Calls for the effective integration of indigenous knowledge and perspective into agroforestry are increasingly familiar in agroforestry programmes. This is the result of a need to better target research, ethical concerns about participation and power and the recognition that indigenous knowledge is a potentially powerful source of understanding that may often be complementary to scientific knowledge.
Incorporating indigenous knowledge into development may be achieved through farmer participation in research planning and implementation, external survey of local needs as a basis for planning research or the active synthesis of indigenous and scientific knowledge (in addition to collaboration between the scientist and the farmer) in order to capitalise on their potential complementarity.
It is argued that active synthesis has received inadequate attention. In part this is because it demands rigorous analysis of indigenous and scientific knowledge. This is an exacting process and requires effective means of explicitly representing the knowledge concerned. An approach to this task is briefly introduced. A case study description and evaluation can be found in an accompanying paper
Walker, D.H.; Sinclair, F.L.; Thapa, B. Incorporation of indigenous knowledge and perspectives in agroforestry development. Part 1: review of methods and their applications. Agroforestry Systems (1995) 30 (1-2) 235-248. [DOI: 10.1007/BF00708923]