1. Sustainability of land use systems: the potential of indigenous measures for the maintenance of soil productivity in sub-sahara african agriculture.
Publ. of the Inst. of Agricultural Economics, Univ. of Göttingen, F.R.G., 1991, 111 p.
The primary aim of this paper is to develop a multidisciplinary research design to examine the sustainability of prevailing land use systems in selected agroecological zones in Africa. Therefore special attention is paid to the understanding and assessment of the systems' dynamics and the potentials embodied in indigenous measures by which farmers try to adjust to changing situations.
The question of sustainable agricultural development has increasingly drawn the attention of many international development research institutions and scholars particularly concerned with the challenge imposed on prevailing production systems in the developing world. The main objective is twofold: the incorporation of sustainability as an objective in the traditional set of goals of agricultural development research; and to develop and use sustainability as a measurement criterion to design and evaluate alternative systems by investigating and analyzing the reasons why existing systems are no more capable of perpetuating agricultural growth.
Conventional research approaches, both in their general objective and choice of performance criteria, very seldom put emphasis on the long-term performance of the systems they investigated.
Most studies describe the process of physical, chemical or economic degradation. Consequently, measures to combat the process of degradation were mainly technical solutions which very often failed completely. This is primarily due to the failure to include sociological and political influential factors which directly or indirectly determine the decision making process of rural farm households. Because of this misconception decisive variables have been neglected in the analysis of production functions. Socio-economic variables like
- tenure arrangements (common property problem),
Agricultural production systems should be viewed as complex dynamic agroecosystems that are determined by the interaction of a set of geophysical, biological, socio-economic and cultural factors.
A sustainable agroecosystem is one that
- maintains or enhances environmental quality,
An assessment of sustainability should simultaneously consider all important dimensions of an agroecosystem - namely the environmental, economic and social aspects with the view of exploring the factors that make a system unsustainable in the long run. This simultaneous consideration should be based on a thorough understanding of the inter dependencies and pattern of interaction between the different aspects in specific areas and development stages. Most of all, the interrelationships between the natural environment and the agricultural production process need to be well understood.
An important aspect of the sustainability concept is the question of finding an appropriate analytical tool to measure a system's sustainability over time. According to the comprehensive definition of sustainability a sound methodology has to consider the environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainability.
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Traditional land-use systems
Review, Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, pastoral areas, dryland, indigenous knowledge, agroforestry, ICRAF
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