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Does Shifting Cultivation Really Cause Deforestation? Lesson from Communal Forest Area in Sumatra, Indonesia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Arifin, Bustanul
Conference: Crossing Boundaries, the Seventh Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Conf. Date: June 10-14
Date: 1998
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1729
Sector: Agriculture
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
forest management
shifting cultivation
indigenous institutions
Abstract: "Studies of shifting cultivation in relation to forest-pioneer continuum and to loss of forest cover in developing countries are not well documented. This paper analyzes the system of shifting cultivation practices in communal forest area in Jambi Province of Sumatra, Indonesia. It emphasizes on the economic adjustment process of how shifting cultivators might adopt bush-fallow rotation system as a means to naturally improve agricultural productivity or apply more permanent and intensive land-use systems as a response to increasing real wages and growing market economy in rural area. The standard method of land-rent-capture is used to explain the economic rationale behind shifting cultivation practices. "The results suggest that shifting cultivation actually differs from a simple forest clearing which normally involves slash-and-burn, logging and other related timber-production activities. Shifting cultivation could be considered as an early state in the evolution of agricultural systems. Provision of modern agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides; quality rural infrastructure, and non-farm employment generation in rural areas are necessary condition for economically sound policy strategies in the future. In addition, agroforestry systems involving high- yielding variety of rubber and upland rice and management of forest lands by local communities can also be more effective means of sustainable forest-resource management."

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