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close this bookSoil Conservation Techniques for Hillside Farms (Peace Corps, 1986, 96 p.)
close this folderConclusion
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSuggested references
View the documentEnglish - Spanish vocabulary list
View the documentDichotomous key to the selection of soil conservation practices
View the documentResults of the Santa Cruz extension project: farm budgets and the profitability of modern agricultural techniques.
View the documentTwo simple levels for use in surveying contour lines
View the documentSome demonstrations useful in promoting new techniques


This guide attempts to provide agricultural extensionist with an understanding of some techniques which have been found helpful in improving hillside farming systems. Hopefully each extensionist can find one or several techniques presented here which are appropriate for any specific work area. Clearly it is not the role of this guide, just as it is not the role of the extensionist, to dictate the techniques to be used in any given situation. Rather agricultural extensionist and farmers should realize the realm of possible techniques available to them, enabling them to formulate their own plans according to the many variables (climate, topography, labor, markets, etc.) which determine the appropriateness of any given farming practice for an area.

Furthermore it is hoped that hillside farms are not to be regarded as "things to be fixed once and for all" with a set of soil conservation techniques. Farms, like individuals and communities never reach an ideal state of development, rather they are dynamic units which must adjust over time to a changing climate of environmental, human, economic, and political factors; all of which require that new practices constantly be tested and evaluated. If agricultural extensionists can communicate to farmers the importance of testing and evaluating new techniques, such as the ones included in this guide and many others, then both will be better prepared to address the problems facing the farmers now and in the future.

The technologies described in this guide are all simple options available to small-scale hillside farmers in the use of their land. It is hoped that through the use of these practices that better yields may be sustained for more years on each cultivated plot of land. In addition to the increase in crop production, the introduction of soil conservation techniques may facilitate the promotion and realization of more long-term effects of area wide conservation programs; such as the management of watersheds to maintain a reliable, clean, drinking water supply and the protection of undisturbed lands as reservoirs of native flora and fauna.