This report discusses the adoption and institutionalisation of RRA at Khon Kaen University, Thailand. It begins with reflections on the development of RRA methodology and critical problems and challenges faced. These include social scientists' dilemmas in co-operating in multidisciplinary teams, the lack of identity of RRA, and the lack of models and experiences to guide interactions and research in the development of RRA. The report ends with a caution that these apparent successes were due to chance factors (such as the presence of a number of village-oriented staff at one time), that RRA is a set of methods which require continuous practice, and that shared thinking has been a key contributor. Specific RRA activities, undertaken between 1983 and 1985, are reported in the appendices, including training, development of RRA materials, topical RRAs and the adoption of RRA within the university.
This paper presents agroecosystem analysis as a methodology for dealing with the complex interactions of agriculture and environment, and suggests that they should be understood as holistic systems. In contrast to farming systems research and integrated rural development approaches, the agroecosystem analysis approach developed here can deal with all levels in the hierarchy of agroecosystems, and focuses on trade-offs between different measures of performance. The linkages between agriculture and ecology, and key properties of agroecosystems are discussed. The key concepts and assumptions of agroecosystem analysis are introduced. This method of analysis is best conducted in multidisciplinary workshops. Pattern analysis (across space and time, of flows and decisions) is explained. Further sections deal with agroecosystem design, and technology assessment and development for a variety of situations, including pest management, multiple cropping, agroforestry, crop-livestock polyculture, soil ecology, social forestry, and non-agricultural production. The final section deals with implementation.
This brief article on RRA by Gordon Conway was submitted to the magazine 'nature' but rejected as "not of scientific interest". It discusses the origins of RRA in disillusionment with conventional approaches to development, and reporting papers presented at a conference in Khon Kaen, Thailand, it introduces the RRA methodology, tools, applications and future potential. Regarding the latter, Conway notes that it remains to be seen whether conventional journals will accept papers based on RRA.
The chapter describes the procedure known as Agroecosystem Analysis. This rests on the assumption that analysis, understanding and approaches to improvement of an agroecosystem are best gained from strategic knowledge of that system, as opposed to an attempt to create a complete model. The analysis is based on a week-long workshop aimed at sythesising the approaches of people from different disciplines and attaining useful data from case-study sites. The object of such a workshop is to create key questions concerning an agroecosystem and to stimulate research into answers to those questions.