Psychologists target root cause of soil erosion

phys.org | 2/7/2019 | Staff
ditranian (Posted by) Level 3
Psychologists might hold the key to reducing soil erosion that wrecks pasture land belonging to the Maasai tribe in Tanzania.

Land degradation is a major environmental challenge that costs 17 percent of global GDP and undermines economic development in many regions of the world.

Cause - Problem - Cattle - Grass - Cover

One probable cause of the problem is overgrazing by cattle that depletes grass cover, leaving soil to be washed away by rain and creating gullies that can be several metres deep.

Now an interdisciplinary project led by the University of Exeter is addressing this problem. Researchers are investigating obstacles and opportunities for the adoption of sustainable land management approaches by Maasai pastoralists (livestock farmers).

Workshops - Pastoralists - Co-developing - Knowledge - Erosion

They are holding workshops with pastoralists, co-developing and sharing knowledge about how erosion happens and how it can be stopped.

"Soil erosion is a significant problem in northern Tanzania," said Dr. Anna Rabinovich.

Gullies - Land - Grazing - Crops - Pastoralists

"Gullies make the land unsuitable for cattle grazing or growing crops, depriving pastoralists of essential sources of livelihood. This creates a serious threat of poverty and starvation.

"The gullies are also a direct safety threat—there have been cases of people and cattle being washed away after falling into them during the rainy season.

Work - Processes - Soil - Erosion - Side

"While previous work explored physical processes behind soil erosion, most of it has not engaged with the social and psychological side of the issue.

"At the same time, offering solutions without understanding social dynamics within pastoralist communities can be...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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