Shifting cultivation and environmental change

Date released
01 January 1970
Publication Code

Malcolm F. Cairns (ed.)



Shifting cultivation is one of the oldest forms of subsistence agriculture and is still practised by millions of poor people in the tropics. Typically it involves clearing land (often forest) for the growing of crops for a few years, and then moving on to new sites, leaving the earlier ground fallow to regain its soil fertility. Some critics have tended to disparage shifting cultivation as unsustainable, however, the book shows that such indigenous practices can be highly adaptive to land and ecology.

The book focuses on successful agricultural strategies of upland farmers, particularly in South and South-East Asia, and presents over 50 contributions by scholars from around the world.

The full book can be accessed from:

Climate change adaptation