Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 15, Issue 2–3, pp 139–165 | Cite as

Understanding an indigenous knowledge system for tree fodder via a multi-method on-farm research approach

  • Eric P. Rusten
  • Michael A. Gold


Understanding the dynamics of indigenous resource management systems can benefit natural resource development efforts and contribute to effective on-farm agroforestry research initiatives. This paper reports on the authors' investigation of an indigenous knowledge systems for the management, cultivation, and use of private tree fodder resources in a community in the middle hills of Central Nepal. It focuses on the methods used to develop an understanding of the cognitive systems used by farmers in this community to classify and evaluate tree fodder. A participatory multi-method research approach was employed to overcome many of the limitations of traditional survey research. The approach centered on the use of the repertory grid method within the framework of personal construct theory. Repertory grid results were analyzed in conjunction with data collected from participant observation, a formal household survey, an inventory of privately grown trees, and ethnographic interviews. This integrated analysis resulted in an understanding of the indigenous knowledge system for the management of tree fodder resources.

Key words

agroforestry research on-farm research indigenous knowledge tree fodder Nepal personal construct theory 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric P. Rusten
    • 1
  • Michael A. Gold
    • 2
  1. 1.Rural Poverty and Resources ProgramNairobi office of the Ford FoundationMichiganUSA
  2. 2.International Forestry Program, Forestry DepartmentMichigan State UniversityMichiganUSA

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