This paper focuses first on a few general issues: 1) how sketch mapping can be used in rural resource management projects; 2) the process of sketch mapping and; 3) the types of maps which may be useful. It is asserted that it is important to get away from the traditional view of accuracy as equivalent to locational correctness, accuracy needs to be defined in terms of purpose. "Hypothetical" maps might be employed to present a range of possible land uses which would form the basis for discussion. The second section presents two case studies where sketch mapping has been used as a diagnostic tool for studying indigenous forest management systems. 1) In Harayana, India, several types of participatory mapping were used; local geography, local land use patterns, resource distribution and resource condition. 2) A different mapping technique was used in the mountainous Mardi Khola area of Nepal; a sample of transects indicating types of land use were the main basis for discussion. The transect maps provided a generalised picture from which to derive hypotheses for further research.
The first section of this paper provides forest researchers and managers with a good introduction to participatory mapping for use with forest communities. The Nepalese case study will be of special interest to governments and NGOs working with communities in particularly rugged topography where transects may prove valuable.