Shifting cultivation and deforestation in tropical Africa: critical reflections

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Shifting cultivation is the agricultural technique employed by the majority of farmers in the tropical regions of Africa. The dominant narrative recited by policy experts, non-governmental organizations and many scientists is that this practice is a principal cause of deforestation in tropical Africa. This article unpacks the various elements of this narrative and explores whether there is any evidence to substantiate it in West and Central Africa. The results challenge the conventional wisdom that shifting cultivation is leading to accelerating deforestation in tropical Africa.

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