Main features of Shifting Cultivation

Main features of Shifting Cultivation
• The following characteristics could be describe/explained
• Clearings made in the rainforest by cutting and firing trees (slash
and Burn)
• Largest trees often left because they are difficult to move and can
provide a source of food in the form of fruit.
• Ash is scattered after trees have been burned to fertilise the ground.
• Little fertiliser is added apart from the ash, so the nutrient levels drop
quickly leading to the cultivators abandoning the plot and finding a
new one after 7-10 years.
• Labour intensive little use of machines (some have chain saws).
Crops tend to be planted using digging sticks.
• Crops planting between remaining tree trunks which decompose
slowly adding extra nutrients into the soil.
• When the clearing is abandoned it is left for many years, allowing
the vegetation to recolonise.
• With a low population density this form of agriculture is sustainable.

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