The rural areas of Iran have faced many challenges during 1990s and 2000s due to the failure of development programs, persistent draughts, vulnerability of rural economics and their consequences, including lack of employment opportunities and increasing migrations to urban districts. Therefore it is necessary to identify the potentials of indigenous knowledge, its prospects and challenges for rural areas. Since an indigenous knowledge is constructed on the basis of the realities of its environment, it provides us with appropriate methods to manage the environment. The integration of this indigenous knowledge with modern forms of knowledge can provide us with initiatives to achieve sustainable development. This study aims to introduce such an initiative in rural development, based on indigenous knowledge.
This is an applied study which follows an analytic-descriptive methodology. The data were collected through archival and field studies. The sample includes 381 households, selected from 33 villages around Birjand (each containing more than 20 households) by the help of Cochran method. To confirm or reject the hypothesis, analytical methods including Fisher and Kruskal-Wallis variance analysis were conducted by use of SPSS software.
Regarding the effectiveness of integration of two above-mentioned knowledge systems, the findings of Fisher and Kruskal-Wallis analysis show that this integration will result in an increase in productivity, income, and willingness to stay in village and will result in decrease in migration to urban areas. Therefore, the integration of indigenous and modern knowledge systems can facilitate achieving sustainable development. Limitations: The main obstacles were the difficulties in collecting data on indigenous knowledge and villagers’ lack of self-confidence. Practical Implications: We suggest that establishing a data bank on indigenous knowledge, applying appropriate technologies and using participative approaches will facilitate the revival and development of rural areas. Originality and Value: Recognizing and examining the potentials of integrated knowledge systems and the compatible technologies in accordance with them will increase sustainability in rural development.