SBR-9508061 This dissertation-improvement award supports travel, field assistants, and laboratory analyses for a study of relationships between cultural traditions and land-use practices in highland Guatemala. The purpose of the study is to understand how traditional farming practices reflect the local cultural and environmental contexts, and how these practices in turn affect the physical environment. The overall theoretical approach is that of cultural ecology. The empirical research involves both ethnographic and physical-process methodologies: participant observation of farmers' perceptions of erosion and their actual erosion-control practices; formal interviews with selected farmers; field measurements of erosion over the year-long field study; and analysis of collected soil samples using measurements of radiation emitted by atmospheric-fallout Cesium-137, in an attempt to determine eroded versus non-eroded and depositional horizons within the soil samples. The results of the research should increase our understanding of traditional and changing farming systems in a highland setting, and contribute to a greater awareness, among development specialists and international aid institutions, of the need to examine local needs and priorities before initiating particular conservation programs.