Shifting Cultivation In India

Shifting Cultivation In India

Shifting cultivation is an agricultural system in which a person uses a piece of land, only to abandon or alter the initial use a short time later. This system often involves clearing of a piece of land followed by several years of wood harvesting or farming until the soil loses fertility.This system often involves clearing of a piece of land followed by several years of wood harvesting or farming until the soil loses fertility.

Shifting Cultivation

Once the land becomes inadequate for crop production, it is left to be reclaimed by natural vegetation, or sometimes converted to a different long term cyclical farming practice.This system of agriculture is often practised at the level of an individual or family, but sometimes may involve an entire village. An estimated population exceeding 250 million people derive subsistence from the practice of shifting cultivation, and ecological consequences are often deleterious.

In the northeastern region of India, comprising the states of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, shifting cultivation is largely practiced in the hilly areas. The usual process demands the selection of a plot on or near the hill side or jungle.

Features Of Shifting Cultivation

  • Rotation of fields
  • Use of fire for clearing the land
  • Keeping the land fallow for regeneration for a number of years
  • Use of human labour as main input
  • Non-employment of draught animals
  • Non-use of the plough, but instead very crude and simple implements such as dibble sticks and scrapers, are used, and
  • All the crops being grown are mixed together.

Stages of Shifting Cultivation 

  1. Selection of the forested hilly land
  2. Clearing the forest tract by cutting down the jungle
  3. Burning the dried forest wood into ashes
  4. Worship and sacrifice
  5. Dibbling and sowing seeds
  6. Weeding and protection of crops
  7. Harvesting and threshing
  8. Merry making and feasts
  9. Fallowing

Advantages of Shifting Cultivation 

  • It helps used land to get back all lost nutrients and as long as no damage occurs therefore, this form of agriculture is one of the most sustainable methods
  • The land can be easily recycled or regenerated thus; it receives seeds and nutrients from the nearing vegetation or environment
  • Shift farming saves a wide range of resources and provides nutrients because a small area is usually cleared and the burned vegetation offers many nutrients
  • It helps to ensure more productivity and sustainability of agricultureIt is an environmentally friendly mode of farming as it is organic
  • Shift cultivation is a mode or form of weed control
  • It also plays a crucial role in pest control
  • Soil bone diseases is also reduced significantly through shifting mode of farming
  • It also reduces the rate of environmental degradation

Disadvantages Of Shifting Cultivation 

  • It can easily lead to deforestation because when soil fertility is exhausted, farmers move on and clear another small area of the forest
  • Shifting farming can easily cause soil erosion and desertification
  • It destroys water sheds
  • Shift farming is uneconomical
  • It easily leads to loss of biodiversity
  • Water pollution in coastal areas easily occur because of raw sewage and oil residue
  • Shifting mode of farming restricts the intensity of land use

Disadvantage Can Be Managed Through 

  • Quality education to help the farmers understand the consequences of shift cultivation
  • Agro forestry which involves growing crops and trees at the same time thus enabling farmers to shelter canopy of trees hence, preventing soil erosion. crops also benefit from dead organic matter
  • Selective logging can also be practiced
  • Forest reserves by protecting certain areas from cultivation

shifting cultivation is an agricultural system in which plots of land are cultivated temporarily, then abandoned and allowed to revert to their natural vegetation while the cultivator moves on to another plot.

The period of cultivation is usually terminated when the soil shows signs of exhaustion or, more commonly, when the field is overrun by weeds. The length of time that a field is cultivated is usually shorter than the period over which the land is allowed to regenerate by lying fallow.

Shifting cultivation is a form of agriculture which involves clearing of a plot of land by cutting trees and burning them. This method helps to eliminate weeds, insects and other germs affecting the soil.

Shifting cultivation allows for farming in areas with dense vegetation, low soil nutrients content, uncontrollable pests. Meanwhile, in shifting cultivation, trees in the forests are cut. This increases soil infertility and leads to soil erosion.