - Manure - Straw

    Soil organic matter (SOM) in agricultural soils builds up via – among others - the use of organic inputs such as straw, compost, farmyard manure or the cultivation of green manures or cover crops. SOM has benefits for long-term soil fertility and can provide ecosystem services. Farmer behaviour is however known to be motivated by a larger number of factors. Using the theory of planned behaviour, we aimed to disentangle these factors. We addressed the following research question: What are currently the main drivers and barriers for arable farmers in Europe to use organic inputs? Our study focuses on six agro-ecological zones in four European countries (Austria, Flanders [Belgium], Italy and the Netherlands) and four practices (straw incorporation, green manure or cover crops, compost and farmyard manure). In a first step, relevant factors were identified for each practice with farmers using 5 to ten semi-structured interviews per agro-ecological zone. In a second step, the relevance of these factors was quantified and they were classified as either drivers or barriers in a large scale farm survey with 1263 farmers. In the semi-structured interviews, 110 factors that influenced farmer decisions to use an organic input were identified. In the larger farm survey, 60% of the factors included were evaluated as drivers, while 40% were evaluated as barriers for the use of organic inputs. Major drivers to use organic inputs were related to the perceived effects on soil quality (such as improved soil structure or reduced erosion) and the positive influence from social referents (such as fellow farmers or agricultural advisors). Major barriers to use organic inputs were financial (increased costs or foregone income) and perceived effects on crop protection (such as increased weeds, pests and diseases, or increased pesticide use). Our study shows that motivating farmers to use organic inputs requires specific guidance on how to adapt cultivation practices to reduce weeds, pests and diseases for specific soil types, weather conditions, and crops. In addition, more research is needed on the long-term financial consequences of using organic inputs.

    Adoption of non-inversion tillage across Europe : Use of a behavioural approach in understanding decision making of farmers
    Bijttebier, J. ; Ruysschaert, G. ; Hijbeek, R. ; Werner, M. ; Pronk, A.A. ; Zavattaro, L. ; Bechini, L. ; Grignani, C. ; Berge, H. ten; Marchand, F. ; Wauters, E. - \ 2018
    Land Use Policy 78 (2018). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 460 - 471.
    Adoption - Behavioural change - Europe - Non-Inversion tillage - Theory of planned behavior

    Non-inversion tillage (NIT) is often recommended as a soil conservation measure, protecting soil structure and soil life and preventing erosion. As the adoption of this measure is still below policy targets in many European regions, this study aimed at gaining insights in constraints and drivers of implementing NIT to understand how to stimulate behavioural change. This study uses the theory of planned behaviour as a framework for understanding farmers’ decisions on applying NIT. This framework was applied in 8 case studies from 8 Farm Type Zones (FTZ) spread over 4 European countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy). We used a sequential mixed method, starting with qualitative semi-structured interviews followed by a quantitative survey. Our results show varying adoption rates ranging from 19% to more than 80% across the FTZs. There are large differences between FTZs and even more between countries regarding the number and nature of enabling and hampering factors identified. Although our results do reveal some widely acknowledged advantages and constraints (such as less labour/fuel needs and more weeds), several of them are restricted to one or only some of the FTZs. Some of the conditions favouring or discouraging NIT are related to biophysical characteristics of the FTZs. Besides these biophysical characteristics, agricultural specialization and especially the crops cultivated influence the decision whether or not to plough. Also timing of sowing and harvest of particular crops influences farmers’ perceptions on the ease or difficulty to apply NIT. Finally, cultural, political and socio-economic conditions of the regions are influencing adoption behaviour of the farmers, e.g. good results with ploughing, having nice-looking fields, availability of equipment, the existence of subsidies and the opinion of referents influence the decision whether or not to implement NIT in the singular FTZs. These insights in context-specific enabling and disabling conditions are helpful in defining targeted actions to stimulate adoption in a given region. This paper concludes with an overview of how the resulting insights in farmers’ behaviour might contribute in addressing effective intervention strategies to increase adoption of NIT.

