Pathways towards a sustainable mountain agriculture for the 21st Century: The Hindu Kush? Himalayan experience (2000)

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This is at once an exhilarating and a frustrating book. The author’s vision is wide, “to think innovatively about old problems, and to devise means of involving the very people who benefit or suffer most from development interventions: mountain farmers” (abstract). His canvas is also broad, arching across the eight countries that share the Hindu Kush–Himalaya. For this reviewer, his most illuminating proposals are that we should reconceptualise sustainability as a process of capacity building for problem solving, that an approach to decision-making is needed in which socioeconomic and biophysical dimensions are “scaled,” and that practical participatory approaches are needed that mobilise mountain communities for sustainability. Further, he rightly urges that asset based conceptualisations of poverty and longitudinal studies of how people have managed change should occupy a stronger role in our methodological armory. This reviewer also empathises strongly with his assertion that postmodernistic relativism and specificity are unlikely to generate new poliy insights for the region.  
Language: English
Imprint: Reviewed: By Robert E. Rhoades. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, 1997. In Mountain Research and Development 20(2):201-202. 2000
Series: Book review,