Indigenous knowledge: role and status with reference to woodland management in Maasai steppe

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University of Dar es Salaam
Our land and its variety of natural resources which are so crucial to the future well-being of this country are under threat of desertification, destruction and even extinction. In the past, our environment has provided the people with fuel, food, building materials and medicine. It is still vital to us today and it will remain so in future. We have to take action now as there is still time, to halt the destruction of plant species, to conserve areas of vegetation, and to enforce proper balance in the utilization of these natural resources. The adopted modern development approaches, i.e. mechanised farming, expansion of National Parks, charcoal production and mining, together with their poor management mechanisms, have turned out to be means for deterioration of the quality of woodland resource and environmental destruction in the Maasai steppe. It is also going to contribute to the systematic collapse of Maasai culture and neglect of their traditional knowledge and techniques on ecological control. This work is an attempt to explore the Maasai traditional knowledge systems in ecological management, in the hope of widening understanding of the functional rationality and internal logic of the value and potentialities of the role and status of indigenous knowledge. It is useful to comprehend and appreciate the attributes specific to the Maasai traditional knowledge as this is vital in the current world wide struggle to conserve nature and the environment. The research was conducted between July and December, 1996. For six months the researcher spent time to learn from, and think with local people on woodland resources and local historical knowledge of the causes of environmental changes and trends with relative magnitude. As a counter argument, this traditional knowledge, need to be fused and integrated gradually with modern technologies to consolidate the broad intention of common resources conservation and enforce a proper balance in the utilization of our ephemeral nature.
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Tanzania, Maasai steppe, Forests and forestry
Toima, K. P. (1997) Indigenous knowledge: role and status with reference to woodland management in Maasai steppe,Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (