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Title: Farmers' ecological knowledge about the management and use of farmland tree fodder resources in the mid-hills of eastern Nepal
Author: Thapa, Balaram
ISNI:       0000 0001 3516 6527
Awarding Body: University of Wales, Bangor
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 1994
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The thesis presents an investigation into indigenous ecological knowledge about the management and use of farmland tree fodder resources in a rural village setting in the mid- hills of eastern Nepal. The study focused upon a collection of hamlets spread over an altitudinal range of 500 m to 2000 m with a population of 3 500 people comprising a Village Development Committee. The study focused on the indigenous ecological knowledge associated with decision making criteria used by farmers in managing their farmland tree fodder resources. Knowledge was examined relating to how farmers perceived the value of a particular fodder species and the underlying knowledge systems used by them in fodder evaluation and how farmers perceived the interactions occurring in their tree-crop-based farming systems and the underlying ecological knowledge used by farmers in managing the interactions. The knowledge acquired from key informants was evaluated in terms of its representativeness, the extent to which it was used by farmers and the extent to which it was complementary and/or contradictory to professional knowledge held by research workers operating in the study area. The research relied upon concepts and approaches in knowledge elicitation developed in the field of anthropology and ethnography combined with a novel methodology for collecting, recording, accessing and evaluating indigenous ecological knowledge using knowledge based systems techniques. The defining feature of the approach adopted was the explicit representation of knowledge and incremental knowledge acquisition based on an iterative and rigorous evaluation of the usefulness of the knowledge already acquired. The practical utility of the approach was that once created, knowledge bases could be maintained and updated as a growing corporate record of current knowledge on the topic in question. A comprehensive knowledge base on tree fodder resources was created through interviews with key informants. The research demonstrated that farmers possessed a detailed ecological knowledge of tree-crop interactions, tree fodder quality and tree fodder management techniques which they used in formulating fodder management and feeding strategies. It was also revealed that the farmers' ecological knowledge was explanatory, predictive and of technical relevance. Indigenous ecological knowledge research in general and farmers' ecological knowledge in particular was demonstrated to have the potential to improve the understanding that researchers have of the complex interdisciplinary field of tree fodder resources and to be used to improve the design of research and development programmes making them more responsive to the needs of the target community. The study has identified several key issues having direct implications for designing future tree fodder research and development programmes in Nepal. This along with some policy issues raised by the study and how the tree fodder knowledge base created during the course of this study may be further improved and used in a research and development context are discussed. Key areas for further research are indicated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Forests and forestry ; Ecology