Farewell shifting cultivation, hello monoculture

New rubber plantation in Mae Chaem, Thailand. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson

New rubber plantation in Mae Chaem, Thailand. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson

Shifting cultivation is on the way out as farmers in Southeast Asia turn to monocultures, says Amy C. Cruz

‘Change is constant.’ This we can be sure of. Anything (and anyone) in this world will change over the span of its existence. People grow up from babies to adults. Trees develop from seeds and seedlings. It is the same with land use and land cover.

Dietrich Schmidt-Vogt, a senior scientist with the World Agroforestry Centre, reinforced this general truth at the Forests Asia Summit 2014, saying that before the use of land changed to more sedentary styles, shifting cultivation was the dominant land use in the Greater Mekong region, for example.

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