shifting_cultivation – University of Copenhagen

Shifting cultivation systems at agriculture/forest frontiers

Shifting cultivation used to be the backbone of smallholder agriculture throughout the tropics, but today it is abandoned in many places in favor of large scale cash crop production – e.g. for biofuels, cash crops. The extent of these changes is not well documented because shifting cultivation land rarely appears on official maps and census data seldom identifies shifting cultivators. Moreover, the consequences of these changes for livelihoods (e.g. food security) are not well known. The aim of this project is to analyze the extent and consequences of change in shifting cultivation by combining meta-analyses of existing studies and census data with case studies in selected areas. This interdisciplinary project focuses on: 1) Trends in change in shifting cultivation landscapes and demography and 2) Changes in livelihoods due to these changes. The project will compile data for eight countries (Mexico, Brazil, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Zambia and Tanzania) and the outcome is expected to be relevant to planning and policy-making on land and forest management.

The project is funded by the Danish Social Science Research Council, 2009-2012.