Sustaining Natural Resources—Light on Some Indigenous Soil Management Concepts

P. K. Pal and G. C. Banik


Sustainability is the attempt to provide the best outcomes for the human and natural environments both for the present and the future. The Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as a development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs”. The technologies that are generated out of farmers own knowledge and experience in dealing with day-to-day problems are called Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK). Different authors have the opinion that these technologies are low cost, locally applicable and most importantly, sustainable in nature; and at present it is well recognized that these technologies are also in vogue at field level. The present study was undertaken in a lateritic area in the district of Birbhum of West Bengal, India. The paper documented different indigenous criteria/ indicators for assessing the physical quality of soil and thereby assessing the change of soil quality over time. The paper also documented different indigenous practices to maintain the physical and chemical characters of soil and compared these techniques with respect to sustainability on an emic perspective. Finally, the authors strongly recommend incorporating these practices into the modern evaluation study solely or in combination to generate a pool of sustainable technology for maintaining natural resources.

Keyword: Sustainable development; Indigenous knowledge; Soil management; Indigenous sustainability;

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