Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. David Lemberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

In rural Panama there is a need for vetiver grass erosion control plantings to reduce land degradation resulting from unsustainable land use practices. Farmers' perceptions of land use and land degradation can be useful in providing support for conservation planning of such plantings. This study measured farmers' perceptions on current conditions related to land use practices, perceptions of soil erosion, and their familiarity and use of vetiver grass C. zizanioides (L.) Roberty, among communities in the plains, low hills, and high hills terrain in the district of Ola, Code Province of Panama.

The main research questions were whether or not differences in responses across terrain groups would be observed, and, if differences were observed across terrain groups, would these differences suggest a best use area for vetiver grass conservation plantings based on farmers' input? Evaluation of survey results using various statistical tests suggests the high hills as the best use areas for vetiver grass conservation barriers. The author's recommendations are provided for potential consideration by district conservation planners and extensionists.

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