Q. 115.0( 4 Votes )

What is shifting cultivation? Why did the European foresters regard this practice as harmful to the forests?

Answer :

Shifting cultivation is a process of cutting forests and burnt them in the rotation. In these ashes only, the seeds were sown, and by October-November the crop is harvested. For continuously few years the land was used than for 12 to 18 years it was left fallow for the forests to grow back. Multiple crops were grown. This cultivation is also known as Swidden agriculture. In Asia, Africa and South America, this is traditional agricultural practice. It also has local names like chena in Sri Lanka; jhum, podu in India, etc.

The European foresters regard this practice as harmful for the forests because –


• The land on which the shifting cultivation was done could not be used again for growing trees for railway timber.


• As in the shifting cultivation, the forest was burnt, there was a risk of flames spreading and burning the valuable timber.


• It became difficult for the government to calculate taxes in shifting cultivation.


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