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Home > Main Library > Agriculture and fisheries > Shifting ("swidden", "jhum", "taungya", "kaingin") cultivation - regional and global

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Shifting ("swidden", "jhum", "taungya", "kaingin") cultivation - regional and global
These studies which cover economic, political, scientific and historical dimensions of shifting cultivation in various countries may be helpful to people in Burma/Myanmar in drafting their land use policy

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: "Himalaya"
Description/subject: 1-3 issues a year from 1980...contains articles on shifting cultivation, Burma, Myanmar etc.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Himalaya" (Macalester University)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 10 March 2015


Title: Myanmar Land, Agribusiness, and Forestry Forum (MYLAFF)
Description/subject: "MYLAFF - a forum for sharing information about land, rural livelihoods, forests, fisheries, agribusiness investment and natural resource management in Myanmar... The main URL given here is the public entry to MYLAFF. For access to more documents, users have to sign up to MYLAFF... *Members of the forum include government officials, staff of donor agencies and NGOs, project experts, academics and business people... *We aim to support rural development in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar through providing stakeholders and decision-makers with a space for communication and better access to information and analysis... *Our online document repository is at www.mylaff.org, where you can find a wide variety of documents in both English and Myanmar language, alongside others...Under Farming Systems, MYLAFF has a section on shifting cultivation... *More information is available in the FAQ, which is available here: http://www.mylaff.org/static/MyLAFF_FAQ.pdf..."
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: MYLAFF
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.mylaff.org
http://www.mylaff.org/static/MyLAFF_FAQ_long.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 March 2015


Title: Results of a Bing search for "swidden agriculture"
Description/subject: 35,000 results (January 2015)
Language: English
Source/publisher: Bing.com
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: Results of a Google search for "shifting cultivation"
Description/subject: 767,000 results (January 2015)
Language: English
Source/publisher: Google
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: Results of a Google search for "swidden agriculture"
Description/subject: 124,000 results (January 2015)
Language: English
Source/publisher: Google
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: Results of a Google site-specific search for "shifting cultivation" on fao.org
Description/subject: 5700 results (January 2015)
Language: English
Source/publisher: FAO via Google
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: Results of a Google site-specific search for "shifting cultivation" on ifad.org
Description/subject: 1,680 results (January 2015)
Language: English
Source/publisher: IFAD via Google.com
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Individual Documents

Title: The impact of swidden decline on livelihoods and ecosystem services in Southeast Asia: A review of the evidence from 1990 to 2015
Date of publication: 01 October 2016
Description/subject: Abstract: "Global economic change and policy interventions are driving transitions from long-fallow swidden (LFS) systems to alternative land uses in Southeast Asia’s uplands. This study presents a systematic review of how these transitions impact upon livelihoods and ecosystem services in the region. Over 17 000 studies published between 1950 and 2015 were narrowed, based on relevance and quality, to 93 studies for further analysis. Our analysis of land-use transitions from swidden to intensified cropping systems showed several outcomes: more households had increased overall income, but these benefits came at significant cost such as reductions of customary practice, socio-economic wellbeing, livelihood options, and staple yields. Examining the effects of transitions on soil properties revealed negative impacts on soil organic carbon, cation-exchange capacity, and aboveground carbon. Taken together, the proximate and underlying drivers of the transitions from LFS to alternative land uses, especially intensified perennial and annual cash cropping, led to significant declines in pre-existing livelihood security and the ecosystem services supporting this security. Our results suggest that policies imposing landuse transitions on upland farmers so as to improve livelihoods and environments have been misguided; in the context of varied land uses, swidden agriculture can support livelihoods and ecosystem services that will help buffer the impacts of climate change in Southeast Asia." Keywords: *Alternative land uses *Ecosystem services * Livelihood security *Shifting cultivation *Southeast Asia
Author/creator: Wolfram H. Dressler, David Wilson, Jessica Clendenning, Rob Cramb, Rodney Keenan, Sango Mahanty, Thilde Bech Bruun, Ole Mertz
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Royal Swedish Acadamy of Sciences, Crossmark
Format/size: pdf (1.8MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs23/2016-Dressler_et_al-swidden_review.pdf
Date of entry/update: 20 November 2016


Title: Jhum in Nagaland
Date of publication: 20 June 2016
Description/subject: Practice of Jhum ...Jhum Governance...Jhum and Livelihood ...Jhum and Environment ...The presentation examines shifting cultivation and its importance to the livelihoods of the Naga in Sagaing Region.
Author/creator: Athong Makury
Language: English
Source/publisher: RRtIP
Format/size: pdf (891K)
Date of entry/update: 01 July 2016


Title: Putting shifting cultivation on the “Map”: Experiences from Laos
Date of publication: 17 June 2016
Description/subject: Key issues of shifting cultivation “marginalization” 1. Shifting cultivation “eradication” policies... 2. Land classification that ignores shifting cultivation... 3. Obscure macro level land zonation......
Author/creator: Andreas Heinimann
Language: English
Source/publisher: University of Bern, OneMap Myanmar Project, LCG meeting Yangon, 17th June 2016
Format/size: pdf (1.4MB)
Date of entry/update: 26 June 2016


Title: “Slash and burn” works, given time and space
Date of publication: 17 February 2016
Description/subject: "If managed well, swidden farming in Borneo can provide vital ecosystem services and protect biodiversity, study (see alternate URL) says....It’s long been stigmatized, blamed for destroying forests and releasing greenhouse gases. But, when done properly, shifting cultivation can create natural ecosystems with high biodiversity, rich carbon stocks and low soil erosion. The catch? It needs to be practiced over a large area to allow different plots of land to go through the cycle from crop to fallow, to young forest, to secondary forest. And it takes time. This is what researchers discovered in a recent study that compared the level of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the traditional forest–swidden agriculture system of Northern Borneo with other land uses, such as natural forest and monoculture plantations..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Format/size: html, pdf (414K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs22/Swidden-Borneo-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 May 2016


Title: Karen in Thailand Fight to Keep Farms in Parks
Date of publication: 20 January 2016
Description/subject: "It is a long walk on rugged terrain. The nearest traditional rice field of the indigenous Karen is five kilometres away from the village, tucked away in a dense forest. Yet Mueno, while carrying her three-old son, shows no sign of fatigue even as I am gasping for breath.“You have to see it with your own eyes,” says the widow of Karen land rights activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen. “If you don’t understand how rotational farming works without destroying the forests, land conflicts between state authorities and indigenous Karen forest dwellers can never be solved,” she speaks in her calm, stoic voice. It will be two years this April since her husband disappeared without a trace after being arrested by then Kaeng Krachan National Park chief Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn. Billy was on his way to collect information about violent forest evictions in 2011 which involved the torching of Karen peasants’ thatched-roof shacks and rice barns, to file a lawsuit against Mr Chaiwat..."
Author/creator: Sanitsuda Ekachai
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Bangkok Post" via "The Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.irrawaddy.com/asia/karen-in-thailand-fight-to-keep-farms-in-parks.html
Date of entry/update: 27 January 2016


Title: Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity in a Rapidly Transforming Landscape in Northern Borneo
Date of publication: 15 October 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "Because industrial agriculture keeps expanding in Southeast Asia at the expense of natural forests and traditional swidden systems, comparing biodiversity and ecosystem services in the traditional forest–swidden agriculture system vs. monocultures is needed to guide decision making on land-use planning. Focusing on tree diversity, soil erosion control, and climate change mitigation through carbon storage, we surveyed vegetation and monitored soil loss in various land-use areas in a northern Bornean agricultural landscape shaped by swidden agriculture, rubber tapping, and logging, where various levels and types of disturbance have created a fine mosaic of vegetation from food crop fields to natural forest. Tree species diversity and ecosystem service production were highest in natural forests. Logged-over forests produced services similar to those of natural forests. Land uses related to the swidden agriculture system largely outperformed oil palm or rubber monocultures in terms of tree species diversity and service production. Natural and logged-over forests should be maintained or managed as integral parts of the swidden system, and landscape multifunc- tionality should be sustained. Because natural forests host a unique diversity of trees and produce high levels of ecosystem services, targeting carbon stock protection, e.g. through financial mechanisms such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), will synergistically provide benefits for biodiversity and a wide range of other services. However, the way such mechanisms could benefit communities must be carefully evaluated to counter the high opportunity cost of conversion to monocultures that might generate greater income, but would be detrimental to the production of multiple eco-system services"
Author/creator: Nicolas Labrière, Yves Laumonier, Bruno Locatelli , Ghislain Vieilledent, Marion Comptour
Language: English
Source/publisher: PLOS ONE | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0140423 October 14, 2015
Format/size: pdf (414K-reduced version; 2.82MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.cifor.org/publications/pdf_files/articles/ALaumonier1502.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 May 2016


Title: FAO and partners’ joint studies call for indigenous people’s rights for shifting cultivation in harmony with environmental sustainability
Date of publication: 17 June 2015
Description/subject: “...Indigenous peoples with their different lifestyles and livelihoods related to their resource management systems are now gaining more attention in the face of climate change and food insecurity,” said Joan Carling Secretary-General of AIPP. “Evidence-based studies, including this report on shifting cultivation, clearly demonstrate that indigenous peoples’ sustainable livelihoods are actually not just conserving nature but are in fact enhancing biodiversity and providing food security for their communities. Their simple lifestyle has the least carbon footprint and their conservation measures even include carbon sequestration. It is thereby pertinent to review the negative regard and policies on indigenous peoples’ livelihoods such as shifting cultivation, and recognise the invaluable contributions of indigenous peoples to conservation of nature, food security and solutions to climate change...”
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Indigenous People's Pact (AIPP)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 19 June 2015


