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Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems$
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Mark Aldenderfer and Herbert D. G. Maschner

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195085754

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195085754.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 December 2021

Integrating Socioeconomic and Geographic Information Systems: A Methodology for Rural Development and Agricultural Policy Design

Integrating Socioeconomic and Geographic Information Systems: A Methodology for Rural Development and Agricultural Policy Design

(p.78) 5 Integrating Socioeconomic and Geographic Information Systems: A Methodology for Rural Development and Agricultural Policy Design
Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems

Stonich Susan

Oxford University Press

Understanding the factors related to destructive ecological processes in the tropics has expanded significantly in the last decade. Much has been learned about heterogeneity in geomorphology, soils, hydrology, and climate and about associated vulnerability to ecological damage. Research on cropping systems has divulged both the suitability and the liability in swidden agricultural practices and has led to recommendations involving alternative cropping and agroforestry complexes (Altieri 1987). At the same time, there has been a growing awareness that a more comprehensive knowledge of tropical ecology and enlarged technological and/or agricultural options will not necessarily affect a sustainable ecology (Altieri and Hecht 1990; Redclift 1984, 1987). Research on peasant economies in Latin America and elsewhere has demonstrated the existence of a highly differentiated peasantry, the vast majority of whom are landless or land-poor and who are more dependent on income earned from off-farm than from on-farm sources (Collins 1986; Deere and Wasserstrom 1981; Stonich 1991b). Such studies have demonstrated that systemic interconnections among family and corporate farmers with landholdings of all sizes promote environmental destruction (Stonich 1989); have established the existence of labor scarcity rather than labor surpluses in many peasant communities and the related environmental consequences (Brush 1977,1987; Collins 1987,1988; Posner and MacPherson 1982; Stonich 1993); and have called for rural and agricultural development policy that takes into account a socially differentiated peasantry and diversified rural poverty (de Janvry and Sadoulet 1989). It is increasingly evident that ecological destruction cannot be fathomed apart from the demographic, institutional, and social factors that influence the agricultural practices and other natural resource management decisions of agricultural producers. This paper describes a multidisciplinary methodology designed to examine the interactions among demographic trends, social processes, agricultural production decisions, and ecological decline in southern Honduras, a region characterized by widespread and worsening human impoverishment and environmental degradation. The methodology integrated the research efforts and databases compiled by anthropologists from the University of Kentucky using a farming systems approach, who were part of the socioeconomic component of the International Sorghum Millet Project (INTSORMIL) with potentially complementary research conducted by the natural and agricultural scientists working as part of the Comprehensive Resource Inventory and Evaluation System Project (CRIES) at Michigan State University.

Keywords:   Choluteca, ERDAS image processing, Ecological degradation, Pespire

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