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How farmers’ local knowledge of their soils influences land management and soil quality, in Brazil’s Natuba Basin

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Title: How farmers’ local knowledge of their soils influences land management and soil quality, in Brazil’s Natuba Basin
Author: Winstone, Bethany; Winstone, Bethany
Department: School of Environmental Sciences
Program: Environmental Sciences
Advisor: Heck, Richard
Abstract: Agricultural production in Northeastern Brazil is one of the primary means of making a livelihood for many in the region. This is the case for the farmers of the Natuba Basin, located near the municipalities of Vitória de Santo Antão and Pombos, in Pernambuco state, Brazil. There has been no research examining the relationships between these farmers’ local knowledge of soils and their management on soil quality in this region. The importance of understanding farmers’ thoughts, access to resources and their local knowledge around their practices, is so that land management can be tailored to their lived experiences. Farmers have a unique relationship with their land and are better able to articulate the benefits and disadvantages of management practices they use. The goal of this research was to contribute to our understanding of the relationships among farmers’ local knowledge of soil, their subsequent land management and resulting soil quality. The overarching research question was: How does uncertified “Organic” and Conventional farmers’ local knowledge of soil influence their land management practices and subsequently soil quality in Brazil’s Natuba Basin? This question was answered using a variety of mixed methods, incorporating traditional soil chemical analyses, quantitative soil CT analysis and semi-structured interviews; however, there was an error rate of plus or minus 13 percent. This study suggested that these Organic farmers tended to have higher education levels. Organic production systems were also found to have higher levels of SOC and N, as well as a less acidic pH. The use of radiodensity frequency distribution, semivariance analysis and the Balaguer-Beser Parameters suggested that at the Whole Soil level Conventionally managed soils exhibited more structural variably; however, at the Aggregate level Organically managed soils were more structurally variable.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/13016
Date: 2018-04
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada


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