Improving watershed management in developing countries: A framework for prioritising sites and practices

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London, England: Overseas Development Institute. Agricultural Research and Extension Network


This paper summarises observations based on previous assessments of watershed management projects in developing countries. These observations are based on a review of the activities of seven private and governmental organizations in Guatemala which were promoting watershed management before and after Hurricane Mitch struck Central America in 1998. Also included are short-term reviews of watershed management projects in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Niger, Peru, Thailand and Uganda. In all of these cases, the authors visited field sites, interviewed project personnel and participant farmers and reviewed project documents and other technical literature. To complement and contrast with their first-hand experience, the authors perused the international literature on watershed management. The paper proposes a framework to prioritise among the long list of possible watershed management activities, and sharpen the intervention focus on those few critical activities and locations capable of yielding a good, long-term payoff for resource users, their communities and the environment.



Participatory processes, Stakeholders, Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Income generation, Ecological restoration, Sustainable development, Land use planning, Program planning, Conservation strategy, Poverty, Watershed management, Accountability, Watershed


AgREN Network Paper no. 129