Research to address hillside environmental issues in Central America, undertaken by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), is carried out at different scales and in collaboration with multi-institutional consortia. These represent the national and local watershed, or municipal, scales of decision making that the research is designed to support. The research framework is presented. It links development of decision-support systems for participatory planning of land care and technology development for resource-poor farmers in the tropical American hillsides, with research on organizing stakeholders to help them make collective resource management and technology choices. The approach is illustrated by results from current research in the Central American hillsides and the Andean region where land degradation, genetic erosion, and poverty are very serious. GIS methods have been developed to improve the extrapolation of results from these and other sites, and to assist policy makers to target participation, decision support, and new technologies for specific stakeholder groups, in particular the very poor, using a poverty mapping approach. Provision of training and the development of training kits, together with institutions involved in collective resource management decisions at local or national scales, is an integral part of the approach. This has involved participants from over 100 organizations in Central America in 1998.
Ashby, J.A.; Sanz, J.I.; Knapp, E.B.; Imbach, A. CIAT’s research on hillside environments in Central America. Mountain Research and Development (1999) 19 (3) 241-250. [Conference on poverty, rural livelihoods and land husbandry in hillside environments, Silsoe, Bedfordshire, UK, 6 &#8211; 8 January 1999]