    Responses of soil biota to non-inversion tillage and organic amendments : An analysis on European multiyear field experiments
    Hose, Tommy D'; Molendijk, Leendert ; Vooren, Laura Van; Berg, Wim van den; Hoek, Hans ; Runia, Willemien ; Evert, Frits van; Berge, Hein ten; Spiegel, Heide ; Sandèn, Taru ; Grignani, Carlo ; Ruysschaert, Greet - \ 2018
    Pedobiologia 66 (2018). - ISSN 0031-4056 - p. 18 - 28.
    Earthworms - Microbial biomass - Multiyear field experiments - Nematodes - Non-inversion tillage - Organic amendments
    Over the last two decades, there has been growing interest on the effects of agricultural practices on soil biology in Europe. As soil biota are known to fluctuate throughout the season and as agro-environmental conditions may influence the effect of agricultural practices on soil organisms, conclusions cannot be drawn from a single study. Therefore, integrating the results of many studies in order to identify general trends is required. The main objective of this study was to investigate how soil biota are affected by repeated applications of organic amendments (i.e. compost, farmyard manure and slurry) or reduced tillage (i.e. non-inversion tillage and no till) under European conditions, as measured in multiyear field experiments. Moreover, we investigated to what extent the effects on soil biota are controlled by soil texture, sampling depth, climate and duration of agricultural practice. Experimental data on earthworm and nematode abundance, microbial biomass carbon and bacterial and fungal communities from more than 60 European multiyear field experiments, comprising different climatic zones and soil texture classes, were extracted from literature. From our survey, we can conclude that adopting no tillage or non-inversion tillage practices and increasing organic matter inputs by organic fertilization were accompanied by larger earthworm numbers (an increase between 56 and 125% and between 63 and 151% for tillage and organic amendments, respectively) and biomass (an increase between 108 and 416% and between 66 and 196% for tillage and organic amendments, respectively), a higher microbial biomass carbon content (an increase between 10 and 30% and between 25 and 31% for tillage and organic amendments, respectively), a marked increase in bacterivorous nematodes (an increase between 19 and 282% for organic amendment) and bacterial phospholipid-derived fatty acids (PLFA; an increase between 31 and 38% for organic amendment). Results were rarely influenced by soil texture, climate and duration of practice.
    Herbal bathing : An analysis of variation in plant use among Saramaccan and Aucan Maroons in Suriname
    Klooster, Charlotte I.E.A. van 't; Haabo, Vinije ; Ruysschaert, Sofie ; Vossen, Tessa ; Andel, Tinde R. van - \ 2018
    Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 14 (2018). - ISSN 1746-4269
    Aucan - Herbal baths - Maroons - Medicinal plants - Saramaccan - Suriname - Traditional knowledge - Traditional medicine
    Background: Herbal baths play an important role in the traditional health care of Maroons living in the interior of Suriname. However, little is known on the differences in plant ingredients used among and within the Maroon groups. We compared plant use in herbal baths documented for Saramaccan and Aucan Maroons, to see whether similarity in species was related to bath type, ethnic group, or geographical location. We hypothesized that because of their dissimilar cultural background, they used different species for the same type of bath. We assumed, however, that plants used in genital baths were more similar, as certain plant ingredients (e.g., essential oils), are preferred in these baths. Methods: We compiled a database from published and unpublished sources on herbal bath ingredients and constructed a presence/absence matrix per bath type and study site. To assess similarity in plant use among and within Saramaccan and Aucan communities, we performed three Detrended Correspondence Analyses on species level and the Jaccard Similarity Index to quantify similarity in bath ingredients. Results: We recorded 349 plants used in six commonly used bath types: baby strength, adult strength, skin diseases, respiratory ailments, genital steam baths, and spiritual issues. Our results showed a large variation in plant ingredients among the Saramaccan and Aucans and little similarity between Saramaccans and Aucans, even for the same type of baths. Plant ingredients for baby baths and genital baths shared more species than the others. Even within the Saramaccan community, plant ingredients were stronger associated with location than with bath type. Conclusions: Plant use in bathing was strongly influenced by study site and then by ethnicity, but less by bath type. As Maroons escaped from different plantations and developed their ethnomedicinal practices in isolation, there has been little exchange in ethnobotanical knowledge after the seventeenth century between ethnic groups. Care should be taken in extrapolating plant use data collected from one location to a whole ethnic community. Maroon plant use deserves more scientific attention, especially now as there are indications that traditional knowledge is disappearing.
