Local knowledge and conventional soil science approaches to erosional processes in the Shivalik Himalaya

C. A. Scott, M. F. Walter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Local ("indigenous') knowledge and conventional ("modern') science are both limited in their abilities to mitigate soil erosion hazard in the Himalaya. Local knowledge primarily responds over the long term and over areas beyond the actual site of soil loss. Conventional science emphasizes erosion control in the short term and on-site. A case study from the Shivalik Hills in India is used to demonstrate these complementarities. The local dialect contains a detailed lexicon for landforms, soils, hydrology, and erosion, suggesting that environmental processes are understood. In the local approach to erosion, land use is altered to maintain biomass productivity. Conventional science seeks to reduce downstream sedimentation by controlling erosion through structural and vegetative techniques. In the Shivaliks, local approaches are complemented by conventional techniques (sediment traps, earthen dams and planting trees and grasses). In the process, productivity has increased and sedimentation has been reduced. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
JournalMountain Research & Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Development
  • Environmental Science(all)

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