are in the MOST Phase I website (1994-2003).
The MOST Phase II website is available at: www.unesco.org/shs/most.
|Best Practices on Indigenous Knowledge||MOST/CIRAN|
A semi-quantitive spatial assessment of water erosion based on limited information using expert knowledge and real-valued observationsDESCRIPTION
The aim of the research is to make a semi-quantitative assessment of erosion by drawing on the knowledge of local experts and using available information on land characteristics. The method is especially useful for developing countries where quantitative data on soil loss and site characteristics is scarce, but where the rapid advance of erosion caused by water requires immediate action. The model estimates the erosion hazard by using real-valued and qualitative (local expert judgement) observations of soil loss as dependent variables, and commonly available information on site characteristics and types of land use as independent data. The estimation is adjusted for spatial and temporal autocorrelation of the variables. The study uses data from the Soil Conservation Research Project (SCRP; courtesy of Centre for Development and Environment, Bern) in Ethiopia. Numerous qualitative observations on erosion hazard were elicited via a questionnaire that was completed by nine local experts. To qualify as an expert, a person had to meet the following requirements:
The hypothesis is that local people have an institutionalized memory of the hazard of soil erosion under various land-use systems. The collection of quantitative data on the soil erosion process is tedious work that takes many years and seldom take variability in land conditions adequately into account. This is confirmed by the fact that many erosion loss studies show a poor correlation between model outcome and observations. Local experts, on the other hand, show remarkable consistency and accuracy in their assessments of erosion hazard. This can be put to good use to prevent the degradation of natural resources.
The practice contributes to soil conservation and sustainable land-use planning.
Farmers learn more about the causes and consequences of the erosion process. This leads to more sustainable practices and cultivation techniques.
STAKEHOLDERS AND BENEFICIARIES
The project involved Ethiopian farmers, experts in soil erosion control, and members of the scientific community.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
The methodology fills a gap in soil erosion modelling, a field that is currently dominated by process-based models that require large amounts of data but show a low correlation between model outcomes and observations. Collection of this type of data takes several years if spatial and temporal variability is to be taken into account. The methodology proposed here requires little data, and the findings can be applied shortly after the questionnaires are completed.
POTENTIAL FOR REPLICATION
The practice can be replicated under one main condition:
Ir. B.G.J.S. Sonneveld
Organization that provided this information:
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
University of Berne
To MOST Clearing House Best Practices on Poverty and Social Exclusion
To MOST/CIRAN Database of Best Practices on Indigenous Knowledge
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