Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Dynamics (PhD)

Degree Level



Environmental Dynamics


Lawton Lanier Nalley

Committee Member

Kristofor R. Brye

Second Committee Member

Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr.

Third Committee Member

Ernest Dube


Conservation agriculture, Adoption, Ecosystem, Environmental efficiency, Environmental impact, Sub-Saharan Africa, Sustainable agricultural production


This dissertation explores three aspects of conservation agriculture (CA) in the Sub-Saharan African region (SSA). The first article examines the demand side of CA and explores whether urban maize (Zea mays L.) consumers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) would be willing to pay a premium for CA-produced maize flour. The second article estimates the effects CA provides to adopters and their farms in smallholder farming systems in the DRC, focusing on changes in soil properties and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) yields. The final article uses a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach to monetize the environmental impacts of adopting CA in South African wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) commercial farming. The following findings emerge from this dissertation: (1) With few exceptions, urban DRC consumers were not willing to pay a premium for white maize flour produced with CA technique; (2) CA was shown to improve soil health, via increasing earthworms populations, soil quality via greater concentrations in soil available P and K, and cowpea yields when compared to conventional farming in the DRC; and (3) CA was more profitable and had a greater environmental efficiency (yield output per dollar of environmental damage) than conventional wheat production in South Africa. The results of this CA adoption research illustrated the production side benefits of adopting sustainable agricultural production but also showed a gap in the consumer demand side of the food systems equation for CA in SSA.