Title: Shifting Cultivation, Livelihood and Food Security - New and Old Challenges for Indigenous Peoples in Asia
Date of publication: 17 June 2015
Description/subject: "...FAO, AIPP and IWGIA jointly carried out case studies. A researcher, or a group of researchers, who is familiar with the selected indigenous community and its most important livelihood — shifting cultivation — prepared each country case study. Based on field studies, which included surveys, focal group discussions and individual interviews in indigenous communities and careful analysis of the collected information, the case studies provide in-depth insights into this important topic of livelihood and food security among selected shifting cultivator communities in Asia. The case studies, although set in different social, economic, political and environmental contexts of the seven countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal and Thailand), highlight that shifting cultivation continues to be an important livelihood system for the indigenous communities studied (except for the Tharu in Nepal who were forced to discontinue the practice after being resettled outside their ancestral land in a national park). The studies illustrate how shifting cultivation was and still remains a suitable and for some communities indispensible form of land use in upland areas in Asia, and that it can continue to be managed sustainably from the viewpoints of both natural resource management and household food security under conditions of sufficient and legally recognized access to land..... The summary recommendations of the Regional Multi-Stakeholder Consultation Workshop were as follows; (i) Strengthening policy advocacy at national, regional and global levels on land tenure, food security and livelihood based upon the principle of equal partnership between states and indigenous peoples and adherence to the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples in relation to protection of shifting cultivation, sustainable resource management and cultural integrity; (ii) Awareness raising on indigenous peoples’ rights addressing consequences of industrial mono-cropping, large-scale land investments and plantations; capacity building on innovations especially for women and youth; and skills development for agroforestry. (iii) Biodiversity conservation and enhancement against bio-piracy, unfair and illegal patenting; (iv) Research and documentation on shifting cultivation and related studies; and (v) Support services, social protection and safety nets such as credit service, market support, and insurance..."
Author/creator: Christian Erni (ed), Dr Krishna Bhattachan, Dr Jeremy Ironside, Ms Satomi Higashi, Mr Amba Jamir, Mr Sudibya Kanti Khisa, Mr Prawit Nikorn, Mr Ben Efraim.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), International Work Group For Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
Format/size: pdf (4.9MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/AIPP&IWGIA&FAO-Shifting-Cultivation-2015-06.pdf
http://www.aippnet.org/index.php/environment/1532-fao-and-partners-joint-studies-call-for-indigenou...
Date of entry/update: 18 June 2015


Title: Living the Indigenous Way, from the Jungles to the Mountains
Date of publication: 08 May 2015
Description/subject: " In the course of human history many tens of thousands of communities have survived and thrived for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Scores of these largely self-sustaining traditional communities continue to this day in remote jungles, forests, mountains, deserts, and in the icy regions of the North. A few remain completely isolated from modern society. According to United Nations estimates, upwards of 370 million indigenous people are spread out over 70 countries worldwide. Between them, they speak over 5,000 languages. “Living well is all about keeping good relations with Mother Earth and not living by domination or extraction." -- Victoria Tauli Corpuz, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples But as the fingers of economic development reach into ever more distant corners of the globe, many of these communities find themselves – and their way of life – under threat. The march of progress means that efforts are being made both to extract the resources on which these communities rely and to ‘mainstream’ indigenous groups by introducing Western medical, educational and economic systems into traditional ways of life..."
Author/creator: Stephen Leahy
Language: English
Source/publisher: Inter Press Service (IPS)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 May 2015


Title: Stop prejudice against indigenous peoples’ ‘kaingin’
Date of publication: 02 May 2015
Description/subject: "Two articles attributing the destruction of forests on the island of Palawan to kaingin were recently published in the Inquirer (“Summer not all beach in Palawan,” Across the Nation, 4/19/15, and “Buzzwords rehashed,” Opinion, 4/16/15). As scholars who study kaingin and upland development, we are concerned with the broader message conveyed in these articles. We are writing in response to the careless blaming of kaingin without nuance and context, in ways that broadly paint all upland smallholder farmers—including indigenous peoples—as criminal agriculturists. Such negative portrayals of kaingin are powerful and risk misinforming policymakers, activists and citizens. Worse still, these images divert attention from more destructive upland development, such as monocrop plantations and mining. Our own research offers substantive evidence to this effect..."
Author/creator: Wolfram Dressler , Marvin Montefrio, Eulalio Guieb III , Melanie McDermott, Juan Pulhin, Will Smith, Sarah Webb, David Wilson and Jessica Clendenning
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Philippiine Daily Inquirer"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 May 2015


Title: Palawan: Stop blaming indigenous peoples’ farming practices for deforestation- look at oil palm plantations and mining
Date of publication: 28 April 2015
Description/subject: Joint press-release by CALG (Coalition against Land Grabbing) and NATRIPAL (United Tribes of Palawan) "Recent years have seen an exponential increase in land deals across the Philippines with the conversion of large expanses of land with crops mainly intended for export while traditional upland farming implemented through swidden (‘slash-and-burn’) technology (kaingin) is demonized and antagonized through restrictive legislation. The latter, however, fosters local self-sufficiency and plays a fundamental role in the livelihood and worldviews of indigenous societies..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: CALG (Coalition against Land Grabbing) and NATRIPAL (United Tribes of Palawan) via Farmland Grab
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 May 2015


Title: Buzzwords rehashed
Date of publication: 16 April 2015
Description/subject: "Emerging issues produce new buzzwords. You see that in the spread of slash-and-burn (kaingin) agriculture in once-timber-rich areas like the province of Palawan. Today kaingin has blistered the towns of Aborlan, Rizal and Quezon in the south, plus Roxas and Taytay over in the north. Slabs of once-lush forests of Puerto Princesa, plus stretches on the western coast, nudging national-highway sectors, have been seared by kaingin..."
Author/creator: Juan L. Mercado
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Philippiine Daily Inquirer"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 May 2015


Title: Summer not all beach in Palawan; it is the season to burn forests
Date of publication: 09 April 2015
Description/subject: "...The practice of ‘kaingin’ (swidden or slash-and-burn farming) is destroying swaths of forestland along the national highway in Puerto Princesa City and other areas of Palawan province, once dubbed the country’s “last frontier” for its lush forest cover..." See also the comments below the article
Author/creator: Jonah van Beijnen
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Daily Inquirer"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 May 2015


Title: Examining how long fallow swidden systems impact upon livelihood and ecosystem services outcomes compared with alternative land-uses in the uplands of Southeast Asia
Date of publication: 2015
Description/subject: "...Through a detailed analysis of each major period of research since 1945, this review aims to systematically assess studies on swidden and alternative land uses in the uplands of Southeast Asia. In doing so, our review examines the possible outcomes swidden and alternative land-use changes have on associated livelihood and ecosystem services in the region over time. In this way, the review will provide a much needed synthesis of the available data to provide policy-makers and practitioners with an evidence base in order to make informed decisions when it comes to land and forest policies and activities for the uplands of Southeast Asia..."
Author/creator: Wolfram Dressler, David Wilson, Jessica Clendenning, Rob Cramb, Sango Mahanty, Rodel Lasco, Rodney Keenan, Phuc To, Dixon Gevana
Language: English
Source/publisher: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) - CIFOR Working Paper no. 174
Format/size: pdf (515K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/2015-Clendenning_et_al-Fallow_Swidden-WP174.pdf
Date of entry/update: 24 February 2015


Title: The Bittersweet Taste of Rice: Sloping land Conversion and the Shifting livelihoods of the Drung in Northwest Yunnan, China
Date of publication: 19 December 2014
Description/subject: "Economic development and environmental protection have often proved to be conflicting driving forces behind change in northwest Yunnan province, China. In 2003, the Sloping Land Conversion Program brought an end to traditional shifting cultivation in the Dulong valley—part of the Gaoligong Mountain Nature Reserve, Gongshan County— and is now threatening Drung people’s livelihood and culture while further increasing villagers’ dependence on state subsidies. This paper addresses the implementation of this program and the difficulties encountered by locals in relation to environmental protection and economic development issues. It describes the specificities of swidden cultivation and explores aspects of human-environment relatedness in the Dulong Valley... Keywords: Dulong (Drung, Trung, T’rung), China, Yunnan, Sloping Land Conversion Program, swidden agriculture, biodiversity, development, livelihood, suicide.
Author/creator: Stéphane Gros
Language: English
Source/publisher: Himalaya
Format/size: pdf (576K)
Alternate URLs: http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2111&context=himalaya
Date of entry/update: 09 March 2015


Title: The History and Development of De-swiddening among the Ersu in Sichuan, China
Date of publication: 19 December 2014
Description/subject: "The process of coercing or persuading farmers to transition from shifting agriculture to more sedentary agricultural practices, a process I refer to as ‘de-swiddening,’ has been well documented for many decades. Most often this process takes place in the political context of a state’s attempt to make an agricultural system more ‘legible,’ as Scott (1998) has aptly described it. In a more recent context, de-swiddening has actually been taken under the banner of environmental protection. In both instances, institutional bodies which design de-swiddening policies rarely consider its unintended consequences. In China, to prevent erosion in upland regions of the country, the Ministry of Forestry and the Ministry of Agriculture established the Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP) in 1998 to pay households not to cut down timber. At the local level, this has effectively created an altitudinal boundary preventing households from cutting any trees above 2000 meters where swiddening practices would traditionally take place. In this paper I plan to show that the policy itself was part of a historical process of the de-swiddening of various ethnic groups in Western China. Such a policy did not develop in a vacuum of knowledge but is connected to a Chinese understanding of intensified agriculture. To demonstrate this I show how the ethno-agricultural system in an Ersu Tibetan community, has been undermined by an adherence to the Chinese state’s interpretation of ‘scientific agriculture’ over the past 80 years. Yet, I also argue that Ersu villagers engage directly with these changes as their own desire to obtain economic wealth has increased in recent decades. Keywords: swidden, anthropology, Sichuan, Ersu, history..."
Author/creator: Edwin A. Schmitt
Language: English
Source/publisher: Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies: (vol34/iss2)
Format/size: pdf (522K)
Date of entry/update: 09 March 2015