    An assessment of policies affecting Sustainable Soil Management in Europe and selected member states
    Turpin, Nadine ; Berge, Hein ten; Grignani, Carlo ; Guzmán, Gema ; Vanderlinden, Karl ; Steinmann, Horst-Henning ; Siebielec, Grzegorz ; Spiegel, Adelheid ; Perret, Eric ; Ruysschaert, Greet ; Laguna, Ana ; Giráldez, Juan Vicente ; Werner, Magdalena ; Raschke, Isabell ; Zavattaro, Laura ; Costamagna, Chiara ; Schlatter, Norman ; Berthold, Helen ; Sandén, Taru ; Baumgarten, Andreas - \ 2017
    Land Use Policy 66 (2017). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 241 - 249.
    This paper analyses soils-related policies in Europe and in selected member states and regions. Our approach breaks down policy packages at European, national and regional levels into strategic objectives, operational objectives, policy measures and expected impacts, and assesses the relationships between these elements and soil stakes. Four major policy packages, both at EU and national level (CAP-I, RDP, Environment, national initiatives) were analysed. A numerical scale was developed to quantify the level of “embeddedness” of soil stakes in these policy packages. We found that countries better embed soil stakes into their policies when they also put more efforts on environmental innovation. In turn, countries with a high embeddedness level, with high trust in European institutions and that make more efforts towards renewable energy, tend to propose a wider variety of management practices to farmers for dealing with soil stakes.
    Barriers and drivers for adoption of non-inversion tillage in four European countries
    Ruysschaert, G. ; Bijttebier, J. ; Bechini, L. ; Zavattero, L. ; Werner, M. ; Hijbeek, R. ; Pronk, A.A. ; Berge, H.F.M. ten - \ 2017
    Agronomic effects of bovine manure : A review of long-term European field experiments
    Zavattaro, Laura ; Bechini, Luca ; Grignani, Carlo ; Evert, Frits K. van; Mallast, Janine ; Spiegel, Heide ; Sandén, Taru ; Pecio, Alicja ; Giráldez Cervera, Juan Vicente ; Guzmán, Gema ; Vanderlinden, Karl ; Hose, Tommy D'; Ruysschaert, Greet ; Berge, Hein F.M. ten - \ 2017
    European Journal of Agronomy 90 (2017). - ISSN 1161-0301 - p. 127 - 138.
    Efficiency - Farmyard manure - Nitrogen - Response ratio - Slurry - Soil organic carbon

    To evaluate the agronomic value of animal manure, we quantified the effects of pedo-climatic, crop and management factors on crop productivity, N use efficiency, and soil organic matter, described with simple indicators that compare manures with mineral fertilizers. We selected 80 European long-term field experiments that used bovine farmyard manure or bovine liquid slurry, alone (FYM and SLU) or combined with mineral fertilizers (FYMm and SLUm), and compared them to mineral fertilizer only reference treatments. We collected 5570 measurements from 107 papers. FYM produced slightly lower crop yields (−9.5%) when used alone and higher (+11.3%) yields when used in combination with N fertilizer (FYMm), compared to those obtained using mineral fertilizers only. Conditions promoting manure-N mineralization (lighter soil texture, warmer temperature, longer growing season, and shallower incorporation depth) significantly increased the effect of FYM/FYMm on crop yield and yield N. The production efficiency of FYM (yield:N applied ratio) was slightly lower than that of mineral fertilizers (-1.6%). The apparent N recoveries of FYM and FYMm were 59.3% and 78.7%, respectively, of mineral fertilizers. Manured soils had significantly higher C (+32.9% on average for FYM and FYMm) and N (+21.5%) concentrations. Compared to mineral fertilizers, yield was reduced by 9.1% with SLU, but not with SLUm. Influencing factors were similar to those of FYM/FYMm. Efficiency indicators indicated SLU (but not SLUm) was less effective than mineral fertilizers. Slurry significantly increased SOC (on average for SLU and SLUm by +17.4%) and soil N (+15.7%) concentrations. In conclusion, compared to mineral N fertilizers, bovine farmyard manure and slurry were slightly less effective on the crop, but determined marked increases to SOC and soil N, and thus, to long-term soil fertility maintenance.

