Uncovering the Root Causes of Soil Erosion in the Philippines

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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.

Keywords: Philippines; agricultural sustainability; conservation; erosion; sustainability science; systems thinking

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2011.563435

Affiliations: Department of Community,Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies, Michigan State University, East Lansing,Michigan, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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