Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing

, Volume 46, Issue 10, pp 1713–1723 | Cite as

A Geospatial Approach to Understand the Dynamics of Shifting Cultivation in Champhai District of Mizoram, North-East India

  • Pentile Thong
  • Rocky Pebam
  • Uttam Kumar Sahoo
Research Article


The dynamics of crop-fallow rotation cycles of shifting cultivation has been poorly understood in northeastern part of the country although it is one of the major land use systems in the hilly states of this region. The present study was conducted to understand the dynamics of shifting cultivation through the use of Landsat time-series data from 1999 to 2016 in Champhai district of Mizoram. We mapped the current jhum fields and abandoned areas of each imagery of the study period and performed a post classification comparison to assess the crop-fallow rotation cycle/jhum cycle. The chrono-sequential change of slash and burn area over the past 17 years showed a decreasing trend with the greater part of the shifting cultivation area being occupied by 2nd year crop fields, covering 48.81% of total jhum land. On average, 114.46 km2 area were annually slashed for current jhum, out of which 33.41% continued with current jhum 2nd year cropping and only 3.27% of jhumias continued with 3rd year cropping. The shifting cultivation patches were mostly confined to moderately steep slopes (15°–30°). East facing aspect was mostly preferred and North facing aspect was least preferred. During the study period, 10 years jhum cycle covered the maximum area followed by 9 years and 11 years jhum cycle. The end result of this study proved that the prevalent jhum cycle in Champhai district is 8–11 years with a fallow period of 6–9 years.


Shifting cultivation Remote sensing and GIS Time-series data Jhum cycle 



The first author (Pentile Thong) gratefully acknowledges the financial support from Department of Science & Technology, New Delhi in the form of INSPIRE Fellowship (Grant No. DST/INSPIRE Fellowship/2015/IF 150621 dated 19/10/2015). We are also thankful to the Director, North Eastern Space Applications Centre, Meghalaya for providing laboratory facilities to carry out this work.


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Copyright information

© Indian Society of Remote Sensing 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pentile Thong
    • 1
  • Rocky Pebam
    • 2
  • Uttam Kumar Sahoo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forestry, School of Earth Sciences and Natural Resource ManagementMizoram UniversityAizawlIndia
  2. 2.North Eastern Space Applications CentreShillongIndia

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