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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

2. Building on local knowledge - the challenge of agroforestry for pastoral areas.

Agroforestry Today, Oct.-Dec. 1991, pp. 4-7

For generations, the lives of pastoralists in dryland Africa were shaped by one thing: an unforgiving climate. With the threat of drought always as near as the next season, pastoral communities built up knowledge about the vegetation in their harsh environment and evolved complex strategies that gave them resilience to the consequences of unreliable rainfall.

An expanding population, penetration of the cash economy, loss of dry-season grazing land to cropping, and a national emphasis on crops and settlements have brought a different set of challenges. Despite the long-term sustainability of pastoral land-management systems, they are now in danger of breaking down.

Attempts to help pastoralists adapt to their new circumstances, through agriculture or agroforestry, were often unsuccessful. In many cases, this lack of success can be linked to the fact that scientists and planners failed to discuss problems and potential solutions with the recipients of research and development.

The pastoralists' knowledge of their environment was usually ignored or, at best, simply not understood.

A brief description of three pastoral communities: the Pokot and Turkana of Kenya and the Sukuma of Tanzania gives some answers on how they utilize plants and manage their land.

Concluding, the capacity of the people and the land to recover from drought is linked to a mobile population, availability of large and diverse grazing lands, access to dry-season fodder including trees, low to moderate stocking rates per unit of land, moderate to high stocking rates per person, use of wild fruits and other fonds from trees, and limited production of dryland crops such as sorghum.

A second lesson from these pastoral societies concerns the vital link between resilience and risk. For pastoralists, decreased resilience can dramatically reduce the chances of surviving a period of drought. In this context, changes in land use, such as the cultivation of areas traditionally used for dry-season grazing, may significantly reduce resilience and increase risk. By retaining trees in crop and grazing land, agroforestry could help to migitate this threat.

One other lesson is an appreciation of the importance of traditional knowledge coupled with a strong community structure. The knowledge provides a thorough understanding of the environment and the production system.

Concluding researchers and planners must first identify valuable aspects of the traditional natural-resource management system. They must then work with local people to help them adapt their practices to changing socio-economic and environmental conditions.

Research and develop priorities will naturally vary from region to region, but given the vastness of many dryland areas, it makes good sense to develop a system-wide framework that emphasizes conservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources.

Within such a framework, specific strategies could incorporate:


- The conservation and management of existing trees, shrubs and grasses, including natural regeneration
- The inclusion of a water-resource management policy to coordinate tree planting, natural regeneration, crop production and other activities that require water
- The use of existing natural-resource management strategies as a basis for further development
- A deliberate policy to increase awareness of natural-resource management, including shifting responsibility to local people
- The enhancement and reinforcement of the traditional land- management system through collaboration with resource users
- At the same time, the dissemination of promising new practices that have been thoroughly researched and tested.

Some recent approaches to research and development tend to be more enlightened than those of the past. There is now an extensive literature that strongly advocates the use of indigenous technical knowledge and that argues for participatory research as a basis for the development of appropriate interventions.

This movement towards participation in research and extension is part of a shift towards involving local people more actively in setting research priorities and planning their own development. These participatory programmes are yielding valuable information about existing systems, their potentials and constraints, problems and possible solutions.

By incorporating local people in the process of project planning and technology development, indigenous skills and knowledge can be expanded and preserved rather than lost through attrition.

People can maintain some degree of control over the changes that occur and they can gain a better understanding of alternative technologies and management practices.

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Traditional land-use systems

Europe, Portugal, Alentejo, field trials, land-use system, mechanization, history of development, soil productivity, traditional tillage, cropping system, cost reduction, cereals, fodder, sunflower, soil parameters


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