Ambio

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 602–612 | Cite as

Shifting to settled cultivation: Changing practices among the Adis in Central Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India

Report
  • 220 Downloads

Abstract

In the hilly tropics, although shifting cultivation is a widespread practice, government policies have attempted to replace it with other land uses. However, several factors determine whether farming communities can make the shift. We tried understanding the factors that facilitate or impede the shift to settled cultivation through interviews with the Adi tribe in north-east India. Although settled cultivation was initiated in the 60s, about 90 % of the families still practise shifting cultivation, observing 13 festivals associated with the annual agricultural calendar. Our results indicate that the economic status of a household determined whether a family undertook settled cultivation, while labour availability was important for shifting cultivation. Often, these nuances are ignored in the Government policies. We conclude that future policies should be mindful of cultural and socio-economic factors that affect the community and of the social-ecological resilience of the landscapes and not use a one-size-fits-all strategy.

Keywords

Swidden Wet rice cultivation Upper Siang district Eastern Himalaya 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Adit Jain Foundation, Rufford Small Grants Foundation, Idea Wild and ATREE Small Grants for Research in North-east India for funding a project on shifting cultivation of which this research is a part. We also thank the Arunachal Pradesh Forest Department, Bittem Darang (Divisional Forest Officer), Kopang Takuk (Forest Ranger) for logistical help, Dunge Yalik, Durik Medo, Gekut Medo, Bamut Medo and Army Duggong for assistance with fieldwork, Anirban Datta-Roy for inputs to the research, Dr. Rohan Arthur for his contribution to the research and the manuscript and two anonymous reviewers for useful comments to improve the manuscript.

Supplementary material

13280_2016_765_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (188 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 100 kb)

