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Band 081: Kaufmann, A. Brigitte: Cybernetic Analysis of Socio-biological Systems

The Case of Livestock Management in Resource-Poor Environments

This book centres on livestock keepers and the importance of their knowledge and management practices for the system functioning. It starts with a broad literature review on methods that are so far applied to study knowledge, decisions and actions of farmers. It then explores principles of system theory with a focus on information theory and cybernetics that are suitable for an actor oriented approach to agricultural systems.

An analysis approach to agricultural systems, based on 2nd order cybernetics, is developed for the assessment of the information processing in livestock production systems. It contains a control loop model that allows to systematically identify farmers’ observations and the rules behind their management practices. 

Using the example of the knowledge of pastoral camel keepers in northern Kenya it is shown that livestock keepers have rules for routine control, problem solving control and rules for selection where they cannot control input factors. It is also shown where livestock keepers are able to create order in their production system and where and why their possibilities to create order under the condition of uncertainty are limited. Finally, improvements through collaborative learning, monitoring and evaluation are proposed.

Analysing the information processing that underlies the management of the livestock keepers offered insight into their view and their inherent understanding of the production system. The rules the livestock keeper base their actions upon are constitutive for the husbandry system. If livestock keepers change these rules the production system will change. Therefore, this work advocates for collaborative learning approaches to develop resource-poor agricultural systems. 

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Kommunikation und Beratung, Band 81
ISSN 0947-0352
2008; xiv + 216pp.; 21 x 14,8 cm; paper

25.60 EUR
Artikelnr.: 978-3-8236-1515-6
  • (Preis ohne MwSt: 23.93 EUR)
  • (enthaltene MwSt: 1.67 EUR)