The Participatory Watershed Management Training in Asia (PWMTA) program GCP/RAS/161/NET recognizes the importance of indigenous technology knowledge (ITK) and practices for watershed management (WM) in the Tropics and Himalayan region of Asia as paramount to their sustainable development process. New technologies and practices can be successful if they are well ingrained into the indigenous systems.
With this the PWMTA commissioned ITK for WM studies in its member countries, some of which have been published as PWMTA Field Docs. 11 and 12 and the rest are still under preparation. In the regional workshop on the subject in Nov. 1998 in Beijing, many of the focal points of the PWMTA decided to further document the ITK for WM practices in their countries. The present document is an output of further studies carried out by the Indian WATMANET center for Upper Himalayas. Most of the populations of the Upper Himalayas in Asia being isolated, still live in an indigenous way hence the importance of integrating their indigenous knowledge in to the present day development programs. I hope this document helps bring an appreciation of the ITK among the professionals so that they can facilitate the development and conservation of the Upper Himalayas in a sustainable manner.
I wish to express my sincere thanks to Dr. L. R. Verma and other faculty members of the YSP University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, India, for their efforts at institutionalizing the ITK concepts in the university work through this study. It is a path breaking work as it brings to the fore-front a glimpse of the rich knowledge base of the Upper Himalayan people. The artist have also captured the ideas very well and given an excellent depiction of their indigenous knowledge base.
I hope all concerned with the development of the Upper Himalayas as well as those related to training, education and research in natural resources management in upper mountain watersheds will take note of this work and carry it forward by making use of it in the development process. The document is also being made available to the Asian region as many of the ideas are also applicable to other countries in similar situations.
Prem N. Sharma
Participatory Watershed Management
Training in Asia (PWMTA) Program,
PWMTA-FARM, FAO (UN),