Title: Indigenous leaders and allies call for the for the recognition and protection of indigenous peoples land use systems in forest management
Date of publication: 16 December 2014
Description/subject: "... Indigenous peoples traditional livelihoods; particularly shifting cultivation has been branded as a driver of deforestation and is seen as technologically primitive, economically inefficient and ecologically harmful practice by most of the governments in Asia. The recent research conducted by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) in partnership with International Work Group for Indigenous Peoples Affairs (IWGIA) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has confirmed what indigenous leaders have long been advocating that shifting cultivation is not a driver of deforestation. The study also confirmed that shifting cultivation is ecologically sound and still plays an important role in providing livelihood and food security in many indigenous communities.The research by AIPP found that land scarcity is making shifting cultivation difficult to sustain sufficiently long fallow cycles. However, it is often not so much caused by increasing population, but by outright dispossession of indigenous peoples’ territories for plantation or resource extraction..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: Rearticulating governance through carbon in the Lao PDR?
Date of publication: 06 November 2014
Description/subject: Abstract: "Interventions to ‘improve’ the human condition through democratic and capitalist ideals increasingly draw on capital and markets to influence governance in line with Western mandates of state building. As a major recent example, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation ‘plus’ (REDD+) develops new market regimes to govern, finance, and trade carbon in line with donor discourses of civil liberties, market expansion, and, more broadly, state building. Emerging REDD+ networks that aim to finance and trade carbon now align with the conditionality and ideals of democratic governance, transparency, and accountability through processes of institution building (for state stability). This paper examines the connection between REDD+ projects and state-making ideals in policy and practice as bilaterals and NGOs fuse the conditions and governance of one with the other. In the Lao PDR we argue that the governance machinery and interventions associated with REDD+ facilitate governance agendas to manage people, goods, and carbon in line with Western narratives of robust governance, free markets, and integrity. We contend that the adoption of REDD+ will nudge local markets and governance in this postsocialist bureaucracy toward such principles, but in ways that partly reinforce the state’s longer term political and economic objectives. We conclude that, rather than conserve carbon per se, REDD+ governance reflects a tempered, less absolute ‘extraterritoriality’, where its transnational influence is differentiated depending on how assumptions and ideals align with state motives in the context of forest governance, democratic reform, and rural development."... Keywords: climate governance, REDD+ policy, market-based mechanisms, agrarian change, Laos PDR
Author/creator: Wolfram Dressler, S Mahanty, J Clendenning, Phuc Xuan To
Language: English
Source/publisher: Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 2014, volume 32,
Format/size: pdf (188K)
Date of entry/update: 03 February 2015


Title: Shifting Cultivation: The cultural heritage of indigenous communities and the source of livelihoods and food security for many indigenous peoples in Asia
Date of publication: 16 September 2014
Description/subject: "...Chiang Mai, Thailand: Indigenous peoples traditional land use systems, particularly shifting cultivation in most of the countries in Asia have long been contributing to the sustainable livelihoods; food security; sustainable natural resources management; and biodiversity conservation and enhancement. The traditional knowledge, cultural, spiritual and nutritional values attached to these livelihood systems demonstrate that they are not merely a technique of land use but their way of life. Most of the countries in Asia have adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) that guarantees the rights of indigenous peoples to continue their traditional land use systems. Despite this widespread adoption, there are policies on land use that consider shifting cultivation, as a driver of deforestation in many countries in Asia. These policies are damaging indigenous land use systems and have resulted in food insecurity, loss of biodiversity and traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples. Mr. Hiroyoki Konuma, Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific (FAO- RAP), giving his welcome remarks to the participants of the “Regional Multi-Stakeholder Consultation on Indigenous Peoples Livelihood and Food Security” said that shifting cultivation has been portrayed as the enemy of forest conservation. The victimization of shifting cultivation should be avoided. Mr. Konuma added that our aim should be to highlight the good practices of indigenous peoples and protect such traditional livelihoods that are important to indigenous peoples and also for us.” Mr. Konuma also added that “Unless we target indigenous peoples, who are one of the largest portion of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in our society and work together with them as key partners, we would not be able to eradicate poverty and hunger, and our fundamental goal of equitable growth, social stability and sustainable development would never be achieved.”..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: Shifting Cultivation, Livelihood and Food Security New and Old - Challenges for Indigenous Peoples in Asia
Date of publication: May 2014
Description/subject: "... This briefing note presents the findings of seven case studies conducted from May to June 2014. The studies were conducted in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal and Thailand and looked into the livelihood and food security among indigenous shifting cultivation communities in South and Southeast Asia. The briefing note provides a summary of the main findings of the case studies and the common recommendations from a multi-stakeholders consultation held August 28-29 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Participants at the multi-stakeholder consultation included government agencies, UN agencies, regional NGOs, Indigenous Peoples’ organisations, community leaders, and local governments..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and International Workgroup on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
Subscribe: http://www.iwgia.org/iwgia_files_publications_files/0694_AIPPShifting_cultivation_livelihoodfood_security.pdf
Format/size: pdf (1.7MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs20/AIPP-IWGIA-2014-Briefing_paper_on_shifting_cultivation.pdf
http://www.iwgia.org/publications/search-pubs?search=result&search_text=shifting+cultivation&public...
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: UMA resolution
Date of publication: 28 April 2014
Description/subject: RESOLUTION NO. 28414 (also known as the ‘Uma Resolution’), REQUESTS HE IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE OF THE PROVINCIAL, REGIONAL AND NATIONAL OFFICES OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (NCIP) TO SUPPORT BATAK CUSTOMARY RIGHTS TO KAINGIN (UMA) [shifting cultivation] AND TO ADOPT ALL MEASURES TO DECLARE THE PRIMACY OF IPRA LAW OVER OTHER MINOR LAWS IMPOSING A BAN ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ TRADITIONAL FARMING PRACTICES.
Author/creator: Council of elders of the Batak communities of Sitio Kalakuasan et al
Language: English and Tagalog)
Source/publisher: Council of elders of the Batak communities of Sitio Kalakuasan et al
Format/size: pdf (141K-English; 74K-tagalog)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs20/UMA_Resolution-2014-tagalog-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 February 2015


Title: Shifting cultivation for a changing climate (video)
Date of publication: 12 March 2014
Description/subject: "Shifting cultivation, locally called 'Jhum', is a widely practiced system of crop cultivation among the indigenous communities of Northeast India. While it is generally contested as a destructive method of farming, it is also argued that the system lends itself as much more than just a farming practice. It gives a family its food, fodder, fuel, livelihood and is closely linked to their identity. Many opine that the name ‘slash and burn’ system has attached a negative image to it. While some amount of vegetation is cleared and burnt to create manure for the crops, the practicing families also have in place a system of nurturing the trees that comprise their lands. The system allows a wide variety of crops to be grown in every cycle. However, shorter fallow periods between two crop cycles have started to change the land use pattern in many areas. While this farming method has been widely argued as environmentally destructive and economically unviable, it must also be viewed in its entirety-where it means much more than just an agricultural method for the communities. Government approaches to manage Jhum cultivation have invariably tried to replace it with settled agriculture. Has this approach worked well or has it just opened a new can of worms for the communities? In the wake of climate change, does Jhum farming offer new ways of adaptation to the challenges posed by it? Watch the video to know more about the Jhum system of cultivation and how government interventions have fared in the region..."
Author/creator: Usha Dewani
Language: English
Source/publisher: ICIMOD
Format/size: Adobe Flash
Date of entry/update: 04 January 2015


Title: Flighty Subjects: Sovereignty, Shifting Cultivators, and the State in Darjeeling, 1830-1856
Date of publication: 2014
Description/subject: "This paper focuses on the historical experiences of shifting cultivators who lived in the eastern Himalaya in the areas around Darjeeling, Eastern Nepal, and Southern Sikkim in the early 19th century. These groups played an important role in state-formation in the precolonial period, as regionally expansive states relied upon them for labor, military levies, and revenue. Shifting cultivators were organized under headmen who dispensed justice, collected taxes, and negotiated with the state on behalf of their clients. The author argues that such groups formed the basis of sovereignty on the frontier, where control over subjects was more significant than control over clearly demarcated territory. Patrons of labor were well-versed in political negotiations and dexterously managed the shift to East India Company rule in Darjeeling in 1835; however, the Company administrators changed the terms of governance, even as they drew upon the headmen’s services in accessing laborers. By positing the labor market as the appropriate means of securing labor, the Company officials denied the role of the state in accumulating labor power. In addition, colonial discourse fixed shifting cultivators as backwards and in need of protection, undermining their important contributions to state formation under the previous dispensation. By distancing itself from patron-client relationships as vital to state formation and discrediting these networks of labor organization in favor of market logic, the Company in theory moved the terms of sovereignty towards territory rather than people.... Keywords: Darjeeling, borderlands, colonialism, history, shifting cultivation."
Author/creator: Catherine Warner
Language: English
Source/publisher: Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies: (vol34/iss1)
Format/size: pdf (294K)
Alternate URLs: http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1944&context=himalaya
Date of entry/update: 10 March 2015


Title: The Social Life of Forest Carbon: Property and Politics in the Production of a New Commodity
Date of publication: January 2013
Description/subject: Abstract: "Interventions to conserve carbon stored in forests are central to the emerging global climate change regime. Widely referred to as REDD+, these interventions engage local resource holders in contracts to restrict their use of land and forests in exchange for conditional benefits, effectively creating a market for forest carbon—a new and intangible commodity. Delving into the social and material implications of this, three case studies (Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Cambodia) examine property relations in the early stages of forest carbon production in different tenure contexts. The case studies reveal that: (a) the risk of local exclusion from forest and lands under REDD+ is real, but is mediated by dynamic negotiations over knowledge and property; (b) the relationship between forest carbon and underlying property relations around land and forests is recursive and mutually constitutive; and (c) due to ongoing and entrenched property contests in REDD+ locations, there remains an unstable foundation for forest carbon markets"... Keywords: Property . Forest carbon . REDD+ . Commodity
Author/creator: Sango Mahanty & Sarah Milne & Wolfram Dressler & Colin Filer
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Human Ecology" (2012)
Format/size: pdf (67K)
Date of entry/update: 03 February 2015


