Recently, my major interest has been compiling and analyzing information
on sustainable plant disease management practices of traditional farmers,
most of which are cultural practices. Much of the literature describing
traditional agricultural systems and practices was abstracted and reexamined
with the objective of determining the practices, methods, and principles
used by traditional farmers to control plant diseases. One result of this
work was a book entitled
Practices for Plant Disease Management in Traditional Farming Systems.
Likewise, an examination of the world literature concerning
slash/mulch systems resulted in the book
Systems: Sustainable Methods for Tropical Agriculture. And finally, a
with over 3,200 references on traditional agriculture and plant pathology
has also been compiled.
Another major interest has been leading, and now participating in, an interdisciplinary working group , MOIST (Management of Organic Inputs in Soils of the Tropics) on Mulch-based agriculture funded by CIIFAD (Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development) at Cornell University. Mulch-based agriculture includes agricultural systems in which green manures, cover crops, or agroforestry species contribute to a mulch or litter layer of vegetative biomass which is left on the soil or partially incorporated. Several low-input mulch-based agricultural systems, such as frijol tapado in Central America and the velvet bean/maize system which is now found in Central America, and parts of Asia and Africa, have shown promise in providing increased productivity and yield stability on both marginal and fertile soils. The group is working with farmers and NGOs as well as research institutions and universities.
The use of green manures and cover crops is nothing new. Cato (1934), a Roman who lived in 234-149 B.C., wrote that lupines, beans, and vetch fertilized the land. The Roman Virgil (70-19 B.C.), recommended the following:
"See, too, that your arable land lies fallow in due rotation, and leave
the idle field alone to recoup its strength: or else, changing the seasons,
put down to yellow spelt, a field where before you raised the bean with its
rattling pods, or the small seeded vetch, or the brittle stalks and rustling
haulm of the bitter lupine, so too are the fields rested by a rotation of
crops, and unploughed land promises to pay you."
Some other resources on Traditional Agriculture on the World World Web :
Ancient and Traditional Farming Systems - This issue (Volume V, Number 3, 1993) produced by Ag-Sieve publishing team focuses on ancient farming techniques
IELA (Centre for Research and Information on Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture) - This organization concentrates its research activities in Ghana, Peru and The Philippines, involving three different ecozones. It supports a document database on ecologically-oriented agriculture and participative processes.
World Resources Institute - Wide variety of information on world resources
Plants and Traditional Agriculture - Books on Traditional Agriculture
Management of Organic Inputs in Soils of the Tropics (Mulch-Based Agriculture) - Cornell University
Erosion of Crop Genetic Diversity - Natural Resouce Perspectives - Overseas Development Institute
Belize River Archaeological Settlement Survey (BRASS) - El Pilar - Includes information on Maya agriculture and ecology.
Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor - CIRAN/Nuffic The Hague, The Netherlands
The Alternatives to Slash and Burn (ASB) Program - Inførmation on slash & burn agriculture, biodiversity, etc.
|Introduction to Traditional Agriculture
|Further Resources on Traditional
Agriculture |Related Cornell
|List of Personal
Publications|Overview of Traditional
Agricultural methods |
Comments and suggestions
|Introduction to Traditional Agriculture |
|Further Resources on Traditional Agriculture |Related Cornell University Courses|
|List of Personal Publications|Overview of Traditional Agricultural methods |
Comments and suggestions welcomed ...