Living in a fragile ecosystem: Indigenous soil management in the hills of Nepal
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Several individuals and organisations have expressed concern about soil fertility problems in Nepal. A majority of those consulted while conducting the present study indicated that natural factors such as heavy seasonal precipitation, the erosion-prone nature of the soil, its steep topography and the removal of ground cover, make the country's hill soils particularly vulnerable to leaching of organic matter and micronutrients. Conventional wisdom separates and analyses in detail components that contribute to the problems of declining soil fertility - soil characteristics, compost, chemical fertiliser, soil erosion, landslides, irrigation, etc. But farmers view soil fertility as one of the major components in the regime of soil management. From their perspective, water, fertility, and labour management are interdependent, interactive and inseparable components of soil management.