Title: Sustainable Land and Ecosystem Management in Shifting Cultivation Areas of Nagaland for Ecological and Livelihood Security
Date of publication: 2013
Description/subject: "The north-eastern state of Nagaland is located at the confluence of the Indo-China and Indo-Myanmar region, and is endowed with rich diversity of species, flora and fauna. Shifting cultivation, locally referred to as jhum, is the main form of agriculture, most suitable for the state's climate conditions and steep terrain. In recent years, however, the duration of jhum cycles have shortened. This has meant that there is little time for restoring soil fertility and yields are declining over time. Families that were once self-sufficient in food grains are now not able to produce enough even for a few months of the year. There is little time for regeneration, which has accelerated soil erosion and disrupted the hydrology of the area. Nagaland faces a major challenge in adapting land use and production systems to meet rising populations and changing lifestyles, while also maintaining its ecological sustainability. In partnership with the Government of Nagaland, the UNDP project focuses on reducing land degradation resulting from shifting cultivation practices... Objectives: The project aims to address land degradation in shifting cultivation locations in three districts of Nagaland covering 70 villages, through participatory planning, generating awareness, building institutions and supporting integrated farm development that enable sustainable land and ecological management."
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Format/size: pdf (653K-reduced version; 946K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.in.undp.org/content/india/en/home/operations/projects/environment_and_energy/sustainable...
http://www.in.undp.org/content/dam/india/docs/sustainable_land_and_ecosystem_management_in_shifting...
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: The impacts of shifting cultivation on tropical forest soil: a review
Date of publication: 2013
Description/subject: Abstract: "The sustainability of shifting cultivation is presently a topic of debate in scientific and institutional communities; however, there is no current consensus. To address this debate, we performed a search of the pertinent literature that was published during the last 30 years on the impact of shifting agriculture on tropical soils. This search revealed that the nature of the impact depends on the shifting cultivation system (SCS) phase (conversion, cultivation, or fallow) and on the soil properties (physical, chemical, and biological). We also suggest soil quality indicators for evaluating this agricultural practice in tropical forests, which may be used as a basis for analyses on the tendencies of conservation and degradation of impacted soils. Future research should improve the choices of these indicators, relying mostly on practical criteria, so they can be used by shifting cultivators".
Author/creator: Alexandre Antunes Ribeiro Filho, Cristina Adams, Rui Sergio Sereni Murrieta
Language: English (Portuguese also available)
Source/publisher: Bol. Mus. Para. Emílio Goeldi. Cienc. Hum., Belém, v. 8, n. 3, p. 693-727, set.-dez. 2013, Universidade de São Paulo.
Format/size: pdf (1MB), html
Alternate URLs: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1981-81222013000300013&script=sci_arttext
Date of entry/update: 07 January 2015


Title: Study on the Evolution of the Farming Systems and Livelihoods Dynamics in Northern Chin State
Date of publication: August 2012
Description/subject: Conclusions: "Chin State has been often characterized among all States and Regions by the highest poverty gap ratio, highest occurrence of food deficits, poor road connectivity, low population density but lowest percent availability of cultivable lands and high percentage of waste and scrub lands, adherence to the shifting cultivation system, lack of rural based industries, and higher rate of out migration. In order to pull the local people out of these traps, fundamental problems will have to be addressed. The public goods such as infrastructure, roads and electricity should receive the priority agenda for development. Without this development framework, attempts to address the issues of community development, food security, natural resources management and community empowerment will give no significant impact on the local communities. The government bodies and the development agencies should participate in and coordinate the formulation of the development agenda and afterwards respective organizations and institutions will focus on their relevant tasks with their set targets. Assuming that these preconditions have been or will be met soon or in parallel manner, the following agenda are suggested as far as the sustainable livelihood improvement and farming systems development with better natural resources management are concerned to us..." Table of Contents: I. INTRODUCTION: 1. Objectives of the Study... 2. Expected Mission Outcomes... 3. Methodology... II. Presentation of the survey cases: 1. Location and Geography... 2. Settlement Pattern... 3. Upland Ecology, Households, Land and Land Tenure Bounded by Tribal Community Culture... 4. Location of Village in Relation to Forests, Taun-yar (Lopils) and Paddy Land... 5. Farming Systems of the Study Areas... 6. Past and Present Situation of Taun-yar or Shifting Cultivation... III. Evolution of farming systems & Livelihood Dynamics: 1. Good Practices and Weaknesses in Taun-yar Farming... 2. Changing Process of Lowland Paddy Growing and Terrace Farming... 3. Process and Pattern of Terraced Farm Development... 4. Legal Aspects and Land Registration in Permanent Farming Plots... 5. Land Use Types in Relation to Wealth Classes in Sample Villages... IV. Food Security Attained by Different Livelihood Activities: 1. Sources of staple food... 2. Change in Dietary Habit over 20 Year- Period... 3. Demand and Supply Situation of Rice in Northern Chin State... V. Examination of the Population Dynamics and Land Cover changes: 1. Population status and evolution... 2. Migration Dynamics... 3. Assessing the Carrying Capacity of the Land Resources... 4. Land Cover Changes... VI. Activities and Programmes of the Developement Agencies and Local Initiatives for Livelihood Improvement and NRM in Northern Chin State: 1. Development Agencies... 2. The Government and Non-Government Activities for Crops Development... VII. Recommendations and Conclusions: VIII. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: IX. REFERENCES: X. APPENDIX.
Author/creator: U San Thein
Language: English
Source/publisher: Group of Research and Exchange of Technologies (GRET), LIFT
Format/size: pdf (1.5MB)
Date of entry/update: 10 March 2014


Title: Drivers of Deforestation? Facts to be considered regarding the impact of shifting cultivation in Asia
Date of publication: May 2012
Description/subject: "Submission to the SBSTA on the Drivers of Deforestation including key findings of research on shifting cultivation, underpinning the dire need to earnestly consider indigenous peoples’ perspectives while assessing its impact on forests and climate change, and the human rights violations and other impacts resulting from state policies prohibiting or unduly restricting shifting cultivation"
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Workgroup on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
Format/size: pdf (821K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs20/IWGIA-2012-Drivers_of_deforestation.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: Study on shifting cultivation and the socio-cultural integrity of indigenous peoples
Date of publication: 24 February 2012
Description/subject: Summary: "At its tenth session in 2011, the Permanent Forum appointed Raja Devasish Roy, Bertie Xavier and Simon William M’Vidouboulou, members of the Forum, to conduct a study on shifting cultivation and the socio-cultural integrity of indigenous peoples, to be submitted to the Forum at its eleventh session in 2012. The present study assesses the importance of the various traditions, practices and usages of shifting cultivation in different parts of the world to the maintenance and protection of the socio-cultural integrity of indigenous peoples, including aspects of their identity as distinct peoples, their spirituality, history, traditions, democratic decision-making norms, social unity, community self-help practices, literature, music, dance and numerous other aspects of their culture that are intricately linked to shifting cultivation traditions and practices. These are vital not only to protect their social and cultural rights but are also closely related to their economic, civil and political rights. In a wider context, shifting cultivation is also closely related to forest protection, sustainable forest management, the protection of watersheds, the conservation of headwaters of rivers and streams and the maintenance of biological and linguistic diversity... The study concludes that the practice of shifting cultivation needs to be maintained, strengthened and promoted in its sustainable forms, in accordance with the rights acknowledged in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Convention No. 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on indigenous and tribal peoples of 1989, ILO Convention No. 107 and Recommendation No. 104 on indigenous and tribal populations of 1957, and ILO Convention No. 111 on discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. The study also seeks to address some of the myths, misinformation and misconceptions that have been associated with the practice of shifting cultivation, based on a lack of understanding of the nuanced differences in the way shifting cultivation has been and is still practised today in Central America, South America, Africa and Asia."
Author/creator: Raja Devasish Roy, Bertie Xavier and Simon William M’Vidouboulou
Language: English (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish also available on the 2nd UN link)
Source/publisher: United Nations (Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues - E/C.19/2012/8)
Format/size: pdf (79K)
Alternate URLs: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N12/241/85/PDF/N1224185.pdf?OpenElement
http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=E/C.19/2012/8
Date of entry/update: 24 January 2015


Title: Trends, drivers and impacts of changes in swidden cultivation in tropical forest-agriculture frontiers: A global assessment
Date of publication: 2012
Description/subject: Nathalie van Vliet , Ole Mertz , Andreas Heinimann , Tobias Langanke , Unai Pascual , , Birgit Schmook , Cristina Adams , Dietrich Schmidt-Vogt , Peter Messerli , Stephen Leisz , Jean-Christophe Castella , Lars Jørgensen , Torben Birch-Thomsen , Cornelia Hett , Thilde Bech-Bruun , Amy Ickowitz , Kim Chi Vu , Kono Yasuyuki , Jefferson Fox , Christine Padoch , Wolfram Dressler , Alan D. Ziegler.....Abstract: "This meta-analysis of land-cover transformations of the past 10–15 years in tropical forest-agriculture frontiers world-wide shows that swidden agriculture decreases in landscapes with access to local, national and international markets that encourage cattle production and cash cropping, including biofuels. Conservation policies and practices also accelerate changes in swidden by restricting forest clearing and encouraging commercial agriculture. However, swidden remains important in many frontier areas where farmers have unequal or insecure access to investment and market opportunities, or where multi- functionality of land uses has been preserved as a strategy to adapt to current ecological, economic and political circumstances. In some areas swidden remains important simply because intensification is not a viable choice, for example when population densities and/or food market demands are low. The transformation of swidden landscapes into more intensive land uses has generally increased household incomes, but has also led to negative effects on the social and human capital of local communities to varying degrees.From an environmentalperspective, the transition from swidden to other land uses oftencontributes to permanent deforestation, loss of biodiversity, increased weed pressure, declines in soil fertility, and accelerated soil erosion. Our prognosis is that, despite the global trend towards land use intensification, in many areas swidden will remain part of rural landscapes as the safety component of diversified systems, particularly in response to risks and uncertainties associated with more intensive land use systems."
Author/creator: Nathalie van Vliet et al
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Global Environmental Change" 22 (2012) 418-429
Format/size: pdf (1.89K)
Date of entry/update: 22 May 2015


