Exploring Agrodiversity

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Overview

Small farmers are often viewed as engaging in wasteful practices that wreak ecological havoc. Exploring Agrodiversity sets the record straight: Small farmers are in fact ingenious and inventive and engage in a diverse range of land-management strategies, many of them resourcefully geared toward conserving resources, especially soil. They have shown considerable resilience in the face of major onslaughts against their way of life by outsiders and government.Using case studies from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific, this book provides in-depth analysis of agricultural diversity and explores its history. The book also considers the effect of the "gene revolution" on small farmers and reviews the effects of the "green revolution" in Asian countries. In conclusion, it questions whether the diverse agricultural practices employed by small farmers can survive modern pressures and the global ambitions of the biotechnology industry.
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Editorial Reviews

Land Degradation and Development
Harold Brookfield has again broken the mould with this extrememly valuable and detailed introduction to, and exposition of, his latest interest and speciality -the agrodiversity of small farmers. . . . This book deserves serious attention. It is an excellent treatment of small farmer management strategies, and there are lessons to be learned from its findings.
Nature
Brookfield brings together a rich collection of evidence. . . and elegantly outlines the importance of agrodiversity.
Booknews
In what he calls an exploration rather than an exposition, Brookfield (United Nations U.) discusses diversity in the manner in which farmers use all their resources, a mouthful that he reduced to agrodiversity, which has become a central concept for the People, Land Management, and Environmental Change project he has been working on for nearly a decade. He draws on a selection from a large literature based on field research in small areas, on a purposive sampling of the historical literature covering specific areas and periods of time, and to some extent on his own fieldwork. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Nature

Brookfield brings together a rich collection of evidence... and elegantly outlines the importance of agrodiversity.

Land Degradation and Development

Brookfield has again broken the mould with this extrememly valuable and detailed introduction to, and exposition of, his latest interest and speciality -- the agrodiversity of small farmers.... An excellent treatment of small farmer management strategies.

Basic and Applied Ecology

A valuable contribution...provides many interesting examples that question well established and widely disseminated hypotheses.

Conservation Ecology

Harold Brookfield has written a book well worth the read... Few scholars are as well positioned as Brookfield to write about dynamic diversity in traditional agricultural systems centered on the farmer and the farm.

The Professional Geographer
Brookfield has emphasized the extremes of agriculturally managed landscapes in the small-farming regions of developing countries... [T]he volume is an excellent resource for scholars and policymakers, as well as a major contribution to the field of agrodiversity.

— Shivaji Prasad

Landscape Ecology
[T]his is an interesting book and would be a worthwhile addition to any personal or academic library just for a range of case studies alone.... There is a fascinating range of examples of variations on the themes of human adaptability and landscape change.

— Christopher Young

The Professional Geographer - Shivaji Prasad

Brookfield has emphasized the extremes of agriculturally managed landscapes in the small-farming regions of developing countries... [T]he volume is an excellent resource for scholars and policymakers, as well as a major contribution to the field of agrodiversity.

Landscape Ecology - Christopher Young

[T]his is an interesting book and would be a worthwhile addition to any personal or academic library just for a range of case studies alone.... There is a fascinating range of examples of variations on the themes of human adaptability and landscape change.

Nature

Brookfield brings together a rich collection of evidence... and elegantly outlines the importance of agrodiversity.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Harold Brookfield is professor emeritus at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies of the Australian National University. He has written several books, including Land Degradation and Society.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Pt. I Presenting Agrodiversity
Ch. 1 Presenting Diversity by Example: Mintima and Bayninan 3
Ch. 2 Diversity, Stress, and Opportunity 23
Ch. 3 Defining, Describing, and Writing About Agrodiversity 40
Ch. 4 Learning About the History of Agrodiversity 59
Ch. 5 Understanding Soils and Soil-Plant Dynamics 80
Pt. II Diversity Within Land Rotational Systems
Ch. 6 Analyzing Shifting Cultivation 103
Ch. 7 Alternative Ways to Farm Parsimonious Soils 123
Ch. 8 Managing Plants in the Fallow and the Forest 140
Ch. 9 Coping with Problems: Degraded Land, Slope Dynamics, and Flood 157
Pt. III Paths of Transformation
Ch. 10 Who Has Driven Agricultural Change? 179
Ch. 11 Farmer-Driven Transformation in Modern Times 198
Ch. 12 The Green Revolution 218
Pt. IV The Future of Agrodiversity
Ch. 13 Recent Trends in Agriculture 241
Ch. 14 Science, Farmers, and Politics 262
Epilogue: Looking at the Future 281
References 287
Index 325
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