Perspectives on utilitarian ethnopedology

Pavel V. Krasilnikov, Joseph A Tabor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Folk taxonomies can provide a common language, establish value, and assure quality of soil investigations for scientists, extension agents, and development workers. Vernacular soil names have been used throughout history and helped provide the basis of scientific classification. The Chinese were classifying soils 4000 years ago for tax assessment. Dokuchaev and others used vernacular soils like chernozem, solonetz, and gley as central concepts for their scientific soil classification. Scientific systems and detailed soil mapping are replacing folk taxonomies, especially in the more developed countries, because folk systems, if they still exist, are only locally valid and have relatively limited uses compared to scientific systems. In spite of these limitations folk taxonomies can still provide information that is useful for understanding landscape structure, function, and change, especially in developing countries with limited resources for research. Opportunities for using folk taxonomies to improve scientific soil classification, mapping, and environmental impact monitoring are not being exploited. These systems are disappearing; the last two centuries have seen rapid loss of this potentially useful information. The disconnection between folk and scientific soil classification and the resulting land management decisions that occur have wasted resources and caused severe economic hardship on communities. Examples from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas are provided, especially the Senegal River Valley, United States, and Saudi Arabia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-215
Number of pages19
JournalGeoderma
Volume111
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2003

Fingerprint

soil classification
taxonomy
soil
extension agents
Solonetz
soil surveys
Senegal
Saudi Arabia
taxes
land management
Chernozem
developed countries
landscape structure
developing countries
soil quality
resource
environmental impact
valleys
economics
history

Keywords

  • Ethnoscience
  • Geospatial
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Landscape ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this

Perspectives on utilitarian ethnopedology. / Krasilnikov, Pavel V.; Tabor, Joseph A.

In: Geoderma, Vol. 111, No. 3-4, 02.2003, p. 197-215.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Krasilnikov, Pavel V. ; Tabor, Joseph A. / Perspectives on utilitarian ethnopedology. In: Geoderma. 2003 ; Vol. 111, No. 3-4. pp. 197-215.
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