The Intensification of Shifting Cultivation in Tanzania: Effects on Soil and Vegetation

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This study investigated the effect of intensification of shifting cultivation on the recovery of soil properties and vegetation in East Central, Tanzania. The study is based on soil sampling conducted in 40 (5 m × 5 m) plots from adjacent sites under fallows of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 years, a secondary forest that has never been cultivated, and a field under a ridge and flat continuous cultivation - an innovative farming practices adopted in continuous annual cropping. Vegetation sampling was conducted in sites under fallows and the secondary forest. Intensification of shifting cultivation through shortening of fallow length deteriorates soil quality due to a decline in total N, plant-available P, and exchangeable K. Furthermore, shortening of fallow length negatively affects the recovery of plant species composition and diversity. The dominant plant species in young fallows (1 -4-years) was different from older fallows (5-and 7-years) and the secondary forest. Young fallows harbored more diverse vegetation but mostly shrubs (multiple stems, ≤5 m tall) while older fallows and secondary forest were less diverse but dominated by trees (single stem, > 10 m tall). Soils under the ridge and flat continuous cultivation had significantly higher plant-available P than in soils under fallow or secondary forest. Moreover, the soil under the ridge and flat cultivation contained levels of soil pH, plant-available P, exchangeable K, and Ca that have been described as sufficient for crop production.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgriculture, Environment and Sustainable Development : Experiences and Case Studies
EditorsRukhsana, Asraful Alam
Number of pages22
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-10405-3, 978-3-031-10408-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-10406-0
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 321280479