References

  1. Anonymous. 2004. Abstract of approved work plan formulated under the IWDP watershed development plan, Upper Siang. Prepared by Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. Retrieved 15 January, 2015, from http://watershed.nic.in/.
  2. Anonymous. 2012. All India Report on Agriculture Census. Department of Agriculture & Co-operation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, Retrieved 15 January, 2015, from http://agricoop.nic.in/.
  3. Anonymous. 2014. MoU signed for oil palm cultivation. Official website of Government of Arunachal Pradesh. Retrieved 10 March, 2015, from http://arunachalpradesh.nic.in/csp_ap_portal/mou-oil-palm-cultivation.html.
  4. Bandy, D.E., D.P. Garrity, P.A. Sanchez, et al. 1993. The worldwide problem of slash-and-burn agriculture. Agroforestry Today 5: 2–6.Google Scholar
  5. Bhattacharya, T.K. 1965. Myths of the Shimongs of the Upper Siang. Shillong: North-east Frontier Agency.Google Scholar
  6. Borah, D., and N.R. Goswami. 1973. A comparative study of crop production under shifting and terrace cultivation: A case study in Garo hills, Meghalaya. Ad hoc Study No. 35, Agro-economic Research Centre for North East India, Assam Agricultural University, India.Google Scholar
  7. Borang, A. 1997. Shifting cultivation among the Adi tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. Journal of Human Ecology 6: 145–151.Google Scholar
  8. Cairns, M., and H. Brookfield. 2011. Composite farming systems in an era of change. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 52: 56–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cairns, M., and D.P. Garrity. 1999. Improving shifting cultivation in Southeast Asia by building on indigenous fallow management strategies. Agroforestry Systems 47: 37–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carlson, K.M., L.M. Curran, D. Ratnasari, A.M. Pittman, B.S. Soares-Filho, G.P. Asner, S.N. Trigg, D.A. Gaveau, D. Lawrence, H.O. Rodrigues, et al. 2012. Committed carbon emissions, deforestation, and community land conversion from oil palm plantation expansion in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109: 7559–7564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Census of India. 2011. New Delhi: Registrar General & Census Commissioner of India. Retrieved 1 January, 2013, from http://censusindia.gov.in/.
  12. Colfer, C.J.P. 2008. The longhouse of the tarsier: Changing landscape, gender, and well being in Borneo. Maine: Borneo Research Council Inc.Google Scholar
  13. Colfer, C.J.P., D. Catacutan, F. Naz, et al. 2015. Introduction: Contributions and gaps in gender and agroforestry. International Forestry Review 17: 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Conklin, H.C. 1961. The study of shifting cultivation. Current Anthropology 2: 27–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cramb, R.A., C.J.P. Colfer, W. Dressler, P. Laungaramsri, Q.T. Le, E. Mulyoutami, N.L. Peluso, R.L. Wadley, et al. 2009. Swidden transformations and rural livelihoods in Southeast Asia. Human Ecology 37: 323–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Das, G. 1997. Agriculture in Arunachal Pradesh: Trends and problems of objective assessment. In Trends in agrarian structure in the hills of north-east India, ed. M.C. Behera and N.C. Roy, 41–54. New Delhi: Commonwealth Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Dikshit, K.R., and J.K. Dikshit. 2014. North-east India: Land, people and economy. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Divakar, G.D. 1990. Cropping pattern, growth rates and yield stability of different crops under Ri-riad and Kynti and Roytiwari land systems. Paper presented at the National Seminar on Agrarian relations in NE India, NIRD, NE Regional Centre, Guwahati, India.Google Scholar
  19. Dove, M.R. 1985. Swidden agriculture in Indonesia: The subsistence strategies of the Kalimantan Kantu. Berlin: Mouton Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Erni, C. 2015. Shifting cultivation, livelihood and food security: New and old challenges for indigenous peoples in Asia. Bangkok: Food and Agriculture Organization, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact.Google Scholar
  21. Fox, J. 2000. How blaming ‘slash and burn’ farmers is deforesting mainland Southeast Asia. Asia Pacific Issues 47: 1–8.Google Scholar
  22. Fox, J., J.C. Castella, A.D. Ziegler, et al. 2011. Swidden, Rubber and Carbon: Can REDD+ work for people and the environment in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia? CCAFS Working Paper No. 9. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Copenhagen, Denmark. www.ccafs.cgiar.org.
  23. Fox, J., Y. Fujita, D. Ngidang, N. Peluso, L. Potter, N. Sakuntaladewi, J. Sturgeon, D. Thomas, et al. 2009. Policies, political-economy, and swidden in Southeast Asia. Human Ecology 37: 305–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. FSI. 2011. State of Forest Report. Dehradun: Forest Survey of India.Google Scholar
  25. Gadgil, M., and R. Guha. 1992. This fissured land: An ecological history of India. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Harwood, R.R. 1979. Small farm development: Understanding and improving farming systems in the humid tropics. Boulder: Westview Press for International Agricultural Development Service.Google Scholar
  27. Ickowitz, A. 2006. Shifting cultivation and deforestation in tropical Africa: Critical reflections. Development and Change 37: 599–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jamir, A. 2015. Shifting options: A case study of shifting cultivation in Mokokchung district in Nagaland, India. In Shifting cultivation, livelihood and food security: New and old challenges for indigenous people in Asia, ed. C. Erni. Bangkok: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact.Google Scholar
  29. Jha, L.K. 1997. Shifting cultivation. New Delhi: APH Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  30. Kotto-same, J., P.L. Woomer, M. Appolinaire, Z. Louis, et al. 1997. Carbon dynamics in slash-and-bum agriculture and land use alternatives of the humid forest zone in Cameroon. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 809: 245–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lianzela. 1997. Effects of shifting cultivation on the environment: With special reference to Mizoram. International Journal of Social Economics 24: 785–790.Google Scholar
