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close this bookAbstracts on Sustainable Agriculture (GTZ; 1992; 423 pages)
close this folderAbstracts On Traditional Land-Use Systems
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the document1. Sustainability of land use systems: the potential of indigenous measures for the maintenance of soil productivity in sub-sahara african agriculture.
View the document2. Building on local knowledge - the challenge of agroforestry for pastoral areas.
View the document3. Alternatives to the traditional land-use system in alentejo, portugal, with special reference to soil tillage (alternative zum traditionellen landnutzungssystem im alentejo, portugal, unter besonderer ber_cksichtigung der bodenbearbeitung.)
View the document4. Indigenous farming systems and development of latin america: an amazonian example.
View the document5. Socio-economic and institutional considerations in improving shifting cultivation in tropical Africa.
View the document6. Traditional agriculture in southeastern Nigeria: demographic, land tenure, and other socio-economic factors.
View the document7. Appropriate land use systems for shifting cultivators.
View the document8. The sustainability of the impact of the integrated rural development programme (IRDP) Zambia/nw-province.
View the document9. Traditional knowledge about the use of soils in the Solomon Islands.
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on farming systems research and development
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on integrated systems
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on cropping system
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on agroecology
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on agrometeorology
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on agroforestry
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on homegardens
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on seed production
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on plant protection
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on water management
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on soil fertility
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on erosion and desertification control
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on potential crops for marginal lands
 

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),
- externalities (free rider problem),
- national and international price policies (wrong incentives),
- institutional and organizational arrangements and
- intergenerational equity (determination of the correct discounting rate) as well as
- personal awareness and subjective judgements also have an impact on the choice of technologies and the productivity of a land use system. Therefore, a research program designed to assess the problem of land degradation should not limit itself to the investigation of the physical changes as such, but must go further and identify the root causes that lead to these physical changes.

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,
- satisfies future demands of society for food and fibres, and
- assures the economic and social well-being of producers.

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.

1031 92 - 1/70

Traditional land-use systems

Review, Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, pastoral areas, dryland, indigenous knowledge, agroforestry, ICRAF

BARROW,G.C.

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