    Biochar in European soils and agriculture: Science and practice
    Shackley, Simon ; Ruysschaert, Greet ; Zwart, Kor ; Glaser, Bruno - \ 2016
    London : Taylor and Francis - ISBN 9780415711661 - 302 p.

    This user-friendly book introduces biochar to potential users in the professional sphere. It de-mystifies the scientific, engineering and managerial issues surrounding biochar for the benefit of audiences including policy makers, landowners and farmers, land use, agricultural and environmental managers and consultants, industry and lobby groups and NGOs. The book reviews state-of-the-art knowledge in an approachable way for the non-scientist, covering all aspects of biochar production, soil science, agriculture, environmental impacts, economics, law and regulation and climate change policy. Chapters provide ‘hands-on’ practical information, including how to evaluate biochar and understand what it is doing when added to the soil, how to combine biochar with other soil amendments (such as manure and composts) to achieve desired outcomes, and how to ensure safe and effective use. The authors also present research findings from the first coordinated European biochar field trial and summarize European field trial data. Explanatory boxes, infographics and concise summaries of key concepts are included throughout to make the subject more understandable and approachable.

    The role of biochar in agricultural soils
    Cross, Andrew ; Zwart, Kor ; Shackley, Simon ; Ruysschaert, Greet - \ 2016
    In: Biochar in European Soils and Agriculture / Shackley, S., Ruysschaert, G., Zwart, K., Glaser, B., London : Taylor and Francis - ISBN 9780415711661 - p. 73 - 98.

    The primary function of agricultural soils is for food, feed, fibre and fuel production. Management measures in agricultural soils should therefore focus on improving and/or sustaining this function, in both the short and long term in a sustainable manner. Both agricultural crop production and crop quality are closely linked to soil quality (i.e. soil fertility). This is largely determined by factors including nutrient and water supply, but the soil’s suitability as a growth medium for roots and as a habitat for soil organisms is also important. These factors are all dependant on a multitude of bio-physical, chemical and environmental factors. Nutrient supply is dependent on fertilisation (e.g. synthetic supplies of essential plant nutrients) and decomposition (via mineralisation by soil microbes) of soil organic matter and organic amendments (e.g. animal manure, compost and crop residues) and the buffering capacity of nutrients (Box 4.2). Water supply is determined by weather conditions, irrigation and soil physical properties including soil texture and soil structure (see Box 4.1). Soil organic matter is crucial to both nutrient and water supply in many soils, while a good soil structure can enhance both root growth and the ability of the plants to utilise available nutrients and water in the soil. Soils containing low amounts of soil organic matter require higher inputs of chemicals and irrigation, and the long-term sustainability of high-input farming is now under scrutiny. It is widely hypothesised that the high-input farming typical of much of agriculture (largely reliant on plentiful water supplies and chemical fertilisers whose manufacture uses a lot of energy) will not be sustainable in the long term and that new approaches to farming are now required.

    The role of biochar in agricultural soils
    Cross, Andrew ; Zwart, Kor ; Shackley, Simon ; Ruysschaert, Greet - \ 2016
    In: Biochar in European Soils and Agriculture: Science and Practice / Shackley, Simon, Ruysschaert, Greet, Zwart, Kor, Glaser, Bruno, Taylor and Francis Inc. - ISBN 9780415711661 - p. 73 - 98.
