Indigenous views of soil erosion at Fandou Beri, southwestern Niger
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The authors present an excellent discussion comparing the views of researchers and local farmers regarding soil erosion in southwestern Niger. Using the Cs-137 technique, the authors measured local erosion to be occurring at over 30 t/ha/year, a rate the scientific community considers to be alarming. While farmers acknowledge such negative effects as "sand-blasting" of young crops, overall, they do not see soil erosion as a major problem. Instead of only looking at erosion rates, they consider a more holistic picture in which erosion helps to create different types of soil. These differences are factored into their overall farming strategy. In addition, the soils tend to be deep and capable of withstanding erosion for many years; also, more people are deriving income from non-farm activities such that the economic benefits of conserving soil are more difficult to see. Low-input methods for controlling wind erosion (typically implemented for other purposes, such as improvement of soil quality) are also discussed in contrast with agency recommended methods that are often costly or labor-intensive.