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Local Technical Knowledge and Natural Resource Management In

Local Technical Knowledge and Natural Resource Management In

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Shifting cultivators
Local technical knowledge andnatural resource management in thehumid tropics
byKatherine Warner
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONSRome, 1991
 
The designations employed and the presentation of material in thispublication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoeveron the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UnitedNations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city orarea or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiersor boundaries.
 Design and lay-out by Lynn Ball Illustrations by L. V. Pascual Cervera
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored ina retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of thecopyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of thepurpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director,Publications Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UnitedNations, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
© FAO 1991
 
iii
Preface
In 1990, within its Forestry for Community Development Programme, the FAO Forestry Department publishedCommunity Forestry Note 4, "Herders' Decision-Making in Natural Resources Management in Arid and Semi-Arid Africa". This was the first step in filling an information gap on what knowledge rural people have developedin the management of trees and forests in relation to their production systems.Dr. Katherine Warner, an anthropologist with a special focus on shifting cultivation systems, follows withthis Community Forestry Note 8. "Shifting Cultivators" highlights the local technical knowledge applied byswidden/fallow farmers when making resource management decisions. This is an especially timely volume as itbrings together data and provides valuable analysis of a practice that is currently in ill repute with forestryplanners and environmentalists. Dr. Warner does not claim that shifting cultivators can continue with theirsystems, especially in the face of competing land and tree uses for their fallow areas. She does, however, pointout valuable lessons that can be learned from the long-term swidden/fallow cultivators about sustainable use of tropical forests. She provides suggestions for the evolution of systems based on what these women and menfarmers already know and use in providing a livelihood for their families in difficult tropical environments.The development of "Shifting Cultivators" was supported by the Community Forestry Unit and by aninterdepartmental working group and a number of outside reviewers. The study was partially funded from a multi-donor trust fund, Forests, Trees and People, dedicated to increased sustainable livelihoods for women and men indeveloping countries, especially the rural poor, through self-help management of tree and forest resources."Shifting Cultivators" is to be followed by documents on private tree management of single trees (for productionof various products) and of trees in spatial arrangements (including indigenous agroforestry), and on communalmanagement of woodlands. It is hoped that this series of studies will prove useful in pointing out the importanceof local knowledge and resource management strategies, and will provide more effective support of local peoplein their effort to improve their current and future well-being through better tree and woodland management.M.R. de MontalembertChief, Planning and Institutions ServiceForestry Department

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