    The primary function of agricultural soils is for food, feed, fibre and fuel production. Management measures in agricultural soils should therefore focus on improving and/or sustaining this function, in both the short and long term in a sustainable manner. Both agricultural crop production and crop quality are closely linked to soil quality (i.e. soil fertility). This is largely determined by factors including nutrient and water supply, but the soil’s suitability as a growth medium for roots and as a habitat for soil organisms is also important. These factors are all dependant on a multitude of bio-physical, chemical and environmental factors. Nutrient supply is dependent on fertilisation (e.g. synthetic supplies of essential plant nutrients) and decomposition (via mineralisation by soil microbes) of soil organic matter and organic amendments (e.g. animal manure, compost and crop residues) and the buffering capacity of nutrients (Box 4.2). Water supply is determined by weather conditions, irrigation and soil physical properties including soil texture and soil structure (see Box 4.1). Soil organic matter is crucial to both nutrient and water supply in many soils, while a good soil structure can enhance both root growth and the ability of the plants to utilise available nutrients and water in the soil. Soils containing low amounts of soil organic matter require higher inputs of chemicals and irrigation, and the long-term sustainability of high-input farming is now under scrutiny. It is widely hypothesised that the high-input farming typical of much of agriculture (largely reliant on plentiful water supplies and chemical fertilisers whose manufacture uses a lot of energy) will not be sustainable in the long term and that new approaches to farming are now required.
    Biochar properties
    Lopez-Capel, Elisa ; Zwart, Kor ; Shackley, Simon ; Postma, Romke ; Stenstrom, John ; Rasse, Daniel P. ; Budai, Alice ; Glaser, Bruno - \ 2016
    In: Biochar in European Soils and Agriculture: Science and Practice / Shackley, Simon, Ruysschaert, Greet, Zwart, Kor, Glaser, Bruno, Taylor and Francis Inc. - ISBN 9780415711661 - p. 41 - 72.
    The search for meaningful and desirable biochar properties is still under way. Nevertheless, there are certain chemical and physical properties that are widely considered relevant to the behaviour and function of biochar in soil. In this chapter, some of the more accessible properties are described, giving the reader the necessary tools and understanding to grasp the interaction of biochar in the soil environment covered in Chapter 4.
    Field applications of pure biochar in the North Sea region and across Europe
    Ruysschaert, Greet ; Nelissen, Victoria ; Postma, Romke ; Bruun, Esben ; O'Toole, Adam ; Hammond, Jim ; Rödger, Jan Markus ; Hylander, Lars ; Kihlberg, Tor ; Zwart, Kor ; Hauggaard-Nielsen, Henrik ; Shackley, Simon - \ 2016
    In: Biochar in European Soils and Agriculture: Science and Practice / Shackley, Simon, Ruysschaert, Greet, Zwart, Kor, Glaser, Bruno, Taylor and Francis Inc. - ISBN 9780415711661 - p. 99 - 135.
    As demonstrated by several scientific studies there is no doubt that biochar in general is very recalcitrant compared to other organic matter additions and soil organic matter fractions and also that it is possible to sequester carbon at a climate change relevant time scale (~100 years or more) by soil application of biochar. However, the carbon stability of biochar in soil is strongly correlated with the degree of thermal alteration of the original feedstock (the lower the temperature, the larger the labile fraction) and in depth understanding of the technology used and its effect on the biochar quality is necessary in order to produce the most beneficial biochars for soil application. Beside carbon sequestration in soil biochar may improve the GHG balance by reducing N2O and CH4 soil emissions, although contrasting results are found in the literature. The mechanisms behind these reductions remain unclear and more research is required in order to investigate the various hypotheses in more detail, and to unravel the complex interaction between biochar, crop and soil, especially under field conditions. In conclusion, our current knowledge is largely based on short-term lab studies and pot experiments, which have provided detailed insight in certain processes and aspects of biochar application to soils, but suffer from large uncertainties when scaled-up to the farmers field level. In order to produce more realistic scenarios of the potential impact of biochar on C sequestration and soil GHG emissions there is a need to bring biochar research up to the field-scale, and to perform longer-term studies.
