| Resource management for upland areas in Southeast Asia - An information kit |
|2. Integrated upland systems management|
Prescriptive models and packages of technology are seldom transferable from site to site. (See also Upland development issues and approaches.) Conditions within Southeast Asia, within particular countries, within watersheds, and even within communities are generally too diverse for top-down models to be applied at the farm level. Apart from agroecological diversity, there is a diversity of clients to address— large and smallholder farmers, marginal farmers, the landless, rural industry workers, shopkeepers, townspeople and urban dwellers—all with different socioeconomic and cultural characteristics and needs.
This chapter brings together lessons about prominent agroforestry systems in the region. The next chapter describes important soil and water conservation practices that are being applied in these systems. To understand what makes these systems and practices work, it is important to identify factors or considerations that influence farmers in deciding how to manage their natural resources.
The broad framework for this discussion incorporates socioeconomic, biophysical, conservation and agriculture production issues, which interrelate with the farm household. Many factors influence a farmer's choice of production enterprise or conservation effort.
An example of a checklist of considerations which influence the management of upland systems can be found on the next page. The objectives of this checklist are to:
· Equip extension workers with a framework for understanding the multiple factors that influence how and why farmers make production and resource allocation decisions.
· Serve as a tool for conducting diagnostic activities and helping farmers and extension workers improve their decision-making process.
The checklist may be used at the diagnostic phase for guiding semistructured interviews and group discussions with farmers. (See also chapter on Diagnostic methods and tools ) It may also help to probe for underlying biophysical and socioeconomic factors that explain how and why farmers make specific choices regarding management of their farming systems. Finally, the checklist can be used in monitoring and evaluating field activities.