Title: Farmer Gone Fish’n? Swidden Decline and the Rise of Grouper Fishing on Palawan Island, the Philippines
Date of publication: October 2011
Description/subject: "Considerable research has focused on understanding how upland farmers adjust land-based livelihoods to the influences of agrarian change in Southeast Asia. In the process, an ‘upland bias’ has emerged where researchers focus narrowly on the uplands as localities with distinct, coherent features, neglecting how families engage place, social relations and ethnicity as they access opportunities in proximate spaces. This paper considers how the Tagbanua – long considered an upland swidden people – have ‘stepped back’ from swidden agriculture due to declining yields and debt to harvest the lucrative grouper (e.g. Plectropomus leopardus). We show how Tagbanua families on Palawan Island have adjusted swidden as they negotiate social relations, ethnic cleavages and economic barriers to effectively engage the grouper industry. Rather than cast such farmers and fishers as ideal types in place, we argue that how they negotiate social relations creates new livelihood opportunities in varied environments, reinforcing the dynamic, recursive context of agrarian change"... Keywords: agrarian change, Philippines, swidden, fishing, human geography
Author/creator: Wolfram H. Dressler, Michael Fabinyi
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol. 11 No. 4, October 2011, pp. 536–555.
Format/size: pdf (262K)
Date of entry/update: 03 February 2015


Title: Towards a 'Common Logic of Procurement': Unravelling the Foraging-Farming Interface on Palawan Island (The Philippines)
Date of publication: 2011
Description/subject: "...I have proposed that, through a chronology of changes from the 1980s to the present day, declining yields per unit of land and labour are among the basic features of contemporary Batak swidden practices. This trend has reinforced public misconceptions about those practices. Furthermore, I have attempted to show that Batak farming knowledge is complex and articulated, contradicting the general view that their agricultural practices are unsophisticated and technologically backward. On the contrary, farming innovations and experimentation continue to take place, often as a way of countering changes confronting the Batak. Clearly, a complex set of events and circumstances, rather than Batak farming ‘ignorance’, has contributed to detrimental changes in Batak farming practices, such that the environmental sustainability of these practices can no longer be taken for granted. These events include demographic pressure, loss of important ecological food zones, a drop in seasonal movements, competition over resources, indebtedness and government restrictions on forest use. Undoubtedly, top-down technical approaches to stabilizing shifting cultivation, imposition of imported participatory logic and various forms of external interference have played a major role in the breakdown of Batak social-support systems and mobility patterns..."
Author/creator: Dario Novellino
Language: English
Source/publisher: M. Janowski and G. Barker (eds.) Why Cultivate? Anthropological and archeological perspectives on foraging-farming transitions in island Southeast Asia.
Format/size: pdf (345K)
Alternate URLs: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/7263/1/WhyCult_01.pdf
Date of entry/update: 05 February 2015


Title: Shifting Cultivation in the Sacred Himalayan Landscape - A Case Study in the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area
Date of publication: 2010
Description/subject: Conclusions and recommendations: "It is obvious that this traditional farming system is in need of in-depth research and development support to help farmers deal with changing frame conditions and new challenges. Like every other farming system in the world, it deserves to be taken seriously by researchers and development workers in agriculture, forestry, conservation etc. Development efforts should be aimed towards modifying and improving the existing shifting cultivation system, rather than trying to convince farmers to replace it. The existing bias against shifting cultivation is not based on any knowledge of the realities on the ground and is unfounded. As a result, they are counterproductive to the conservation and development programme. Farmers’ traditional knowledge and views should be taken more seriously in conservation and development efforts. In situations where conventional agriculture and forestry options are not suitable, participatory action research is a good method to develop new, more appropriate, technologies and test local innovations for wider use. Such agricultural and other development efforts should be supported by providing farmers with tenure security. Too often, development efforts are undermined by farmers’ fear of losing access and control over land and other natural resources once development projects are implemented and government control increases. Planning and working with farmers needs to happen rapidly and with commitment. Farmers must not feel that the programme is only talk and no action. The most obvious way ahead would be for the WWF Programme to better address the specifi c needs of shifting cultivators, for example through a special programme. Such a programme can perfectly fi t the KCA’s objective of balancing conservation and livelihood goals, and relate to the aspirations of local people as well as the Government of Nepal and other stakeholders. As part of it, some of the following recommendations could be considered: • Document traditional and indigenous knowledge and practices and their importance for biodiversity management, with due care for intellectual property rights and cultural sensitivity; • Strengthen local people’s capacity to innovate and provide support and options that are appropriate and locally acceptable, and • Enhance security of access and tenure of land and other natural resources within the framework provided to the park authorities by national policies"
Author/creator: Aryal, K.P.; Kerkhoff, E.E.; Maskey, N.; Sherchan, R.
Language: English
Source/publisher: WWF Nepal
Format/size: pdf (930K-reduced version; 1.1MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/shifting_cultivation_1.pdf
Date of entry/update: 08 February 2015


Title: The Good, the Bad, and the Contradictory: Neoliberal Conservation Governance in Rural Southeast Asia
Date of publication: 2010
Description/subject: Summary: "The logic of the market economy increasingly informs the design and the outcomes of conservation in the developing world. This paper uses case studies from Thailand and the Philippines to investigate this changing conservation landscape and argues first that such conservation governance does not abandon but rather rearticulates forms of coercive conservation and second that the particular manifestations of neoliberal conservation are shaped by the national policies, local histories, and livelihoods of recipient communities. The conclusion asserts that market-based conservation governance may constrain as well as support farmer freedom to pursue particular livelihoods, resulting in contradictory outcomes for neoliberal conservation governance..."
Author/creator: Wolfram Drexler, Robin Roth
Language: English
Source/publisher: "World Development" Vol. xx, No. x, pp. xxx–xxx, 2010
Format/size: pdf (380K)
Date of entry/update: 02 February 2015


Title: The Role of “Hybrid” NGOs in the Conservation and Development of Palawan Island, The Philippines
Date of publication: 2010
Description/subject: "The rapid rise of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the Philippines has reflected a regional trend toward the ‘‘democratization’’ of conservation and development on behalf of the rural poor when the state falls short. This article examines how this trend has manifested itself among the indigenous peoples of Palawan Island and how, despite best intentions, project delivery by ‘‘hybrid’’ NGOs—changing organizational forms with multiple objectives and functions—has often yielded unsustainable and culturally damaging outcomes. We draw on ethnographic research among the Tagbanua and Batak peoples to examine recent claims of broad NGO success in achieving community empowerment and forest conservation on Palawan. We support our argument by examining case studies in which NGOs and state failures to properly engage traditional livelihoods have reinforced outsider control over indigenous needs and aspirations"... Keywords: conservation, development, indigenous peoples, NGOs, Palawan Island, The Philippines
Author/creator: Dario Novellino, Wolfram H. Dressler
Language: English
Source/publisher: Society and Natural Resources, 23:165–180
Format/size: pdf (131K)
Date of entry/update: 03 February 2015


Title: Shifting Cultivation in the Mountainous Mainland Southeast Asia: The search for appropriate and sustainable land use, and its contribution to the improvement of rural livelihoods
Date of publication: 05 December 2009
Description/subject: Focus: • Changes in land use under shifting cultivation • Government policy and implementation for alternative land use • Farmers’ management of sustainable land use and improved livelihood....
Author/creator: Kanok Rerkasem
Language: English
Source/publisher: Nagoya University, Japan (Workshop on Recent Environmental Change in Southeast Asia.)
Format/size: ppt (66 slides)
Alternate URLs: http://w3serv.nagoya-u.ac.jp/envgcoe/images/events/conference_int/fyh21/ppt/002/kanok.pdf
Date of entry/update: 30 January 2015


Title: Who Counts? Demography of Swidden Cultivators in Southeast Asia
Date of publication: 27 May 2009
Description/subject: Abstract Swidden cultivators are often found as a distinct category of farmers in the literature, but rarely appear in population censuses or other national and regional classifications. This has led to a worldwide confusion on how many people are dependent on this form of agriculture. The most often cited number of 200–300 million dates back to the early 1970s, but the source is obscure. We assess available, published data from nine countries in Southeast Asia and conclude that on this basis it is not possible to provide a firm estimate of the number of swidden cultivators in the region. A conservative range of 14–34 million people engaged in swidden cultivation in the region is suggested, however. We argue that along with improved knowledge of swidden livelihoods, there is an urgent need to develop techniques that will allow for better estimates of swidden populations in order to secure appropriate rural development and poverty reduction in swidden areas..... Keywords: Shifting cultivation . Population . Census . Southeast Asia.
Author/creator: Ole Mertz & Stephen J. Leisz & Andreas Heinimann & Kanok Rerkasem & Thiha & Wolfram Dressler & Van Cu Pham & Kim Chi Vu & Dietrich Schmidt-Vogt & Carol J. P. Colfer & Michael Epprecht & Christine Padoch & Lesley Potter
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Human Ecology" (2009) 37:281–289
Format/size: pdf (175K)
Date of entry/update: 02 February 2015


Title: Swidden Change in Southeast Asia: Understanding Causes and Consequences
Date of publication: 20 May 2009
Description/subject: "...So, more than 50 years after FAO’s infamous call to researchers and institutions around the world to participate in a coordinated multidisciplinary program of research to understand swidden cultivation, and thus “overcome” it, we conclude by calling for yet more coordinated and interdisciplinary efforts to understand this complex and evolving form of land use that is undergoing rapid change in ways that are still imperfectly understood."
Author/creator: Ole Mertz & Christine Padoch & Jefferson Fox & R. A. Cramb & Stephen J. Leisz & Nguyen Thanh Lam & Tran Duc Vien
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Human Ecology" (2009) 37:259–264
Format/size: pdf (125K)
Date of entry/update: 02 February 2015


