Fallow to Forest: Applying Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge of Swidden Cultivation to Tropical Forest Restoration
This study analyzed vegetation at two sites of shifting cultivation by Lawa and Karen indigenous people in the Mae Chaem watershed in 1-year, 3-year and 6-year fallow fields, with an area of natural forest as a control comparison.
Conclusions & Takeaways
The researchers found that if fallows are protected from fire and cattle browsing, they have considerable potential for natural forest recovery. The similarities between the forest restoration plots of the Forest Restoration Research Unit (FORRU-CMU) and the swidden fallows imply that methods of planting pioneer tree species can lead to similar results as the semi-natural regeneration mechanism of the shifting cultivation system. Additionally, the indigenous knowledge of edible species, medicinal and construction species and on natural tree regeneration mechanisms of swidden cultivators could be useful for forest restoration of degraded lands.
Fallow to forest: Applying indigenous and scientific knowledge of swidden cultivation to tropical forest restoration. Forest Ecology and Management. 2010;260:1399–1406. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2010.07.042..
- Department of Biology, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Centre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies, Kumming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Science, Heilongtan, Kunming, PR China
- Forest Restoration Research Unit, Department of Biology, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand