Landcare … means differently to different people. The evolution of Landcare began in Australia in 1986 when landholder groups initiated community-based activities to protect and regenerate the country’s land resources. Since then, various government programs have been developed and implemented to support local actions. This innovation is of interest to many other countries to address environmental challenges for sustainable land use. It has been long expanded from Australia to New Zealand and the Philippines, and continues to spread out in countries such as the United States, South Africa, Uganda and Tanzania among others. In changing landscapes and lifescapes, Landcare has become an important key driver in promoting sustainable management of environment and natural resources. Because it involves multi-sector stakeholders, Landcare has become different things to different people. The following are some of Landcare’s different meanings:
As a MOVEMENT ... Landcare is a movement of autonomous farmer-led organizations supported by local governments with backstopping from technical service providers that share knowledge about sustainable and profitable agriculture on sloping lands while conserving the environment and natural resources.
As an APPROACH ... Landcare is an extension approach/method that rapidly and inexpensively disseminates agroforestry practices among thousands of upland farmers based on the farmers’ innate interest in learning and sharing knowledge about new technologies that earn more money and conserve natural resources. This embodies three basic cornerstones: appropriate technologies, partnership building and institution building.
As a BODY OF KNOWLEDGE ... Landcare is a set of appropriate land management practices to care for the land in an economic and productive way.
As an ETHIC, a PHILOSOPHY ... Landcare is an ethic, a philosophy that enables individuals and communities to approach agriculture in a mature and nurturing way.