Title: Shifting cultivation and climate change
Date of publication: 2009
Description/subject: "In the age of global climate change, resource use and management practices that rely on the use of fire and thus emit carbon are coming under increased pressure. This is particularly the case with shifting cultivation. Because shifting cultivation is so different from the forms of agriculture practiced in the lowlands and by the majority populations, it is one of the most misunderstood land use systems. Thus, in the name of forest conservation and development, colonial and post-colonial governments in Asia have since more than a century devised policies and laws seeking to eradicate shifting cultivation. The reasons usually given for such restrictive state policies are that shifting cultivation is • Technologically primitive, inefficient and wasteful, prevents development and thus keeps people in poverty • Destructive to forests and soils Decades of research on virtually every aspect of shifting cultivation have generated sufficient evidence to prove that its sweeping condemnation by government bureaucrats, politicians or professionals is based on insufficient and erroneous information, or quite simply myth. Notwithstanding all evidence, however, attitudes by decision makers and, consequently, state policies have hardly changed..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Workgroup on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB-reduced version; 1.8MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.iwgia.org/iwgia_files_publications_files/0514_Briefing_paper_shifting_cultivation_final....
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: The shifting ground of swidden agriculture on Palawan Island, the Philippines
Date of publication: 2009
Description/subject: Abstract: "Recent literature describing the process and pathways of the agrarian transition in Southeast Asia suggests that the rise of agricultural intensification and the growth of commodity markets will lead to the demise of swidden agriculture. This paper offers a longitudinal overview of the conditions that drive the agrarian transition amongst indigenous swidden cultivators and migrant paddy farmers in central Palawan Island, the Philippines. In line with regional agrarian change, we describe how a history of conservation policies has criminalized and pressured swidden farmers to adopt more intensive ‘‘modern’’ agricultural practices. We examine how indigenous swidden cultivators adjust their practice in response to recent changes in policies, security of harvests, and socio-cultural values vis-a`-vis intensification. Rather than suggest that this transition will lead to the demise of swidden, results reveal that farmers instead negotiate a shifting ground in which they lean on and value swidden as a means of negotiating agrarian change"...Keywords: Agrarian transition, Indigenous, Persistence, Palawan Island, the Philippines, Swidden
Author/creator: Wolfram Dressler, Juan Pulhin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Agriculture and Human Values"
Format/size: pdf (275K)
Date of entry/update: 03 February 2015


Title: Land for My Grandchildren: Land-Use and Tenure Change In Ratanakiri: 1989-2007
Date of publication: 2008
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Like many nations in Southeast Asia, Cambodia faces challenges respecting the rights and culture of its upland dwelling ethnic minorities while pursing national development strategies1. Centrally designed planning and economic goals have been prescribed for these remote areas often without recognizing the extraordinary knowledge indigenous communities have of their environment and the special resources they can bring to its further development. As a consequence, public and private sector initiatives for development may fit poorly, or conflict with local needs and management systems, resulting in destabilizing shifts in land-use and tenure systems as well as social systems. Ratanakiri has approximately 250 villages with 100,000 people who live either within forests or within 5 kilometers of them2. Annual population growth of 4 to 5 percent from natural increase and migration, combined with rapidly expanding market penetration, is putting immense pressure on land and forests and fueling a large and illegal land market. As indigenous communities lose control of their lands they are forced to retreat further into the forest, clearing those areas in turn. At the current rate of forest loss it appears much of the forest in Ratanakiri will be cleared in the next decade. During the same period it is likely that half of all indigenous lands in the province will be transferred to outside investors, concessionaires, or Khmer migrants from lowland areas. The alienation of indigenous community lands is and will result in growing social and economic marginalization, while the clearing of natural forests will likely destabilize micro-climatic patterns, affect watershed hydrology, and erode biodiversity. These changes, in turn, may limit the sustainability of any new economic production systems that replace existing land-use patterns (i.e., forests and swiddens). This paper draws on case studies from three communities in Ratanakiri to illustrate both the forces driving land-use and tenure change as well as how effective community stewardship can guide agricultural transitions. The study combines a time series of remotely sensed data from 1989 to 2006 to evaluate changes in land use, and relates this data to in-depth ground truth observations and social research from the three villages. The methodology was designed to evaluate how indigenous communities who had historically managed forest lands as communal resources, are responding to market forces and pressures from land speculators. Krala Village received support from local NGOs to strengthen community, map its land, demarcate boundaries, strengthen resource use regulations, and develop land-use plans. The two other villages, Leu Keun and Tuy, each received successively less support from outside organizations for purposes of resource mapping and virtually no support for institutional strengthening. The remote sensing data indicates that in Krala, over the sixteen year study period, protected forest areas remained virtually intact, while total forest cover declined at a rate of only 0.86 per year."
Author/creator: Jefferson M. Fox, Dennis McMahon, Mark Poffenberger, and John Vogler
Language: English
Source/publisher: Community Forestry International (CFI) and the East West Center
Format/size: pdf (2.4MB-reduced version; 3.27MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://pgis-tk.cta.int/m02/docs/M02U03_handout_Land4my_Granchildren.pdf
Date of entry/update: 29 January 2015


Title: The Alder Managers:The Cultural Ecology of a Village in Nagaland, N.E. India (Gallery)
Date of publication: March 2007
Description/subject: A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Australian National University.....ABSTRACT: "Although shifting cultivation has long been condemned as a wasteful land use practice, research has failed to identify alternative models suitable to the conditions under which shifting cultivators work. The failure of outside interventions suggests that attention should be directed to cases where, faced with land shortages, shifting cultivators have successfully developed their own innovations for intensified cultivation. This dissertation explores a striking exception to the general collapse of shifting cultivation systems in the Asia-Pacific region, in Nagaland, a remote corner of N.E. India where, for centuries, Naga farmers have managed a local alder tree (Alnus nepalensis) in their swidden fields. The study focuses on Khonoma, a long- established Angami Naga village in Kohima District with a reputation for particularly intensive use of alder in its dryland cultivation. A nearby Angami village, Tsiesema, does not practice alder management. It was thus adopted as a secondary research site that provided a benchmark of swiddening in the absence of alder, and through comparisons between the two study villages, allowed the study to better gauge the costs and benefits associated with alder management. The study explores the cultural ecology of Khonoma, with special emphasis on the role of alder in its swidden fields. It carefully documents how alder is being managed, examines the evidence for what benefits it provides, and seeks to reconstruct the historical reasons underlying alder’s magnified importance in Khonoma. It shows alder to be a pioneer tree that thrives in the study area, and how through centuries of trial and error, Khonoma has become extraordinarily skillful in managing it as an improved fallow species. By accelerating fallow functions, alder has allowed Khonoma to dramatically intensify its cultivation without slipping into the downward spiral of degradation typically seen when swidden systems are pushed beyond their ecological resilience. The thesis demonstrates how interwoven history, culture, the environment, the landscape and livelihood strategies are in Khonoma, and how they led to it managing alder more intensively than neighboring societies. The Khonoma experience provides a compelling example of farmers using a multipurpose tree as a “bridge” that allowed them to effortlessly make the transition from shifting to permanent cultivation. This was achieved through small, incremental changes to their existing cultivation practices - an approach vastly more acceptable to farmers than the completely new technologies that projects often attempt to parachute into swidden communities.".....At 191MB the original document (follow the link to the Digital Himalaya site) may be too large for everyone to access. OBL has therefore split the document into Text and Gallery and reduced these sections using Finereader OCR and Adobe Acrobat tools. Since the full document is more than 1600 pages, this process may have produced errors. The original 191MB file should therefore be taken as authoritative.
Author/creator: Malcolm Cairns
Language: English
Source/publisher: Australian National University (PhD thesis)
Format/size: pdf (22MB-Gallery; 8.5MB-text; 191MB-full, original document)
Alternate URLs: http://himalaya.socanth.cam.ac.uk/collections/rarebooks/downloads/Malcolm_Cairns_Thesis.pdf
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Cairns_Thesis-text-tpo-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 02 June 2015


Title: The Alder Managers:The Cultural Ecology of a Village in Nagaland, N.E. India (Text)
Date of publication: March 2007
Description/subject: A thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Australian National University.....ABSTRACT: "Although shifting cultivation has long been condemned as a wasteful land use practice, research has failed to identify alternative models suitable to the conditions under which shifting cultivators work. The failure of outside interventions suggests that attention should be directed to cases where, faced with land shortages, shifting cultivators have successfully developed their own innovations for intensified cultivation. This dissertation explores a striking exception to the general collapse of shifting cultivation systems in the Asia-Pacific region, in Nagaland, a remote corner of N.E. India where, for centuries, Naga farmers have managed a local alder tree (Alnus nepalensis) in their swidden fields. The study focuses on Khonoma, a long- established Angami Naga village in Kohima District with a reputation for particularly intensive use of alder in its dryland cultivation. A nearby Angami village, Tsiesema, does not practice alder management. It was thus adopted as a secondary research site that provided a benchmark of swiddening in the absence of alder, and through comparisons between the two study villages, allowed the study to better gauge the costs and benefits associated with alder management. The study explores the cultural ecology of Khonoma, with special emphasis on the role of alder in its swidden fields. It carefully documents how alder is being managed, examines the evidence for what benefits it provides, and seeks to reconstruct the historical reasons underlying alder’s magnified importance in Khonoma. It shows alder to be a pioneer tree that thrives in the study area, and how through centuries of trial and error, Khonoma has become extraordinarily skillful in managing it as an improved fallow species. By accelerating fallow functions, alder has allowed Khonoma to dramatically intensify its cultivation without slipping into the downward spiral of degradation typically seen when swidden systems are pushed beyond their ecological resilience. The thesis demonstrates how interwoven history, culture, the environment, the landscape and livelihood strategies are in Khonoma, and how they led to it managing alder more intensively than neighboring societies. The Khonoma experience provides a compelling example of farmers using a multipurpose tree as a “bridge” that allowed them to effortlessly make the transition from shifting to permanent cultivation. This was achieved through small, incremental changes to their existing cultivation practices - an approach vastly more acceptable to farmers than the completely new technologies that projects often attempt to parachute into swidden communities.".....At 191MB the original document (follow the link to the Digital Himalaya site) may be too large for everyone to access. OBL has therefore split the document into Text and Gallery and reduced these sections using Finereader OCR and Adobe Acrobat tools. Since the full document is more than 1600 pages, this process may have produced errors. The original 191MB file should therefore be taken as authoritative.
Author/creator: Malcolm Cairns
Language: English
Source/publisher: Australian National University (PhD thesis)
Format/size: pdf (8.5MB-text only; 22.MB-images only; 191MB-full document)
Alternate URLs: http://himalaya.socanth.cam.ac.uk/collections/rarebooks/downloads/Malcolm_Cairns_Thesis.pdf
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Cairns_Thesis-im-gallery.pdf
Date of entry/update: 02 June 2015


