Agroforestry greens The Sahel (Journal)

Hydraulic Redistribution by Native Sahelian Shrubs: Bioirrigation to Resist In-Season Drought

Hydraulic redistribution (HR) by woody vegetation has been proposed as a potential water source for crops in intercropped systems. The native woody shrub, Guiera senegalensis, grows across the African Sahel and has shown profound yield benefits to associated pearl millet crops, especially in drought years. The authors tested whether this benefit resulted from the shrubs performing hydraulic redistribution (HR). They found millet biomass production when intercropped with shrubs was over 900% greater than crops grown without shrubs. This finding illuminates HR and water transfer as an important mechanism in agroforestry in a region where food security is a serious issue.