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New Horizons: The economic, social and environmental impacts of participatory watershed development

For close to a century rural development policies and practice have taken the view that farmers mismanage soil and water. Farmers have been advised, lectured at, paid and forced to adopt new soil and water conservation measures and practices. Many have done so, and some environments and economies seem to have benefited for a time. But critical internal contradictions have often undermined these efforts. Financial and legal incentives bring only short-lived conservation, and farmers soon revert to their own practices. Many efforts have thus been remarkably unsuccessful, frequently resulting in more erosion (Pretty and Shah, 1994).

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