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Shifting Cultivation, Jhum Cultivation, Advantages, Disadvantages

Shifting Cultivation

Shifting cultivation or shifting farming is a method of agriculture in which primitive people of the tropical forest shift their plots of agricultural land from one part to another by clearing the forest through fire. It is sometimes called migratory primitive agriculture.

Read More: Intensive Farming

List of Shifting Cultivation Local Names around World

Here is the List of Shifting Cultivation Local Names around the World given below in the table:

Name of Shifting Cultivation Location/Country
Ray Vietnam
Tavi Madagascar
Masole Congo (Zaire river Valley)
Fang Equatorial African Countries
Logan Western Africa
Comile Mexico
Milpa Yucatan and Guatemala
Echalin Guadeloupe
Milya Mexico and Central America
Konuko Venezuela
Roka Brazil
Chetemini Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Caingin Philippines
Taungya Myanmar
Chena Sri Lanka
Ladang Java and Indonesia
Tamrai Thailand
Humah Java and Indonesia

Read More: Sedentary Farming

List of Shifting Cultivation Local Names in India

Here is the List of Shifting Cultivation Local Names in India given below in the table:

Name of Shifting Cultivation Location/State
Jhum North-eastern India
Vevar and Dahiyaar Bundelkhand Region (Madhya Pradesh)
Deepa Bastar District (Madhya Pradesh)
Zara and Erka Southern States
Batra South-eastern Rajasthan
Podu Andhra Pradesh
Kumari Hilly Region of the Western Ghats of Kerala
Kaman, Vinga and Dhavi Odisha

Shifting Cultivation Nature and Methods

In shifting cultivation, a forest area is burned and cleared for planting; the ash provides some manure. The virgin soil offers abundant yield. After several years of cultivation, fertility reduces, and weeds increase. The area is then left fallow, and it reverts to secondary forest, bushes, and trees. The length of time that a plot is cultivated is usually shorter than the period over which the land is allowed to regenerate by lying fallow. Cultivation then shifts to a new plot of forested land. After about a decade, the old site may be reused for cultivation. This method of cultivation is also known as Slash and burn agriculture.

Cultivation of soil after clearing is usually accompanied by a hoe or digging stick and not by the plough. Much manual labour is used in land clearance and the resultant produce suffices for few people. It is a form of subsistence farming.

Read More: Extensive Farming

Shifting Cultivation Examples of Crops Grown

Generally, root crops are grown. People grow crops like tapioca, cassava or manioc, yams, corn or maize, millet, upland rice, beans and bananas. These crops are mainly starchy food.

Read More: Natural Gas

Shifting Cultivation Areas of Practice

This method of agriculture is widely practised by many tribals of the tropics, particularly in Mexico and Central Africa, in tropical South and Central America, and in South-East Asia. Shifting cultivation is practised in the tropics by many different peoples. They are known by different names e.g., milpa in Mexico and Central America, Taungya in Myanmar, Humah in Indonesia, Tamrai in Thailand, Conoco in Venezuela, Jhum in Bangladesh, Chena in Sri Lanka, Ladang in Malaysia, Keinzin in the Philippines, Rosa in Brazil, Fang in South Africa, Masshole in Zaire and so on. In India, shifting cultivation is known as jhum cultivation and is found in small patches in some parts of the northeast hilly regions, parts of the Western Ghats, and some parts of Central India. The shifting cultivation is called Poruh in Madhya Pradesh and Bewar in the Western Himalayas.

Read More: Coastal Landforms

Shifting Cultivation Characteristics

Shifting cultivation is characterized by the following features:

  • Once the forest has been burned, no further preparation of the soil is made before planting the crop.
  • The selection of plot for the ladang (clearing of the forested part) is generally selected by the experienced elders.
  • Hill slopes are preferred because of better drainage.
  • Farming methods and implements are crude. Cultivation is generally done with primitive tools, such as sticks, hoes, etc., without the aid of machines and the help of even animal power. Only manual labour is employed in clearing the forest and producing crops.
  • Starchy food crops are grown, such as manioc, cassava, yams, tapioca, maize, millet, beans, and upland rice.
  • The cultivated lands are very small, say about 0.5-1 hectare. ,
  • Shifting cultivation is, in fact, the migratory agriculture of the aboriginal tribes of the tropical rainforest. From the world’s economic point of view, shifting cultivation is of little importance, but it provides the livelihood for three-fourths or more of the people of the tropical rain forests.