    The use of Amerindian charm plants in the Guianas
    Andel, Tinde van; Ruysschaert, Sofie ; Boven, Karin ; Daly, Lewis - \ 2015
    Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 11 (2015)1. - ISSN 1746-4269

    Background: Magical charm plants to ensure good luck in hunting, fishing, agriculture, love and warfare are known among many Amerindians groups in the Guianas. Documented by anthropologists as social and political markers and exchangeable commodities, these charms have received little attention by ethnobotanists, as they are surrounded by secrecy and are difficult to identify. We compared the use of charm species among indigenous groups in the Guianas to see whether similarity in charm species was related to geographical or cultural proximity. We hypothesized that cultivated plants were more widely shared than wild ones and that charms with underground bulbs were more widely used than those without such organs, as vegetatively propagated plants would facilitate transfer of charm knowledge. Methods: We compiled a list of charm plants from recent fieldwork and supplemented these with information from herbarium collections, historic and recent literature among 11 ethnic groups in the Guianas. To assess similarity in plant use among these groups, we performed a Detrended Component Analysis (DCA) on species level. To see whether cultivated plants or vegetatively propagated species were more widely shared among ethnic groups than wild species or plants without rhizomes, tubers or stem-rooting capacity, we used an independent sample t-test. Results: We recorded 366 charms, representing 145 species. The majority were hunting charms, wild plants, propagated via underground bulbs and grown in villages. Our data suggest that similarity in charm species is associated with geographical proximity and not cultural relatedness. The most widely shared species, used by all Amerindian groups, is Caladium bicolor. The tubers of this plant facilitate easy transport and its natural variability allows for associations with a diversity of game animals. Human selection on shape, size and color of plants through clonal reproduction has ensured the continuity of morphological traits and their correlation with animal features. Conclusions: Charm plants serve as vehicles for traditional knowledge on animal behavior, tribal warfare and other aspects of oral history and should therefore deserve more scientific and societal attention, especially because there are indications that traditional knowledge on charms is disappearing.

    List of drivers and barriers governing soil management by farmers, including cost aspects : D4.434
    Pronk, A.A. ; Bijttebier, J. ; Berge, H.F.M. ten; Ruysschaert, G. ; Hijbeek, R. ; Rijk, B. ; Werner, J.M. ; Raschke, I. ; Steinmann, H.H. ; Zylowska, K. ; Schlatter, N. ; Guzman, G. ; Syp, A. ; Bechini, L. ; Turpin, N. ; Guiffant, N. ; Perret, E. ; Mauhé, N. ; Toqué, C. ; Zavattaro, L. ; Costamagna, C. ; Grignani, C. ; Lehninen, T. ; Baumgarten, A. ; Spiegel, H. ; Portero, A. ; Walleghem, T. Van; Pedrera, A. ; Laguna, A. ; Vanderlinden, K. ; Giráldez, V. ; Verhagen, A. - \ 2015
    {Wageningen] : Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek (DLO) - 180
    Farmers review of Best Management Practices: drivers and barriers as seen by adopters and non-adopters : Report D4.422
    Bijttebier, J. ; Ruysschaert, G. ; Hijbeek, R. ; Rijk, B. ; Werner, M. ; Raschke, I. ; Steinmann, H.H. ; Zylowska, K. ; Pronk, A. ; Schlatter, N. ; Guzmán, G. ; Syp, A. ; Bechini, L. ; Turpin, N. ; Guiffant, N. ; Perret, E. ; Mauhé, N. ; Toqué, C. ; Zavattaro, L. ; Costamagna, C. ; Grignani, C. ; Lehninen, T. ; Baumgarten, A. ; Spiegel, H. ; Portero, A. ; Walleghem, T. Van; Pedrera, A. ; Laguna, A. ; Vanderlinden, K. ; Giráldez, V. - \ 2015
    CATCH-C (Report D4.422 and D4.443 ) - 171 p.
