In the present scenario, ecoregional planning will have to aim at enhancing agricultural productivity and production on a sustainable basis to meet the ever growing needs of the farm family and livestock for food, feed, fodder, fuel, fiber etc. This would imply an upscaling of research activities within the eco-regions and dovetailing research and development priorities between and within the eco-regions. This would call for an effective collaborative mechanism, i.e., responsibility for a higher level of integration in research and development efforts. Thus, a lucid distinction of collaborative mechanisms and a clear distinction between priority setting at the eco-regional level and its effective execution at the local levels would be essential.
In the ecoregional approach to research and management of natural resources, a balance in development and utilization of biodiversity would be important. The research should aim at improving the productivity of scarce resources while protecting the quality of soil and water, and at the same time safeguarding biodiversity for posterity. Concerning the management issue, the following points would need attention:
1. Research on conservation and management of ecosystems that include multicrop and multi-economic farming systems in a program mode;
2. Accelerated research on the management of production systems;
3. Socioeconomic and public policy research to understand farmer and community decision making processes regarding the utilization of resources and factors affecting farmers' incentives and their adoption of improved technologies;
4. Development of capacity of NARS for far more effective understanding of the intricacies of natural resource management. This would require fresh defining of NARS as everyone who can contribute to the cause of Agricultural Research and Development as a part and partner in the national agricultural endeavor.
The most important end product of an ecoregional approach may be to provide a framework for sustainability. Incorporation of social and economic components would ensure success of the ecoregional approach. It is also recognized that training in various facets of a multidisciplinary approach in program mode would be extremely important for the success of the contemplated efforts. Compiling the existing information to identify the driving forces of land use changes and resource base degradation would be important in the first instance. This could address the issues of natural resources, innovations and technological options, present use of resources, potentials for agricultural production, policy objectives and short to long term goals, research capacity building, population dynamics, farmers' decision making processes and capabilities, and market evaluation and intervention processes.
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