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This collection of papers 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, this volume describes clearly how to implement such an approach. Moreover, the editors make an eloquent case for the relevance of risk prone areas as a subject of study and the special role that indigenous knowledge plays in such poorly endowed regions. The volume is balanced - it does not advocate one approach over another, and it is multidisciplinary, including work by anthropologists, sociologists, geographers and natural scientists. Through carefully considered opinions by experts who have been intimately involved over the long term in theoretical and practical work related to systems of natural resource management in Latin America, this book addresses a topic that has gained worldwide interest, especially in relation to indigenous knowledge systems.