5. Soil conservation and management in developing countries.
FAO Soils Bulletin No. 33, ISBN 92-5-100430-7, 1985, pp. 208 + appendices
The purpose of this book was to re-examine the question of soil conservation and management in the developing countries, bearing in mind socio-economic aspects, administrative structures, technology and financial resources.
The discussions concluded that there are problems in the organization of soil conservation and management and possible solutions were suggested.
Soil conservation in the past was commonly equated with the mere prevention of erosion or with the restoration of areas in which accelerated erosion has already taken place. The modern thinking however, assigns to soil conservation a more comprehensive and more positive role, in that sustained improvement complemented by the preservation of available resources should form the central concept.
Soil conservation is not merely a technical problem.
The basic concept of a multi-disciplinary approach to the solution of the problems has unfortunately been overlooked in most cases.
The following general recommendations were made amongst others:
- Soil erosion, and consequently the need for conservation, is not confined to land under arable use; it frequently affects grazing lands, and can be associated with mining, road construction, forestry and other kinds of land use.
It is consequently desirable to take conservation measures to prevent onset of erosion rather than acting after it has commenced.
- Detailed knowledge of the nature and distribution of land in an area are the basic pre-requisites of any conservation programme.
Conservation education and extension are areas where particular attention must be directed in the developing countries. Many countries transfer without due consideration to socio-economic factors, conservation education methods from other environments with the pious hope of solving their own problems.
The organizational set-up is often uncoordinated with the general machinery of other Government Departments. This has in many cases resulted in ineffective, disorganized programmes which failed or even, in some cases, perpetuated the problem. There are examples in many countries of expensive soil conservation structures which are not properly maintained and which result in a worsening of the situation. In many of these countries, techniques need not always be complex. Such simple practices as contouring and terracing, constructed with the farmers' own tools, may in the aggregate, contribute as much as the more spectacular large scale development.
Specific guidelines are made for:
As a general principle, it is suggested that the contribution of FAO should be directed towards the coordination and dissemination of results and assistance to individual countries; and that individual countries and institutions should concentrate on work related to their local or regional circumstances.
1258 92 - 13/56
Erosion and desertification control
Review, book, land evaluation, rainfed agriculture, soil resources management, land utilization types, land-use, land-use requirements, crop requirements, land qualities, agroclimatic zones
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