M.M. Escalada and Ho Van Chien
Department of Development Communication
Visayas State University
Baybay, Leyte, Philippines and
Southern Regional Plant Protection Center
Long Dinh, Tien Giang, Vietnam
For developing natural resource management (NRM) strategies and practices, increasing biodiversity is an important objective. Biodiversity is fundamental to some ecosystem services, especially the regulatory services. The diversity and abundance of species performing a particular regulatory service can ensure that the service is adequate and well performed. For example, the diversity and abundance of pollinators will enrich pollination services. Similarly in pest management, species diversity and abundance of predators and parasitoids will ensure adequate pest control functions. Ecological engineering principles mean modifying the environment, both in space and time, to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services. But how can we communicate these concepts to farmers?
We need to start by understanding farmers’ decisions and employ sociological and anthropological tools that include focus group discussions, ethnoscience techniques, and farmer survey. From these social science techniques, we can discover the easiest way for farmers to understand these concepts.
In a community pilot project, rice farmers in Cai Be, Tien Giang province were trained to do two ecological engineering practices, synchronize planting using light trap catches and populating the bunds with nectar producing flowers to attract parasitoids in addition to avoiding early season insecticide use. About 5 km of bunds have been populated with a variety of nectar-producing flower plants. In another district, Cai Lay, as many as 27 km of bunds have been densely populated with such flowers. The main purpose of the participatory pilot project is to encourage farmers to evaluate the values of such practices and see for themselves. Such farmer evaluations can be powerful communication tools as shown by Huan et al (2005).
Read more in Devcompage…
Huan, N.H Thiet, L.V, H.V. Chien and K.L. Heong . 2005. Farmers’ evaluation of reducing pesticides, fertilizers and seed rates in rice farming through participatory research in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Crop Protection, 24, 457-464.