    Assessing farmers’ intention to adopt best management practices across eight European countries
    Local plant names reveal that enslaved Africans recognized substantial parts of the New World flora
    Andel, T.R. van; Klooster, E.A. van 't; Quiroz Villarreal, D.K. ; Towns, A.M. ; Ruysschaert, S. ; Berg, M. van den - \ 2014
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111 (2014)50. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. E5346 - E5353.
    surinamese creoles - west-africa - medicine - market - benin
    How did the forced migration of nearly 11 million enslaved Africans to the Americas influence their knowledge of plants? Vernacular plant names give insight into the process of species recognition, acquisition of new knowledge, and replacement of African species with American ones. This study traces the origin of 2,350 Afro-Surinamese (Sranantongo and Maroon) plant names to those plant names used by local Amerindians, Europeans, and related groups in West and Central Africa. We compared vernacular names from herbarium collections, literature, and recent ethnobotanical fieldwork in Suriname, Ghana, Benin, and Gabon. A strong correspondence in sound, structure, and meaning among Afro-Surinamese vernaculars and their equivalents in other languages for botanically related taxa was considered as evidence for a shared origin. Although 65% of the Afro-Surinamese plant names contained European lexical items, enslaved Africans have recognized a substantial part of the neotropical flora. Twenty percent of the Sranantongo and 43% of the Maroon plant names strongly resemble names currently used in diverse African languages for related taxa, represent translations of African ones, or directly refer to an Old World origin. The acquisition of new ethnobotanical knowledge is captured in vernaculars derived from Amerindian languages and the invention of new names for neotropical plants from African lexical terms. Plant names that combine African, Amerindian, and European words reflect a creolization process that merged ethnobotanical skills from diverse geographical and cultural sources into new Afro-American knowledge systems. Our study confirms the role of Africans as significant agents of environmental knowledge in the New World.
    Assessing farmers’ intention to adopt soil conservation practices across Europe
    Bijttebier, J. ; Ruysschaert, G. ; Marchand, F. ; Hijbeek, R. ; Pronk, A.A. ; Schlatter, N. ; Guzmàn, G. ; Syp, A. ; Werner, M. ; Bechini, L. ; Guiffant, N. ; Wauters, E. - \ 2014
    In: Proceedings of 11th European IFSA Symposium. - - p. 1894 - 1902.
    During the past decennia, soil conservation practices (SCPs) have been developed in order to maintain or restore soil health which is essential to the resilience of the farm. However, the adoption rate in practice is rather low. Amongst other reasons, these practices might lack onfarm compatibility, or farmers may lack confidence in the proposed measures. To increase the adoption rate of SCPs, capturing farmers’ opinions, given their specific farming context, can aid future strategies to get the SCPs implemented. Therefore, the aim of this study is to identify and compare different barriers and drivers towards the adoption of SCPs across 25 major farm type agri-environmental zone combinations in 8 European countries. To unravel farmer’s motivation and ability to implement a certain SCP, we applied a sequential mixed method approach based on the theory of planned behavior, a socio-psychological framework to predict human behavior. Qualitative semi-structured interviews with farmers reveal a first indication of possible barriers and drivers. These serve as the basis for a broad quantitative survey in each of the 25 major farm type zones, all characterized by their own soil, climate, regulatory and socio-economic context. Due to this context, the selected SCPs in the questionnaire differ among the major farm type zones, although with cover crops and reduced and/or non-inversion tillage, two wide-spread practices, were included across nearly all farm type zones. An EU-wide comparison between different regions allows us to better relate differences in barriers, motivators and farmers’ intention to differences in bio-physical, economic, institutional, social and regulatory conditions. To obtain a correct interpretation and clarification of the most striking results, we organize regional focus groups with experts and farmers. The results will offer valuable insights to advice EU policy, extension and scientific research. They will be able to take into account the specific context of
    Consequences of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade on medicinal plant selection: plant use for cultural boud syndromes affecting children in Suriname and Western Africa.
