Soil erosion is a serious threat to the sustainability of agricultural systems in the Philippines, as in many intensively cultivated regions of the developing world, yet the ultimate causes of erosion are complex and poorly understood. If erosion is to be addressed adequately by farmers
and policymakers, the root causes must be dealt with. Most approaches to erosion in the literature and in practice hypothesize that erosion may be adequately controlled at the farm level through the use of appropriate technologies. In this study, farmers and key stakeholders with knowledge
of the upland agricultural system in the Philippines pointed to a more systemic understanding of the root causes of erosion, which implicated poverty and landlessness as primary drivers. The technical knowledge of erosion researchers must be brought together with the systemic understanding
of agricultural workers “on the ground” if a sustainable soil management strategy is to be created.