Item Details

Title: Shifting cultivators: Local technical knowledge and natural resource management in the humid tropics

Date Published: 1991
Author/s: Katherine Warner
Data publication:
Funding Agency :
Copyright/patents/trade marks: FAO
Journal Publisher: FAO
Affiliation: FAO


This forestry note will examine the local technical knowledge (LTK) of the traditional swiddener and how it is
utilized for natural resource management in the humid tropics. Starting with a review of the environment of the
humid tropics and the problems of natural resource management in the region, the note will go on to an analysis
of shifting cultivation as a natural resource management strategy for the tropics. Examples from three major
regions of the humid tropics -- the Amazon basin, Southeast Asia and Africa -- will be used to illustrate shifting
cultivation practices as adaptations to the local social and physical environment. In the Amazon and Southeast
Asia the focus will be on the tribal minorities who have on the whole been very effective in using and
maintaining the tropical forest. The focus in Africa will be on the swiddener's response to a less certain
environment and the ways in which intensification is occurring.