three volumes review

Review from Tropical Agriculture Association Newsletter

Francis Shaxton

The Conservation and Improvement of Sloping Land: A Manual of soil and water conservation and soil improvement on sloping land
Vol I Practical Understanding
Vol II: Practical Application: Soil Improvement
Vol III: Practical Application: Soil and Water Conservation
Peter Storey. Enfield (USA) & Plymouth (UK): Science Publishers Inc. ISBN: (i) 1-57808-201-3; (II) 1-57808-250-1; (III) 1-57808-234-X

From his training and, in particular, from 30 years’ experience in the field – predominantly among small farmers in the steeplands of Taiwan and of Nepal – Peter Storey has learnt, and demonstrated to farmers’ satisfaction, how land degradation can be reversed and soil fertility improved and sustained, using methods which, in his words, are ‘3D’: Desirable, Do-able and Durable.

Volume 1 was reviewed earlier. Now that Vols II and III are available it is appropriate to consider the trilogy as a whole, because the columes are inter-dependent rther than sequential parts.

He achieves his goal of bridging the gap between theorists and field practitioners, because the contents are a valuable mix of observations, field experiences, concepts, principles, facts guidelines, detailed practical instructions, and a large eclectic collection of references.

Volume 1 is an overview. From which appropriate details are carried forward and expanded to cover both soil improvement as the core of Volume II, and terracing and non-terracing methods of conserving soil and water as the core of Volume III. In the relaity of the field, none of these specialisations are independent, so additionalo chapters on: livestock; forestry, agro-forestry and bamboo; field trials; weed control; research and development needs; and extension policy and methods, have been added in common to both volumes as features complementing and cross-linking their core subjects.

Among the 8 technical Appendices there is a useful Glossary/Dictionary to illuminate the meanings of some technical words and jargon. The designs and uses of the simple and effective Good News Level for surveying, and the Good News Bulldozer to fit two-wheeled tractors, are also included.

Peter says he would have paid a lot for what he has written here if he were starting afresh in third word hill agriculture. Now others, too, in similar situations can benefit greatly from studying these volumes.