Local knowledge of soils: The case of contrast in Côte d'Ivoire

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Elsevier Geoderma


This study examines local knowledge of soil quality and characteristics in different areas of Western Africa. Two groups participated in this research, one from the forest zone and one from the savanna zone. The forest community described 11 different soil types that occurred in their area while the savanna community only had two to three soil types, which were named based on physical characteristics such as texture, color, gravel content, and the observed characteristic of floodability. Soil samples were analyzed and Western soil classification results were similar to the results recorded by the forest community. This study shows that it is important to consider local knowledge in research studies because knowledge can differ greatly, such as with age, ability to articulate, and with personal or contextual interest and investment into land and agriculture.


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Local knowledge, Indigenous community, Indigenous knowledge, Ethnopedology, Senufo, Ivory coast, Watershed


Geoderma 111(3-4): 481-502