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In Scientific reports ; h5-index 158.0

Conservation agriculture (CA) has been promoted to mitigate climate change, reduce soil erosion, and provide a variety of ecosystem services. Yet, its impacts on crop yields remains controversial. To gain further insight, we mapped the probability of yield gain when switching from conventional tillage systems (CT) to CA worldwide. Relative yield changes were estimated with machine learning algorithms trained by 4403 paired yield observations on 8 crop species extracted from 413 publications. CA has better productive performance than no-till system (NT), and it stands a more than 50% chance to outperform CT in dryer regions of the world, especially with proper agricultural management practices. Residue retention has the largest positive impact on CA productivity comparing to other management practices. The variations in the productivity of CA and NT across geographical and climatical regions were illustrated on global maps. CA appears as a sustainable agricultural practice if targeted at specific climatic regions and crop species.

Su Yang, Gabrielle Benoit, Beillouin Damien, Makowski David