Read More: Equatorial Climate Region

Shifting Cultivation Advantages

Providing a simple and quick manner of preparing the region for agriculture is the finest position for changing the cultivation of land on the sides of hills. The bush and weeds that are the waste products of the field can be readily removed, burned, and used to produce valuable items for farming. The crops in this shifting cultivation grow quickly and occasionally only one crop will be ready for harvest. There is no threat or worry about the water or the animals that eat the crops during this change in farming. There are mountain streams on the slopes that simply and regularly supply water to the crops at a suitable pace.

Read about: Fluvial Landforms

Shifting Cultivation Disadvantages

Cutting down trees and other vegetation that prevents soil erosion and benefits the environment is shifting cultivation’s biggest drawback. This can cause significant soil erosion, which in turn causes rivers in low-lying plains, like the Brahmaputra and Barak, to overflow during periods of severe precipitation. 22 per cent of the fertile soil that is on top of the soil is lost when agriculture is changed. This causes a significant issue for people’s economic situation. There is temporary land in the movable agriculture in this.

Read about: Glacial Landforms

Shifting Cultivation in Nagaland

Nagaland is an area in India where shifting cultivation has long been practised. Nagaland is a hilly state located in the northeastern part of India. It is home to the Naga tribes. They belong to the Indo-Mongoloid group of people. They live in the contiguous areas of the North-Eastern Hills of India. The major recognized tribes of Nagaland are Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Kuki, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, and Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchungru and Zeliang.

The state of Nagaland is primarily mountainous and forested except for those areas bordering Assam valley. About 70 per cent of the population depends on agriculture. The major land use pattern is Slash and burn cultivation, locally known as jhum. However, this cultivation has been followed by sedentary or permanent cultivation by offering governmental aid and agricultural management in recent years.

Read about: Aeolian Landforms

Other Indian Geography Topics

Seasons of India Mountains of India
Mangrove Forests in India Important Mountain Passes in India
Monsoon in India
Indus River System
Climate of India
Rivers of India
Tributaries of Ganga
National Parks in India
Important Dams in India
Wildlife Sanctuaries of India
Tiger Reserves in India
Northern Plains of India
Physiography of India
Important Lakes of India
Wetlands in India
Biodiversity in India
Natural Vegetation in India Earthquakes in India
Types of Soil in India
Ramsar Sites in India
Brahmaputra River System
Hydropower Plants in India
Nuclear Power Plants in India
Major Ports in India
Biosphere Reserves in India
Waterfalls in India

Other Fundamental Geography Topics

Solar System Types of Clouds
Structure of the Atmosphere Himalayan Ranges
Component of Environment
El Nino and La Nina
Coral Reef
Continental Drift Theory
Endogenic and Exogenic Forces
Indian Ocean Region
Pacific Ocean
Indian Ocean Dipole
Air Pollution
Environmental Impact Assessment
Tropical Cyclone
Western Disturbances
Types of Rocks

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What do you mean by shifting farming?

According to FAO (1982), shifting cultivation is "an agricultural system in which relatively brief periods of cultivation are followed by lengthy periods of fallow."

What is a shifting agriculture example?

Moving from one region to another after farming a piece of land for two to three years is an example of shifting cultivation. As a result, the farming region can recover. A case of arable, subsistence, and extensive farming is shifting agriculture. In rainforest regions, it is still practised as a sort of agriculture.

What is shifting farming?

Shifting cultivation is a farming technique where a plot of land is momentarily cultivated and then left unattended to allow vegetation to develop naturally while the cultivator shifts to another plot.

Why is shifting farming so-called?

Shifting cultivation, sometimes referred to as swidden agriculture, is a method of cyclical farming in which land is cleared for cultivation (typically by fire) and then allowed to regrow after a few years.

What is shifting agriculture called in India?

Jhum, or shifting cultivation, is a term used in India. Shifting cultivation is a farming technique in which a plot of land is first used for farming, then later abandoned.


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