Cultural encounters: learning from cross-disciplinary science and development practice concerning ecosystem health

Overcoming challenges to ecosystem health calls for breaking down disciplinary and professional barriers. Through reflection on a research and development project to address pesticide-related concerns in northern Ecuador, this paper presents challenges encountered and accommodations made, ranging from staff recruitment, through baseline assessments, community education activities, to mobilising for policy change. In so doing, it exposes underlying problems of paradigm and process inherent in bringing researchers and development practitioners together as well as the problematic role of advocacy that is associated with joint agriculture and health, research and development initiatives.