Sieglinde Snapp

Professor - Soils and cropping systems ecology.

Sieglinde Snapp


Plant and Soil Sciences Building
1066 Bogue St., Room 490
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: (517) 282-5644

Global Change Learning Lab in Sub-Saharan Africa

Click here to see a list of Sieglinde Snapp's publications on Google Scholar.


Ph.D. University of California

Research Interests

My research focuses on understanding the principles of resilient cropping system design and biologically-based soil management. This includes investigating the multi-functional role of accessory crops such as cover crops in mediating nutrient efficiency, soil function and healthy crop roots. A particular area of interest is the feedback loops in nitrogen and phosphorus availability mediated by plants and associated microbes. Predicting nutrient availability and tradeoffs between mineralization and assimilation processes are important questions my research group and collaborators address in organic and sustainable production systems. To foster outreach and education on soil ecological management I coordinate a website at MSU on applied soil ecology

I am committed to participatory research and extension approaches with iterative feedback from stakeholders. To this end, I developed the mother and baby trial design to link long-term research trials systematically with on-farm experimentation. Collaborations across social and biological scientists are essential in a rapidly changing world, and I work closely with multidisciplinary teams including scientists, farmers, students, advisors and extension educators to foster farmer innovation and build more sustainable, environmentally-friendly cropping systems. The participatory research methods and on-farm research trial designs I work on have been adopted by agronomists and plant breeders in 16 countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and in Paraguay.

Teaching interests include developing a new course with Dr. Phil Robertson addressing Soil Biology CSS 360 and contributing cropping systems and participatory research methodology lectures in CSS and courses such as ANP859, a core requirement of the new Gender, Justice and Environment Graduate specialization. As a core faculty member of African Studies and the Women in International Development program I am committed to education and scholarship in area studies and international development, including promoting south-south linkages and extending the agro-ecology lessons of the field crop LTER to Southern Africa and West Africa.


Snapp, S.S. and B. Pound (Eds.) 2008. Agricultural Systems: Agroecology and Rural Innovation for Development. Academic Press. 380 pp.

Pound, B. S.S. Snapp, C. McDougal and A. Braun (Eds.) 2003. Uniting Science and Participation: Managing natural resources for sustainable livelihoods. Earthscan, U.K. and IRDC, Canada

Journal Articles:

Snapp, S.S., M.J. Blackie, R.A. Gilbert, R. Bezner-Kerr and G.Y. Kanyama-Phiri. 2010. Biodiversity can support a greener revolution in Africa. PNAS 107(48):20840-20845 PDF Supporting Information PDF

Snapp, S.S., L.E. Gentry and R. Harwood. 2010. Management intensity - not biodiversity - the driver of ecosystem services in a long-term row crop experiment. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 138(3-4):242-248 PDF

Beedy, T.L., S.S. Snapp, F.K. Akinnifesi and G.W. Sileshi. 2010. Impact of Gliricidia sepium intercropping on soil organic matter fractions in a maize-based cropping system. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 138(3-4):139-146 PDF

Gelfand, I., S.S. Snapp and G.P. Robertson. 2010. Energy efficiency of conventional, organic, and alternative cropping systems for food and fuel at a site in the U.S. Midwest. Environmental Science & Technology 44:4006-4011 PDF

McSwiney, C.P., S.S. Snapp and L.E. Gentry. 2010. Use of N immobilization to tighten the N cycle in conventional agroecosystems. Ecological Applications 20(3):648-662 PDF

Glover, J.D., J.P. Reganold, L.W. Bell, J. Borevitz, E.C. Brummer, E. S. Buckler, C.M. Cox, T.S. Cox, T.E. Crews, S.W. Culman, L.R. DeHaan, D. Eriksson, B.S. Gill, J. Holland, F. Hu, B.S. Hulke, A.M.H. Ibrahim, W. Jackson, S.S. Jones, S.C. Murray, A.H. Paterson, E. Ploschuk, E.J. Sacks, S. Snapp, D. Tao, D.L. Van Tassel, L.J. Wade, D.L. Wyse and Y. Xu. 2010. Increased food and ecosystem security via perennial grains. Science 328(5986):1638-1639.

