What are the characteristics of shifting cultivation?

By Ritesh|Updated : September 7th, 2022

Shifting cultivation is a primitive form of land use, usually found in the tropical rainforests and scrublands of central Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia.

  • Farmers in this farming system grow food only for their families
  • Some small surpluses are bartered or bartered (commodity-for-commodity exchange) or sold for cash in neighboring markets

Characteristics of Shifting Cultivation

The migratory population is thus self-sufficient with a high degree of economic independence, and the resulting economy is almost static with little chance of rapid improvement.

The characteristics of shifting cultivation are as follows:

  • Field rotation
  • Fire is used to cleanse the earth.
  • The land is left fallow for several years to allow regeneration.
  • The seeds are sown in the ashes after the first monsoon rains, usually harvested from September to October.
  • Human labor as the primary input
  • Draft animals are not used.

Sorting Cultivation:

  • Sorting requires clearing the jungle.
  • However, cutting down trees and clearing bushes accelerates soil erosion and accentuates rainfall variability, leading to drought or flooding.

Problems and Prospects:

  • The overall impact is decreased soil fertility.
  • Ecosystems are losing their resilience characteristics.
  • A population dependent on cultivation faces food shortages, fuelwood, and fodder.
  • As a result, the nutritional standard decreases.

Summary:

What are the characteristics of shifting cultivation?

Field rotation rather than crop rotation, the absence of fertilization and draught animals, the employment of only human labor, the use of a stick or hoe, and short rotation periods with lengthy fallow periods have been defined as the major characteristics of shifting farming.

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