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Traditional ecological knowledge on characteristics, conservation and management of soil in tribal communities of Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve, India

Author(s): C. P Kala

Journal: Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition
ISSN 0718-9508

Issue: ahead;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Traditional knowledge | soil classification | soil conservation | tribal communities | Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve

The problem of soil degradation has made the farmers to devise some indigenous practices and systems of land use since antiquity in order to maintain and restore the quality of land, which remains operational even today to maintain sustainable crop production. The present study, therefore, deals with the traditional ecological knowledge on soil characteristics and fertility along with the conservation and management of soil by the tribal communities in the Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve (PBR) of India. Traditionally, the farmers in the study villages of PBR have classified the soil types mainly on the basis of soil texture, soil colour and its water retaining capacity. The study documented a total of 16 soil types, as classified by the villagers such as Bhurbhuria, Chikti, Kadialtori, Kamkaltori, Potini, Chikni, Kasai, Dadra and Barrimitti. Besides crop production, the soil was used for construction of house and pots, whitewashing and painting purposes. For conservation and management of soil, the farmers have adopted various traditional practices, which include crop rotation, burning of residues, planting forestry species, applying farmyard manure, and making land boundary. The study reflects that the traditional soil conservation and management practices in PBR are well knitted and interwoven with the cultures, belief systems and available resources.
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