Conservation organizations, societies and corporations often undermine the use of local knowledge in an attempt to conserve the environment, with concept of “knowing all”; however this is wrong! Recently when I read a disclaimer article by Thompson Reuters Foundation citing amazing facts that “Tribal People are the best conservationists.” I realized many conservation organizations have been performing well when it came to sensitization on what measures or approaches they think is the best.
For example; when i sought of majoring into sustainable agriculture, I thought I knew all at the time I set my feet on the land. However, when I accepted the fact that I knew nothing at all and was open to suggestions from our local farmers (employees at the farm); new ideas started maneuvering. I didn’t know the varieties of plantain grown in Buganda, a local monarchical group in Uganda. Handling the plantain suckers, the ratio of manure it required, how many feets deep and wide a hole is required for proper growth. Now I pride with knowledge because I accepted to learn and acknowledged the fact I was ready and willing to learn.
Similarly, slash and burn has been the most common practice in Africa among subsistence farmers. This practice was followed by a rotational shift from one free piece of land to another. The method has been proven to be sustainable and productive for the practitioners. The land left behind after the practice mimics closely the land that naturally occurs. The practice is also known to improve biodiversity of plants and vegetation through the process of crop rotation.
By opening up to local conservation and incorporating the knowledge with acquired skills; I believe extinction of species would be just a myth and many others will emerge once again. How many times do we analyse cultural practices that we “assume” is degrading the environment? Why are specific species hunted? Who’s at the tertiary level in a food chain?. Many more questions can arise not inhibiting any resolution, let’s support and embrace local conservation knowledge.
The views on this article are personally mine with a few quotations from other sites and references.