What Is the Advantage of Shifting Cultivation?

The quality and diversity of products harvested from swidden plots is usually higher compared to other types of farming. Also called swidden farming or slash and burn agriculture, shifting cultivation is a traditional method of farming that involves using a land then abandoning in later to allow the regeneration of fertility. This method of farming is common in Indonesia, Amazon rainforest and central and west Africa.

In shifting cultivation, a small piece of land is cleared and the vegetation is burned to provide nutrients to the soil. The soil remains fertile for a few years to allow farming. When the fertility of the land depreciates, people tend to move to new areas and occupy another land. The abandoned piece of land is regenerated to increase its fertility again. It is believe that this form of farming does not cause lasting damage to the land.

Clearings of field encourage the growth of a variety of species of plants thus attracting birds and animals. Abandoned lands also continue to provide the community with animals and other forest plants. However, there have been debates that shifting cultivation fuels deforestation in many areas. It is also said that it does not provide enough food to meet the demands of a growing population.