Locating farmer-based knowledge and vested interests in natural resource management: The interface of ethnopedology, land tenure and gender in soil erosion management in the Manupali watershed, Philippines
Type of Document:
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
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Research was conducted with support of SANREM CRSP’s Southeast Asia LTRA from 1991 to 2009. Guiding research questions sought to determine farmer’s methods for soil classification, perceived causes of erosion, erosion control practices, and what can be done to incentivize adoption of those practices. Methodologies included focus group discussions, transect walks, soil sampling and lab analysis. The researchers divided the farmers into 6 groups, so selected that within each group the members would display some homogeneity. For example, one group was comprised of farmers who own land and farm only that parcel, hiring labor when needed. Another group was comprised solely of female heads of households. An important factor in understanding practices adopted in the Manupali watershed is the tenure status of land. With little land for sale, renters make up a large portion of farmers, and focus group discussions revealed that they had few incentives to invest in prevention erosion on their plots. However, the researchers found that women were more involved than men in the adoption and implementation of long-term erosion prevention. Results revealed that a major issue in erosion prevention was land tenure status, as renters were more likely to avoid or undo erosion control practices enacted by previous renters in order to maximize yields for a particular growing season without long-term considerations for the availability of topsoil. While it is desirable to link local knowledge to conservation practices, the author puts forward that external economic pressures dissuade them from doing what is best for the environment.