Soils knowledge and gendered landscapes in Bolivia and the Philippines: Can GIS tell their story?

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This poster explores the challenges of mixing GIS and qualitative methods in a research-for-development context with a collaborative research program financed by USAID. It is a part of a pilot project to identify gender-based constraints and opportunities for conservation agriculture production systems in smallholder farming communities. Our goal is to map gendered landscapes and local soils knowledge linking participatory mapping with GPS mapping. Data gathering has been completed in Bolivia and initiated in the Philippines. The overall purpose of the project is to understand how changes in farming practices that form part of conservation agriculture production systems—such as leaving crop cover on the field—will affect men and women’s use and knowledge of the land. It will present qualitative GIS methods used in sample households in the Bolivian Andes to discuss its cross-cultural applicability for future fieldwork in the Philippines. This research represents a novel approach to using GIS to organize, analyze, and present data drawn from multiple methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative. We present a narrow but multi-layered “slice” of data drawn from multiple methods, juxtaposing scientific knowledge with local, traditional knowledge about soils. Other methods included field and household visits, soil sampling, and GIS analysis. Preliminary findings show that men and women’s local soil knowledge is related to gendered access and use of space.

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Conservation agriculture, Gender, Community participation, Participatory mapping, Qualitative gis, Gendered landscapes, Gendered knowledge, Soils
Abstract submitted to the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, New York, New York, 2012