Are we learning? : strengthening local people's capacities to facilitate the recuperation of degraded pasture lands in Central America

Solis, Pavel Bautista (2012) Are we learning? : strengthening local people's capacities to facilitate the recuperation of degraded pasture lands in Central America. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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This thesis describes and assesses the impact of a participatory learning and experimentation process based on the livestock Farmer Field Schools (FFS) approach in Central America. Several organizations have devoted efforts to generating technological improvements for livestock production, such as the implementation of silvopastoral systems (SPS) and intensive livestock practices including silage and hay. However, despite material investments in research and extension for promoting their use, the adoption of those technologies remains limited. In consequence, the livelihoods of farmers and the environmental sustainability of cattle production are compromised, causing negative effects such as contamination of water, degradation of pastures and soils, and poverty. From 2003 to 2008 farmers, local organizations related to livestock production and CATIE formed an alliance and participated in a regional Degraded Pastures Programme (DEPAPRO). The aim of DEPAPRO was to strengthen livestock stakeholders’ capacities for implementing environmentally beneficial livestock production. Mixed methods (quantitative, qualitative and participatory) were combined in three main research stages during fieldwork: (i) FFS documentation; (ii) participatory technology analysis; and (iii) FFS impact assessment. Most of results were structured using the Sustainable Livelihood Approach (SLA); and Community Capitals Framework (CCF). The main effect of DEPAPRO for the stakeholders that participated in the FFS was the strengthening of human capital. Specifically, the stakeholders displayed greater technical knowledge about some intensive and silvopastoral technologies; and methodological skills for organizing FFS. Farmers preferred practices such as improved pastures and live fences because they provided several beneficial impacts, require simple management and were more adaptable to their livelihoods. Analyses showed that further efforts for facilitating the implementation of sustainable livestock production systems are needed. The latter should include the strengthening of assets that have not usually been addressed in agroforestry and rural development projects: namely social and political capitals. Moreover, a search of strategies for creating a supportive policy environment; and mechanisms for funding FFS and the establishment of better practices are also necessary.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: Degree Thesis
College of Natural Sciences > School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2015 14:47
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2016 15:42
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/5181
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