An explicit representation of farmers' knowledge about on-farm tree fodder resources was developed using knowledge-based systems software and methodology at a front-line agricultural research centre in the eastern mid-hills of Nepal. Sophisticated knowledge of tree-crop interactions and the feeding value of various tree fodders was revealed. Farmers' ecological knowledge was more developed in some areas than others and was largely complementary to that of agricultural researchers in Nepal and the scientific literature more generally. Evaluation of the combined knowledge of farmers and researchers related to interdisciplinary land use problems by the creation of explicit, encyclopaedic knowledge bases, offers the possibility of targeting research more precisely to gaps in knowledge constraining the productivity and sustainability of the farming system. While similar insight into the depth of farmers knowledge may have been gained by researchers adopting a less formal approach to knowledge acquisition, without an explicit, durable and manipulable record, subsequent analyses and continued use of the knowledge in the research and development process might not be achieved.
Thapa, B.; Sinclair, F.L.; Walker, D.H. Incorporation of indigenous knowledge and perspectives in agroforestry development. Part 2: case-study on the impact of explicit representation of farmers’ knowledge. Agroforestry Systems (1995) 30 (1-2) 249-261. [DOI: 10.1007/BF00708924]