CIESIN Thematic Guides

Indigenous Agricultural and Land Use Practices

An excellent source for descriptions of case studies of agricultural and land use practices is Indigenous Knowledge Systems: Cultural Dimensions of Development (Warren, Brokensha, and Slikkerveer 1993).

In "Indigenous Technical Practices Employed by Farmers in a Rice-based Farming System," Rajasekaran (1993a) discusses cropping systems; soil health care practices; crop nutrient management practices; seed selection and processing techniques; rice transplanting techniques; and weed- and pest-management strategies in India.

Such diversity in agricultural and land use practices has also been observed in mountainous farming systems. In "Folk Agronomy in the Himalayas," Jodha and Partap (1992) describe practices in traditional terracing systems, including land and soil management in sloping agricultural lands; water and moisture management; agronomic practices; crop choice; biomass production and management; and livestock farming.

Farmers who live in resource-poor environments tend to neglect technologies recommended through agricultural research-extension systems. Therefore, a vast difference exists between recommended and indigenous practices. Kerr and Sanghi (1992) explore the differences between recommended and indigenous soil and water conservation practices according to soil types and rainfall variations in "Indigenous Soil and Water Conservation in India's Semi-Arid Tropics."