Keywords: Amazon, Peru, swidden agriculture, land management, resilience, action research, farmer learning, adaptive capacity, local institutions, land degradation, swidden farming, field experimentation
Farmers facing rapid agricultural land condition changes in two villages in the Upper Amazon, Peru: can action learning contribute to resilience?
The article presents findings of local experimentation for managing land degradation problems in swidden farming, and the institutional setting for such experimental activities within a resilience theory framework. By using action research (AR) methodology, which included in-depth interviews and joint field experiments, the research process facilitated collective learning related to land degradation management. Framed by a local institution (choba choba), learning situations of field experimentation were created in order to speed up the joint learning process between farmers, a local NGO and researchers. The authors argue that AR, as methodology, not only enhances contextual learning processes by working within farmers' existing institutional framework for learning, but also has the advantage of integrating local and scientific knowledge into a joint learning process. AR methodology can therefore be one answer to the question of 'how' to build up and maintain resilience of an agricultural system, particularly its adaptive capacity.