Title: Cycles of Politics and Cycles of Nature - Permanent Crisis in the Uplands of Palawa (Philippines)
Date of publication: 2007
Description/subject: "...This chapter has several related objectives. In the first section, I provide some indication of Batak rice yields and subsistence strategies before the arrival of large numbers of migrants about forty-five years ago. These data are based on verbal accounts that I have recorded from Batak elders. The 1960s were the prelude to a new era of cultural transformations, which continued through the 1970s and led to major farming crises and the loss of both land and landraces. I begin by analysing chronologically a number of events that occurred between 1980 and 2005, and which have led to the collapse of a relatively stable society of foragers and farmers. The changing relations between forest availability, swidden size and fal­ low periods and the reasons why yields declined per unit of land and labour cannot be understood without seeing the larger picture and assess­ ing the different factors, both external and internal, that have contributed to the transformation of the Batak swidden system into a costly, often unproductive and increasingly 'risky' enterprise. In the final section I examine how national and local politics have had (and continue to have) a crucial bearing on everything happening in and around Batak swid- dens. As I shall attempt to demonstrate, the 'cycle of nature' (the seasonal changes taking place in the environment and people's cultural means of coping with them) impinges on and is often inseparable from the 'cycle of politics' (the recurrent ways in which the state manifests itself through its laws and programmes)..."
Author/creator: Dario Novellino
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chapter from R. Ellen (ed.) 'Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Modern Crises: Coping Strategies in Island Southeast Asia'.
Format/size: pdf (386K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.berghahnbooks.com/title.php?rowtag=EllenModern
Date of entry/update: 05 February 2015


Title: Debating Shifting Cultivation in the Eastern Himalayas - Farmers’ Innovations as Lessons for Policy
Date of publication: June 2006
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "In the eastern Himalayas, shifting cultivation is the most prominent farming system, providing a way of life for a large number of ethnic minorities and other poor and marginalised upland communities. The policy approach to deal with shifting cultivation is common across Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Myanmar, the countries in this study, and aims to replace it with permanent forms of land use. The current problems related to shifting cultivation, however, are found to be often as much a result of counterproductive policies as of inappropriate land use practices. Therefore, there is a need across the region for new, more effective and socially more acceptable policy options that help to improve shifting cultivation, rather than replace it. The research presented here identifies farmers’ traditional practices and more recent indigenous innovations that contribute to the benefits this farming system has to offer. These benefits accrue both to the practitioners and to other stakeholders, including national governments. Shifting cultivation, and the farmers’ innovations in particular, were found to contribute to forest cover and biodiversity conservation, while at the same time maintaining agricultural and forest productivity. Commercial niche products and organic farming contribute to economic development that is adjusted to mountain circumstances and builds on existing potential. The local institutions developed by shifting cultivation communities were found to be relatively strong, and they enhance social security and cultural integrity. Development approaches that build on these existing potentials and capacity are likely to be more achievable and acceptable to the farmers concerned. Realising this potential, and the need for policy change across region, the participants of the ‘Shifting Cultivation Regional Policy Dialogue Workshop for the eastern Himalayas’, held in October 2004 in Shillong, India, adopted the Shillong Declaration and formulated concrete policy recommendations based on the research findings of this initiative. The participants included representatives of government agencies, farmers, international bodies, non-government organisations, academia, science and research institutions, local institutions, international donors and development assistance agencies, the private sector, and other professionals. They recommended policy makers to reexamine the policies in place, to remove explicit policies and policy instruments that discourage shifting cultivation, and to strengthen the implementation of existing beneficial policies. They also recommended that they address issues of land tenure security, research, and extension and their impact on traditional shifting cultivation practices; market development and commercialisation of niche products of shifting cultivation; strengthening and capacity building of customary institutions; credit policies in situations where common property regimes apply; and coordination among the different government agencies that have responsibilities for aspects of shifting cultivation.".....Includes the text of The Shillong Declaration on Shifting Cultivation in the Eastern Himalayas.
Author/creator: Elisabeth Kerkhoff and Eklabya Sharma
Language: English
Source/publisher: ICIMOD & IFAD
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB-reduced version; 1.56MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.eldis.org/go/home&id=33357&type=Document#.VeqoyH1sHMA
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: Disentangling Tagbanua Lifeways, Swidden and Conservation on Palawan Island
Date of publication: 2005
Description/subject: Abstract: "Over this past century the Philippine state has sustained a campaign to criminalize swidden cultivation among small- scale farmers in the uplands of Palawan Island. This paper focuses on how such state conservation agendas unfolded to negatively affect swidden cultivation among the Tagbanua people who occupy upland forests flanking Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. Ethnographic methods were used to examine a specific case where the traditional linkages between swidden cultivation and honey collection— the basis of Tagbanua livelihoods and cultural beliefs—were devalued as coercive conservation proliferated at the nation- al park. Park managers upheld the state’s conservation dis- course that swidden disrupted “equilibrium” between liveli- hoods and forest ecology and, upon enforcing such views, ne- glected the local embeddedness of swidden cultivation. The conclusion asserts that park management can be enhanced on both moral and practical grounds by building on the in- terrelated ecological and cultural value of swidden cultiva- tion"... Keywords: coercive conservation, swidden, honey bees, Tagbanua, Palawan
Author/creator: Wolfram Dressler
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Human Ecology Review", Vol. 12, No. 1, 2005
Format/size: pdf (73K-reduced version; 88K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.humanecologyreview.org/pastissues/her121/dressler.pdf
Date of entry/update: 25 January 2015


Title: Shifting cultivation and indigenous peoples in Asia
Date of publication: 2005
Description/subject: "...Decades of research on virtually every aspect of shifting cultivation have generated sufficient evidence to prove that its sweeping condemnation by government bureaucrats, politicians or professionals is based on insufficient and erroneous information, or quite simply myth (see Pinkaew Laungaramsri's article). As the articles in this issue show, in spite of all the evidence produced over the decades, little has changed. Deep-rooted prejudices continue to prevail and, with them, the discriminatory policies and programs that have enormously negative consequences for indigenous peoples. Sometimes the policies are subtle, such as the promotion of "modern" farming methods. Their impact can nevertheless be profound, as Kyrham Nongkynrih's article shows. In the Northeast-Indian state of Meghalaya, government-sponsored cash cropping is leading to increasing privatization of communal land and concomitant changes in social relations within communities. In other cases, state policies are much less subtle and do not shy away from committing even severe human rights violations in pursuit of the goals of "modernization" and "national integration". The eradication of shifting cultivation is often seen as part of this process. As the article by Mi Dze on Laos shows, the eradication of shifting cultivation is given as one of the reasons for relocating over 200,000 people from their mountain villages to the lowlands. This happens despite studies that have clearly demonstrated that forced relocations have in this country led to increased poverty, malnutrition, a general deterioration in health and a higher mortality rate among the villagers affected..."
Author/creator: Christian Erni, Pinkaew Laungaramsri, Elisabeth Kerkhoff, Janet C. Sturgeon, Mi Dze,
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Indigenous Affairs" 2/2005 - Workgroup on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
Format/size: pdf (2.3MB-reduced version; 5MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.iwgia.org/iwgia_files_publications_files/IA_2-05.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: The Shillong Declaration on Shifting Cultivation in the Eastern Himalayas
Date of publication: 08 October 2004
Description/subject: "...The regional, national, and local policies for Shifting Cultivation need to be reappraised and, where necessary, reformulated. For this purpose, the detailed recommendations of the ‘Shifting Cultivation Regional Policy Dialogue Workshop for the Eastern Himalayas’, 6-8 October 2004, Shillong can provide input. WHERE ALL POLICIES AND ACTIONS SHOULD BE FOUNDED ON THE FOLLOWING GUIDING PRINCIPLES To support decentralised, participatory, multi-stakeholder, interdisciplinary, ecoregional, and adaptive management approaches that respect human and cultural diversity, gender equity, livelihood security, and enhancement as well as environmental sustainability, where we value and build upon both traditional and scientific information and knowledge."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Shifting Cultivation Regional Policy Dialogue Workshop for the eastern Himalayas
Format/size: pdf (76K)
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015