Po, E.A., S.S. Snapp and A.N. Kravchenko. 2009. Rotational and cover crop determinants of soil structural stability and carbon in a potato system. Agronomy J. 101:175–183

Cichy, K.A., S.S. Snapp and M.W. Blair. 2009. Plant growth habit, root architecture traits and tolerance to low soil phosphorus in an Andean bean population. Euphytica 165:257-268.

Cichy, K.A., M.W. Blair, C.H.G. Mendoza, S.S. Snapp and J.D. Kelly. 2009. QTL analysis of root architecture traits and low phosphorus tolerance in an Andean bean population. Crop Science 1:59-68

Snapp, S.S., R. Price and M Morton. 2008. Seed priming enhances germination and emergence of winter annual cover crops. Agronomy J. 100:1506-1510

Wilke, B.J. and S.S. Snapp. 2008. Winter cover crops for local ecosystems: Linking plant traits and ecosystem function. J. Sci. Food Agric. 88:551-557

Snapp,S.S., K.U. Date, W. Kirk, K. O’Neil, A. Kremen and G. Bird. 2007. Root, shoot tissues of Brassica juncea and Cereal secale promote potato health. Plant and Soil 294(1-2):55-72 PDF

Drinkwater, L.E. and S.S. Snapp. 2007. Nutrients in agroecosystems: Re-thinking the management paradigm. Advances in Agronomy 92:163-186. PDF

Bezner-Kerr, R., S.S. Snapp, M. Chirwa, L. Shumba and R. Msachi. 2007. Participatory research on legume diversification with Malawian smallholder farms for improved human nutrition and soil fertility. Experimental Agriculture 43:437-453. PDF

Snapp, S.S. 2005. Early planting enhances root growth in fresh market tomatoes. J of Vegetable Crop Production 11:117-132.

Snapp, S.S., S.M. Swinton, R. Labarta, D. Mutch, J.R. Black, R. Leep, J. Nyiraneza and K. O’Neil. 2005. Evaluating benefits and costs of cover crops for cropping system niches. Agronomy J. 97:322-332. PDF

Snapp, S.S. and H. Borden. 2005. Enhanced nitrogen mineralization in mowed or glyphosate treated cover crops compared to direct incorporation. Plant and Soil 270:101-112. PDF

Long, C.M., S.S. Snapp, D.S. Douches and R.W. Chase. 2004. Tuber yield, storability, and quality of Michigan cultivars in response to nitrogen fertilization and seedpiece spacing. Amer J of Potato Res 81(5):347-357

Snapp S.S. 2004. Innovations in extension: Examples from Malawi. HortTechnology 14:8-13.

Roman, B., S.S. Snapp and J.D. Kelly. 2003. Assessing root traits associated with root rot resistance in common bean. Field Crops Research 86:147-156. PDF

Snapp, S.S., M.J. Blackie, C. Donovan. 2003. Realigning research and extension services: experiences from southern Africa. Food Policy 28:349-363. PDF

Snapp S.S. and A.Fortuna. 2003. Predicting nitrogen availability in irrigated potato systems. HortTechnology 13:598-604. PDF

Snapp, S.S., R.B. Jones, E.M. Minja, J. Rusike and S.N. Silim. 2003. Pigeon pea for Africa: A versatile vegetable - and more. HortScience 38:1073-1078. PDF

Snapp, S.S. and S.N. Silim. 2002. Farmer preference and legume intensification for low nutrient environments. Plant and Soil 245(1):181-192

Snapp, S.S., G. Kanyama-Phiri, B. Kamanga, R. Gilbert and K. Wellard. 2002. Farmer and researcher partnerships in Malawi: developing soil fertility technologies for the near-term and far-term. Experimental Agriculture 38:411-431. PDF

Snapp, S.S., D.D. Rohrbach, F. Simtowe and H.A. Freeman. 2002. Sustainable soil management options for Malawi: can smallholder farmers grow more legumes? Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 91:159-174.

Snapp, S.S., P.L. Mafongoya and S. Waddington. 1998. Organic matter technologies for integrated nutrient management in smallholder cropping systems of southern Africa. Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 71(1-3):185-200.

Extension Publications:

Snapp, S.S. and S. Grandy. Advanced soil organic matter management. MSU Extension Bulletin E-3137, February 2011. PDF

Morrone, V. and S.S. Snapp. Building soil for organic and sustainable farms: where to start? MSU Extension Bulletin E-3144, January 2011. PDF

Links to other Publications: 

Publications by GCFSI Team Members