John Frechione is associate director of the Center for Latin American Studies and adjunct associate professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, where he received his Ph.D. in anthropology in 1981. He has carried out research over the last twenty years on ecological adaptations and economic self-development among indigenous populations in southern Venezuela and he is co-author of Indigenous People and Development in Latin America: A Literature Survey and Recommendations.
This book identifies a major problem facing developing nations and the countries and sources that fund them: the lack of attention and/or effective strategies available to prevent farmers in underdeveloped and poorly endowed regions from sinking still deeper into poverty while avoiding further degradation of marginal environments. The contributors propose an alliance of scientific knowledge with native skill as the best way to proceed, arguing that folk systems can often provide effective management solutions that are not only locally effective, but which may have the potential for spatial diffusion. While this has been said before, the volume makes one of the best articulated statements of how to implement such an approach.