Differences between farmers and scientists in the perception of soil erosion: a South African case study | Land Portal

Información del recurso

Date of publication: 
Enero 1998
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 

Over the years agricultural scientists and extension agents have asked themselves why farmers do not take steps to control soil erosion, especially where such measures would appear to be cost-effective. Several explanations have been put forward, but thus far insufficient attention has been given to differences between scientists and farmers in their perception of the causes and effects of soil erosion. This is illustrated by a case study carried out in Zululand in South Africa.The case study revealed various differences between farmers and scientists in their perception of erosion. One basic difference centred on the perception of the environment as a whole. According to the scientists, there are sandy soils on the slopes and clayey soils with organic matter in the depressions, due to land formation and erosion processes. The farmers, however, believed that God had created the different soil types. Similarly, Lindskog and Tengberg found that the Fulani in northern Burkina Faso did not believe that they themselves could influence the process, and accepted land degradation as an act of God (Allah). The perception of erosion is important for various reasons. Making the differences in perception explicit will facilitate the development of solutions satisfactory to all parties. Measures must be fully accepted by farmers if they are to be implemented, and this will involve a participatory process in which both scientists and farmers are involved from the start. Participatory studies on the perception of erosion can usefully be incorporated into the preparatory stage of soil and water conservation projects. [author]

Autores y editores

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

S.C. van Dissel
J. de Graaff

Proveedor de datos

eldis (ELDIS)

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