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Indigenous Soil Classification by Different Ethnic Groups in Phonexay District, Luanprabang Province.  

Indigenous Soil Classification by Different Ethnic Groups in Phonexay District, Luanprabang Province.

Local agricultural practices based on indigenous knowledge have been practiced for a long time and they are often very sustainable technologies for development programs. Study of indigenous knowledge of soil classification has not been substantially undertaken and is a new topic of research in the Lao PDR. The objectives of this research are to demonstrate ethno-scientific elicitation techniques for indigenous knowledge on soil classification, and to identify indigenous classification systems for soils as a first step in understanding how different ethnic groups (Hmong, Khumu and Lao Loum) in the research area perceive and manage soils, and to develop a knowledge base on indigenous soil classification. The research area was located in the target village (Nambor, Thapo and Huaymaha villages in Phonexay district, Luangprabang province) of the Lao-Swedish Upland Agriculture and Forestry Research Programme (LSUAFRP) of the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI). The focus group interview was done separately with each ethnic group with adjustments to fit the dynamics of the situation in each case. The result of this research indicates that all three ethnic groups used soil color as one of the features which distinguished the second or third level in indigenous taxonomies of soil (the first level being the ?domain? name of soil in each ethnic group). One interesting point, even though being from the same ethnic group, the soil classification is different in different villages as in the case of the Hmong ethnic group in Huaymaha and Nambor village. The most significant feature for the Lao Loum ethnic group is that they classified the types of soil according to the water content and holding capacity. They did not classify many types of soil as ?with rock? or as ?pure rock? in the way the Khumu and Hmong ethnic groups did.

Published by: National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI) -
Uploaded on: Jun 2006
File size: 248 KB - Language: English
Keyword(s): Natural Resources Management
Category: Environment

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