No. 46, Fall/Winter 1999
Tools for Small Farmers
Annotated by Elaine Cubbins
Appropriate Farm Technologies for Cold and Dry Zones of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas
P.O. Box 3226
Tel: +977 (1) 525313
Fax: +977 (1) 524509, 536747
URL for ordering: http://www.icimod.org.sg/publications/catalogue/order.htm
People living in mountainous regions are often marginalized due to isolation of communities. Cultures and traditional lifeways may be vulnerable to outside influences that interfere with sustainable living in the rugged environment. This is particularly true for the over 1000 tribes who live in the highest, most fragile and most populous mountain regions in the world: the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region (HKH). Countries that participate in the HKH Region include Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, and Pakistan.
The mission of ICIMOD is to "...to help promote the development of an economically and environmentally sound mountain ecosystem and to improve the living standards of mountain populations in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region." This work attempts to meet one of the four activities of ICIMOD as mandated by its statutes, to document and exchange information on the HKH Region.
This book consists of a compilation of research findings for studies commissioned for researching and documenting "appropriate and indigenous farm technologies in selected sites within their respective countries":
One chapter in particular focuses on pro-women technologies: "Indigenous agro-based technologies are women-specific and focus on gender-equity in the male-dominated social structures of the HKH region by strengthening the economic empowerment of women."
Other features include annexes listing well-known fruit and vegetable varieties from different agro-ecological zones within the HKH region, practical agricultural techniques, and traditional farming implements; tables and graphs, illustrations, and color photographs; a glossary of acronyms and indigenous terms; recipes for indigenous crops; and a relevant bibliography.
Ecology of Sonoran Desert Plants and Plant Communities
1230 North Park Avenue, Suite 102
Tucson, Arizona 85719
Tel: +1 (520) 621-3920
Fax: +1 (520) 621-8899
This collection of original essays by noted researchers and scholars introduces the ecology of the Sonoran Desert by providing an overview of ecological practices at landscape, community, and organismal levels. The essays explore the flora in this distinctive biotic region, and the ecological patterns and processes that underlie its rich diversity. An additional feature is a discussion of the history and scientific legacy of the Desert Laboratory in Tucson, which has conducted research on the Sonoran Desert since 1903.
The book covers a wide spectrum of spatial and temporal scales that focus on a broad, in-depth body of research being pursued in the Sonoran Desert, and acts as both a testament to the ongoing studies and as an authoritative introduction to the region's diverse plant life. Additionally, the text examines the ecological consequences of modern agricultural development, and speculates on how the modern biota may have been impacted by 40,000 years of change in climate, vegetation, megafauna, and ancient cultures.
Essays included in the book are:
Maps, drawings, photographs, graphs, tables, and remote sensing imagery enhance the text. Each chapter finishes with an extensive bibliography of citations. This work is academic, but is also accessible to lay people, and is important reading for anyone interested in understanding the ecology of the Sonoran Desert.
Roots in the African Dust: Sustaining the Sub-Saharan Drylands
110 Midland Avenue
Port Chester, New York 10573-4930
Tel: 1-800-872-7423; +1 (914) 937-9600
Fax: +1 (914) 937-4712
"The image of Africa in the modern world has come to be shaped by perceptions of the drylands and their problems of poverty, drought, degradation and famine. Michael Mortimore offers an alternative and revisionist thesis, dismissing both on theoretical and empirical grounds the conventional view of runaway desertification, driven by population growth and inappropriate land use. In its place he suggests a more optimistic model of sustainable land use which is based on researched case studies from East and West Africa, where indigenous technological adaptation has put population growth and market opportunities to advantage. He also proposes a more appropriate set of policy priorities to support dryland peoples in their efforts to sustain land and livelihoods."
Mortimer identifies and discusses the contradictory views of "doomsday scenarios" based on global-level studies versus optimistic scenarios based on local-level studies; he links the concept of desertification to global studies while claiming an incomplete development of a paradigm from local-level studies. The global perspectives concerning Africa's drylands are characterized for aridity, variability, social and natural diversities, and desertification as a concept is deconstructed to assess indicators, policies and dilemmas.
The smallholder's perspective is the focus of the book, and includes labor, cultivated land, livestock, crops, fodder, trees, water, and technologies. Rangelands are evaluated scientifically and through using case studies of three indigenous groups in Ethiopia, the Sudan, and Niger. The struggles of farmers concerning the management of rainfall variability and pests are illustrated with groups in Nigeria, and the contribution of households risks in biological reproduction, sufficient food, sustainable incomes and persistence in instability are examined. The theory of degradation is re-examined using case studies from Mali, Botswana and Tanzania. Two farming systems are compared to test the hypothesis that population growth, rainfall variability and monetization cause increased environmental degradation, and conservation is evaluated as practiced by one African indigenous group.
A number of conclusions related to planning and policy in arid lands are suggested by Mortimer:
Black and white photographs, maps, graphs, tables, charts, an extensive bibliography and index enhance the text.
Drylands: Sustainable Use of Rangelands into the Twenty-first Century
Via del Serafico, 107
On 3-6 November 1996, Saudi Arabia's Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration (MEPA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water (MAW) collaborated with IFAD to present an international workshop in Jeddah concerning sustainable use of rangelands and control of desertification. The workshop focused on "the capacity and potential of satellite imagery, remote sensing and related technologies advances for monitoring trends and changes in rangelands, livestock and movements of human population...[and] how such advances in technology could provide management early warning tools responsive to the needs of the pastoralists while respecting their cultural traditions and values."
The main objective of the workshop was to familiarize researchers and administrators with relevant research from different disciplines. This book contains the proceedings of the workshop, and aims to provide analysis of the changes occurring in the sustainable use of drylands, particularly those areas where livestock management relies on natural grazing materials.
The book is divided into five sections, with three appendices that summarize the issues and recommendations, identify the recommendation committee members, and provide information on the conference papers contributors. Color maps follow the appendices, and illustrations, tables, graphs and bibliographies are included in the chapters. Below are two selected chapter titles from each part of the book:
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