  32. MacDonald, K.I. 1998. Rationality, representation, and the risk mediating characteristics of a Karakoram mountain farming system. Human Ecology 26: 287–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Maithani, B.P. 2005. Shifting cultivation in north-east India: Policy, issues and options. New Delhi: Mittal Publications.Google Scholar
  34. Malik, B. 2003. The problem of shifting cultivation in the Garo Hills of north-east India, 1860–1970. Conservation and Society 1: 287–315.Google Scholar
  35. Mertz, O., C. Padoch, J. Fox, R.A. Cramb, S.J. Leisz, N.T. Lam, T.D. Vien, et al. 2009. Swidden change in Southeast Asia: Understanding causes and consequences. Human Ecology 37: 259–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Murtem, G., G.N. Sinha, J. Dopum, et al. 2008. Jhumias view on shifting cultivation in Arunachal Pradesh. Bulletin of Arunachal Forest Research 24: 35–40.Google Scholar
  37. Nakro, V. 2011. Traditional agricultural practices and sustainable livelihood, a thematic report. Published by Department of Planning and Coordination, Government of Nagaland, Nagaland.Google Scholar
  38. Neog, A.K. 1997. Transforming hill agriculture in tribal areas in north-east India. In Trends in agrarian structure in the hills of north-east India, ed. M.C. Behera and N.C. Roy, 99–108. New Delhi: Commonwealth Publishers.Google Scholar
  39. Nielsen, U., O. Mertz, G.T. Noweg, et al. 2006. The rationality of shifting cultivation system: Labour productivity revisited. Human Ecology 34: 201–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nyori, T. 1993. History and culture of the Adis. New Delhi: Omsons Publications.Google Scholar
  41. Obidzinski, K., R. Andriani, H. Komanidin, A. Andrianto, et al. 2012. Environmental and social impacts of oil palm plantations and their implications for biofuel production in Indonesia. Ecology and Society 17: 25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. O’Brien, W.E. 2002. The nature of shifting cultivation: Stories of harmony, degradation, and redemption. Human Ecology 30: 483–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Padoch, C.C., K. Coffey, O. Mertz, S.J. Leisz, J. Fox, R.L. Wadley, et al. 2007. The demise of swidden in Southeast Asia? Local realities and regional ambiguities. Geografisk Tidsskrift-Danish Journal of Geography 107: 29–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Raj, S. 2010. Traditional knowledge, innovation systems and democracy for sustainable agriculture: A case study on Adi tribes of eastern Himalayas of north-east India. In ISDA 2010, 10 pp. Montpellier: Cirad-Inra-SupAgro.Google Scholar
  45. Ramakrishnan, P.S. 1992. Shifting agriculture and sustainable development: An interdisciplinary study from north-eastern India. MAB Series, vol. 10. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  46. Rambo, A.T. 1996. The composite swiddening agroecosystem of the Tay ethnic minority of the northwestern mountains of Vietnam. In Montane Mainland Southeast Asia in transition, ed. B. Rerkasem, 69–89. Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai University.Google Scholar
  47. Ranjan, R., and V.P. Upadhyay. 1999. Ecological problems due to shifting cultivation. Current Science 77: 1246–1250.Google Scholar
  48. Rasul, G., and G.B. Thapa. 2003. Shifting cultivation in the mountains of South and Southeast Asia: Regional patterns and factors influencing the changes. Land Degradation and Development 14: 495–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rerkasem, K., D. Lawrence, C. Padoch, D. Schmidt-Vogt, A.D. Ziegler, T.B. Bruun, et al. 2009. Consequences of swidden transitions for crop and fallow biodiversity in Southeast Asia. Human Ecology 37: 347–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Richards, P.W. 1952. The tropical rainforest. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Roy, S. 1966. Aspects of Padam Minyong culture. Itanagar: Directorate of Research.Google Scholar
  52. Roy, N.C. 1997. Agricultural productivity in Arunachal Pradesh. In Trends in agrarian structure in the hills of north-east India, ed. M.C. Behera and N.C. Roy, 55–59. New Delhi: Commonwealth Publishers.Google Scholar
  53. Seidenberg, C., O. Mertz, M.B. Kias, et al. 2003. Fallow, labour and livelihood in shifting cultivation: Implications for deforestation in northern Lao PDR. Danish Journal of Geography 103: 71–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sivakumar, M.V.K., and C. Valentin. 1997. Agroecological zones and the assessment of crop production potential. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) 352: 907–916.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Spencer, J.E. 1966. Shifting cultivation in Southeastern Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  56. Swinton, S.M. 2000. More social capital, less erosion: Evidence from Peru’s Altiplano. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Agricultural Economics Association, Tampa, FL, 30 July–2 August 2, 2000.Google Scholar
  57. Teegalapalli, K., and A. Datta. In Press. The role of the Government and local institutions in regulating shifting cultivation in the Upper Siang district, Eastern Himalaya, India. In Shifting cultivation policy: Trying to get it right, ed. M.F. Cairns. Routledge: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  58. Thrupp, L.A. 2000. Linking agricultural biodiversity and food security: The valuable role of agrobiodiversity for sustainable agriculture. International Affairs 76: 265–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wasteland Atlas 2000. 2008–2009. Wastelands atlas of India, prepared by National Remote Sensing Centre, Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development, India.Google Scholar
  60. Watters, R.F. 1971. Shifting cultivation in Latin America. FAO Forestry Development Paper No. 17, Rome, 303 pp.Google Scholar
  61. WRI. 1985. Tropical forests: A call for action. 1: The Plan. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.Google Scholar
  62. Yumnam, J., S.I. Bhuyan, M.L. Khan, O.P. Tripathi, et al. 2011. Agro-diversity of East Siang-Arunachal Pradesh, Eastern Himalaya. Asian Journal of Agricultural Sciences 3: 317–326.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nature Conservation FoundationMysoreIndia
  2. 2.Manipal UniversityManipalIndia

Personalised recommendations