Title: Understanding a dynamic landscape: land use, land cover and resource tenure in Northeastern Cambodia
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: Abstract: "This paper seeks to describe changes in land cover, land use practices, and tenure systems in several villages in northeast Cambodia over the last 50 years. The project integrated the development of a spatial database (based on 1953 and 1996 aerial photographs and 1:50,000 base maps) with socioeconomic information collected for a development project, and an analysis of relevant socioeconomic policies. Over the last half-century, land use and total tree cover have remained stable, but fragmentation of the tree cover has increased extensively. Land use has begun to change recently as both Cambodian and foreign investors invest in industrial agricultural crops such as palm oil, rubber, cassava, and kapok. In the past, farmers had a clear sense of village lands, but specific boundaries between villages were not traditionally required. This study suggests that national land tenure policies are making it increasingly difficult for farmers to maintain their traditional swidden land use practices. Simultaneously, market pressures -- the commercialization of subsistence resources and the substitution of commercial crops for subsistence crops -- are encouraging farmers to engage in new and different forms of commercial agriculture. Combined, these forces will eventually cause a major change in land use practices from swidden agriculture to commercial crops, and a change in land cover from secondary vegetation to monocultural agriculture. These changes have significant implications for biodiversity, watershed hydrology, and carbon sequestration, as well as the lives and livelihoods of local people".....Keywords: participatory assessment, swidden agriculture, land use transitions, aerial photography
Author/creator: Jefferson Fox
Language: English
Source/publisher: S. Walsh and K. Crews-Meyer (eds.) "Linking People, Place, and Policy: A GIScience Approach". Boston, Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Format/size: pdf (212K)
Date of entry/update: 29 January 2015


Title: Swidden farming and secondary forests in the highlands of mainland Southeast Asia
Date of publication: 2001
Description/subject: "Most secondary forests in the mountainous parts of mainland Southeast Asia owe their origin to swidden farming. Secondary forests are defined here as “forests regenerating largely through natural processes after significant human disturbance of the original forest vegetation at a single point in time or over an extended period, and displaying a major difference in forest structure and/or canopy species composition with respect to nearby primary forests on similar sites” (Chokkalingam et al. 2000). Swidden farming, practised by minority groups referred to as hill tribes or hill people, was the dominant form of land use in mainland Southeast Asia until the 1960s. This is still the case in most of this region except maybe in northern Thailand. Occupants of the lowlands only recently began to encroach into the highlands to practice supplementary swidden cultivation, using short cultivation and fallow periods that result in a severely degraded version of secondary growth dominated by thorny species. Swidden farming as practised by upland minorities is of two types. Rotational swidden farming applies short cultivation and long fallow periods, during which swidden fallow secondary forests establish rapidly over the course of several successional stages. Swidden fallow secondary forests are defined here as “forests regenerating largely through natural processes in woody fallows of swidden agriculture for the purposes of restoring the land for cultivation again” (Chokkalingam et al. 2000). Pioneer swidden farming has longer cultivation periods and an irregular fallow length, which is dominated by weeds and grasses for a long time before secondary forests regenerate. In some regions, these two types of swidden farming can be correlated to specific ethnic groups and altitudinal zones. Rotational swiddening is mainly practised at intermediate elevations between 600 and 1000 m by ethnic groups that are long-time residents in comparison to more recent immigrants, who practise pioneer swiddening at altitudes above 1000 m..."
Author/creator: D. Schmidt-Vogt
Language: English
Source/publisher: ournal of Tropical Forest Science 13(4): 748-767 (2001)
Format/size: pdf (409K-reduced version; 1.62MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.cifor.org/publications/pdf_files/articles/ASchmidt-Vogt0101.pdf
Date of entry/update: 04 January 2015


Title: How Blaming ‘Slash and Burn’ Farmers is Deforesting Mainland Southeast Asia
Date of publication: December 2000
Description/subject: Summary: "For decades, international lenders, agencies, and foundations as well as national and local governments have spent millions of dollars trying to “modernize” the traditional practices of farmers in many mountainous areas of Southeast Asia—an agenda driven by the belief that their age-old shifting cultivation practices (known pejoratively as “slash and burn”) are deforesting Asia. But a new look at how forests fare under shifting cultivation (as opposed to under permanent agriculture) clearly demonstrates that efforts to eliminate the ancient practice have actually contributed to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and reduction in carbon storage.1 In fact, shifting cultivation, rather than being the hobgoblin of tropical forest conservation, may be ecologically appropriate, culturally suitable, and under certain circumstances the best means for preserving biodiversity in the region. The real threat to these tropical forests is posed by the steady advance of large-scale permanent and commercial agriculture."
Author/creator: Jefferson M. Fox
Language: English
Source/publisher: East-West Centre
Format/size: pdf (254K)
Date of entry/update: 10 December 2014


Title: Shifting Cultivation: A New Old Paradigm for Managing Tropical Forests
Date of publication: June 2000
Description/subject: "...Failure to see the benefits as well as the costs of secondary vegetation and the swidden agricultural system has led to government policies for settling swidden farmers—many of which have been failures. A more efficient, as well as humane, policy would be to invest in research on methods of maintaining the biodiversity associated with swidden fallows while increasing their productivity and soil-sustaining properties. Failure to understand secondary successional vegetation has also meant that resource managers have often failed to recognize the implications, both positive and negative, of swidden agriculture on biodiversity, watershed hydrology, and carbon sequestration (Skole et al. 1998). Finally, models of global climatic change have been based on an extreme scenario of forest conversion to degraded pasture or impoverished grassland (Giambelluca 1996). Failure to account for the effects of landscape heterogeneity may mean that significant effects of land-cover change are not being recognized. Swidden cultivation is an old paradigm built around the temporary removal of trees but not of the forest. As we enter the new millennium, we would do well to recognize the power of this paradigm for managing tropical forest ecosystems..."
Author/creator: Jefferson Fox, Dao Minh Truong, A. Terry Rambo, Nghiem Phuong Tuyen, Le Trong Cuc and Stephen Leis
Language: English
Source/publisher: "BioScience" Volume 50, Issue 6, Pp. 521-528
Format/size: html, pdf (2.62MB)
Alternate URLs: http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/50/6/521.full.pdf
Date of entry/update: 22 January 2015


Title: Improving shifting cultivation in Southeast Asia by building on indigenous fallow management strategies
Date of publication: 1999
Description/subject: Abstract: "Shifting cultivation continues as the economic mainstay of upland communities in many countries in Southeast Asia. However, the conditions that historically underpinned the sustainability of rotations with long fallows have largely vanished. The imperative to evolve more permanent forms of land use has been exacerbated by rapid population growth, gazette- ment of remnant wildlands into protected areas, and state policies to sedentarize agriculture and discourage the use of fallows and fire. There are many compelling examples where shifting cultivators have successfully managed local resources to solve local problems. Technical approaches to stabilizing and improving productivity of shifting cultivation systems have not been notably successful. Farmer rejection of researcher-driven solutions has led to greater recog- nition of farmer constraints. This experience underlined the need for participatory, on-farm research approaches to identify solutions. The challenge is to document and evaluate indige- nous strategies for intensification of shifting cultivation through a process of research and devel- opment. This process involves identification of promising indigenous practices, characterization of the practices, validation of the utility of the practice for other communities, extrapolation to other locations, verification with key farmers, and wide-scale extension.".....Key words: farming systems, indigenous knowledge, intensification, slash-and-burn, swidden, uplands.
Author/creator: M. CAIRNS and D. P. GARRITY*
Language: English
Source/publisher: Agroforestry Systems 47 : 37–48, 1999
Format/size: pdf (136K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.worldagroforestry.org/sea/Publications/files/journal/JA0131-04.pdf
Date of entry/update: 10 July 2016


Title: The Diversity and Dynamics of Shifting Cultivation: Myths, Realities, and Policy Implications
Date of publication: September 1997
Description/subject: "...This publication highlights the multifaceted, dynamic characterstics of shifting cultivation and identifies socioeconomic and policy factors that affect shifting cultivators. It challenges prevailing misconceptions by highlighting the diversity, myths, and realities of shifting cultivation.The concluding section summarizes reasons for supporting agroecological principles and livelihood security and avoiding historical mistakes. It also draws on insights based on field research and makes recommendations for policy change as well as other opportunities for supporting sustainable and equitable land use, including participatory community-based approaches for integrating local knowledge in research and development..."
Author/creator: Lori Ann Thrupp, Susanna Hecht and John Browder
Language: English
Source/publisher: WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE
Format/size: pdf (3MB)
Alternate URLs: http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/pnacd174.pdf
Date of entry/update: 01 February 2016


Title: The Diversity and Dynamics of Shifting Cultivation: Myths, Realities, and Policy Implications
Date of publication: 1997
Description/subject: Introduction: "Shifting cultivation is the most complex and multifaceted form of agriculture in the world. Its highly diverse land use systems have been evolving since as early as 10,000 BC in a wide range of distinct socioeconomic and ecological conditions, from montane to lowland ecosystems, and from tropical forests to grasslands (Spencer, 1966). Shifting cultivation encompasses cropping systems such as horticulture and annual cropping, perennial tree crops, animal husbandry, and management of forests and fallows in sequential or rotational cycles; it is currently practiced in a wide variety of forms by 500 million to one billion people around the world. Shifting cultivation has been a subject of debate and intervention since the colonial era, and it has often been subject to public misconceptions and stereotyping. Many in the environment and development community have criticized shifting cultivation as a primitive, backwards, destructive, or wasteful form of agriculture, and as a mere precursor to what are perceived to be more modem, sustainable and sedentary forms of agriculture. Contemporary critics and the media often call it "slash and bum" agriculture—a pejorative term that perpetuates misperceptions about shifting cultivators. This publication highlights the multifaceted, dynamic characteristics of shifting cultivation and identifies socioeconomic and policy factors that affect shifting cultivators. It challenges prevailing misconceptions by highlighting the diversity, myths, and realities of shifting cultivation. The concluding section summarizes reasons for supporting agroecological principles and livelihood security and avoiding historical mistakes. It also draws on insights based on field research and makes recommendations for policy change as well as other opportunities for supporting sustainable and equitable land use, including participatory community-based approaches for integrating local knowledge in research and development."
Author/creator: Lori Ann Thrupp , Susanna Hecht an d John Browder with Owen J . Lynch , Nabiha Megateli and William O'Brien
Language: English
Source/publisher: World Resources Institute
Format/size: pdf (1.8MB-reduced version; 6.7MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://pdf.wri.org/diversitydynamicscultivation_bw.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2015