Reconciling the mismatch? Evaluating competing knowledge claims over soil fertility in Kano, Nigeria

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Abstract

This article critically explores competing knowledge claims over soil fertility in and around Kano, northern Nigeria's largest city. Drawing on methods from both the natural and social sciences, the analysis explores an apparent mismatch between local and scientific knowledge claims, and the methodological complexities of assessing soil fertility are revealed. In doing so, the paper contributes to an emerging literature which suggests that the integration of different knowledge bases is critical for understanding the complex problems of environmental sustainability. More specifically, assessments of soil fertility must not be viewed in isolation of local knowledge of environment, or livelihood diversity and change. In the case of Kano, both the environmental perceptions and soil management regimes of those living in the peri-urban interface are increasingly shaped by pressures associated with urban expansion. The article concludes that understanding soil fertility change is a complex process that must be allied to broader livelihood concerns, if sustainable environmental policies are to be initiated in the years to come.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-72
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume31
Early online date14 Mar 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

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soil fertility
Soils
traditional knowledge
soil management
Natural sciences
Social sciences
environmental policy
sustainability
Sustainable development
Nigeria
Soil fertility
Mismatch
livelihood
Livelihoods
Local knowledge

Cite this

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abstract = "This article critically explores competing knowledge claims over soil fertility in and around Kano, northern Nigeria's largest city. Drawing on methods from both the natural and social sciences, the analysis explores an apparent mismatch between local and scientific knowledge claims, and the methodological complexities of assessing soil fertility are revealed. In doing so, the paper contributes to an emerging literature which suggests that the integration of different knowledge bases is critical for understanding the complex problems of environmental sustainability. More specifically, assessments of soil fertility must not be viewed in isolation of local knowledge of environment, or livelihood diversity and change. In the case of Kano, both the environmental perceptions and soil management regimes of those living in the peri-urban interface are increasingly shaped by pressures associated with urban expansion. The article concludes that understanding soil fertility change is a complex process that must be allied to broader livelihood concerns, if sustainable environmental policies are to be initiated in the years to come.",
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