During the last decade, great floods, destructive winds, desertification and grain shortages in Burkina Faso have spotlighted agro-ecological change as a crucial challenge for achieving sustainable development in eastern part of the country especially in the Gourma region. In fact, the new agro-ecological order has reshaped and transformed geographical representations, land tenure and norms and techniques of crops production in this auto-subsistence agrarian society of Gourmantche. In response to the current agro-ecological and social framework, local farmers have invented methods of crop production: the zaï techniques which enable the maintenance or restoration of the soil fertility, rotational practice (combining or mixing food and cash crops in the same field), shifting cultivation as well as the fragmentation of households in order to optimize the productivity of manpower in nuclear families. These technological innovations allow local farmers to manage sustainably their landscape.
Key words: Agro-ecological change, auto-subsistence, innovations, farming strategies, Burkina Faso, West Africa.