Table of Contents
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
|Congo (Zaire river Valley)
|Equatorial African Countries
|Yucatan and Guatemala
|Mexico and Central America
|Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
|Java and Indonesia
|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
|Vevar and Dahiyaar
|Bundelkhand Region (Madhya Pradesh)
|Bastar District (Madhya Pradesh)
|Zara and Erka
|Hilly Region of the Western Ghats of Kerala
|Kaman, Vinga and Dhavi
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