    Vossen, T. ; Towns, A.M. ; Ruysschaert, S. ; Quiroz Villarreal, D.K. ; Andel, T. van - \ 2014
    PLoS ONE 9 (2014)11. - ISSN 1932-6203
    sexual abstinence - bulging fontanel - rural ghana - health - care - infants - deficiency - diarrhea - illness - symptom
    Folk perceptions of health and illness include cultural bound syndromes (CBS), ailments generally confined to certain cultural groups or geographic regions and often treated with medicinal plants. Our aim was to compare definitions and plant use for CBS regarding child health in the context of the largest migration in recent human history: the trans-Atlantic slave trade. We compared definitions of four CBS (walk early, evil eye, atita and fontanels) and associated plant use among three Afro-Surinamese populations and their African ancestor groups in Ghana, Bénin and Gabon. We expected plant use to be similar on species level, and assumed the majority to be weedy or domesticated species, as these occur on both continents and were probably recognized by enslaved Africans. Data were obtained by identifying plants mentioned during interviews with local women from the six different populations. To analyse differences and similarities in plant use we used Detrended Component Analysis (DCA) and a Wald Chi-square test. Definitions of the four cultural bound syndromes were roughly the same on both continents. In total, 324 plant species were used. There was little overlap between Suriname and Africa: 15 species were used on two continents, of which seven species were used for the same CBS. Correspondence on family level was much higher. Surinamese populations used significantly more weedy species than Africans, but equal percentages of domesticated plants. Our data indicate that Afro-Surinamers have searched for similar plants to treat their CBS as they remembered from Africa. In some cases, they have found the same species, but they had to reinvent the largest part of their herbal pharmacopeia to treat their CBS using known plant families or trying out new species. Ideas on health and illness appear to be more resilient than the use of plants to treat them.
    In search of the perfect aphrodisiac: Parallel use of bitter tonics in West Africa and the Caribbean
    Andel, T.R. van; Mitchell, S. ; Volpato, G. ; Vandebroek, I. ; Swier, J. ; Ruysschaert, S. ; Rentería Jiménez, C.A. ; Raes, N. - \ 2012
    Journal of Ethnopharmacology 143 (2012)3. - ISSN 0378-8741 - p. 840 - 850.
    male-rats - ethnobotany - medicine - cameroon
    Ethnopharmacological relevance Enslaved Africans in the Americas had to reinvent their medicinal flora in an unknown environment by adhering to plants that came with them, learning from Amerindians and Europeans, using their Old World knowledge and trial and error to find substitutes for their homeland herbs. This process has left few written records, and little research has been done on transatlantic plant use. We used the composition of aphrodisiac mixtures across the black Atlantic to discuss the adaptation of herbal medicine by African diaspora in the New World. Since Africans are considered relatively recent migrants in America, their healing flora is often said to consist largely of pantropical and cultivated species, with few native trees. Therefore, we expected Caribbean recipes to be dominated by taxa that occur in both continents, poor in forest species and rich in weeds and domesticated exotics. Materials and methods To test this hypothesis, we compared botanical ingredients of 35 African and 117 Caribbean mixtures, using Dentrended Correspondence Analysis, Cluster Analysis, Indicator Species Analysis and Mann–Whitney U tests. Results Very few of the 324 ingredients were used on both continents. A slightly higher overlap on generic and family level showed that Africans did search for taxa that were botanically related to African ones, but largely selected new, unrelated plants with similar taste, appearance or pharmacological properties. Recipes from the forested Guianas contained more New World, wild and forest species than those from deforested Caribbean islands. We recorded few ‘transatlantic genera’ and weeds never dominated the recipes, so we rejected our hypothesis. Conclusions The popularity of bitter tonics in the Caribbean suggests an African heritage, but the inclusion of Neotropical species and vernacular names of plants and mixtures indicate Amerindian and European influence. We show that enslaved Africans have reinvented their herbal medicine wherever they were put to work, using the knowledge and flora that was available to them with great creativity and flexibility. Our analysis reveals how transplanted humans adapt their traditional medical practises in a new environment.
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