Farmers in the forest. Economic development and marginal agriculture in Northern Thailand

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Slash-and-burn farming, shifting cultivation, or swidden agriculture, in which fields are cleared for temporary use and then left for a relatively long period, is a common feature of upland areas in Northern Thailand, as well as of much of the unirrigated land in other parts of southeast Asia. These are agricultural frontiers, frequently occupied by members of minority groups but increasingly the destination of landless migrants from the dominant ethnic groups in Thailand and many other countries. The book shows the range of variation in types of shifting cultivation, and considers the implications of swiddening for the future of the people and the environment of Thailand. An attempt is made throughout to integrate social and ecological aspects of these widespread land-use systems, as seen from the perspectives of soil, agricultural and forestry sciences, law, administration, and, through anthropological studies to present the views of the forest farmers themselves. Emphasis is laid on the description of traditional systems, and their adaptations to stresses imposed by population growth and economic development. An additional historical and geographical perspective is provided by a discussion of successful commercial use of shifting cultivation in Indonesia. The book contains the following chapters: Part I. Introduction; (1) problems of shifting cultivation and economic development in Northern Thailand (P. Kunstadter and E.C. Chapman); (2) The environment of Northern Thailand (T. Smittinand, S. Sabhasri, and P. Kunstadter); Part II. Institutional constraints on forest farming. Introduction, (P. Kunstadter); (3) Legal aspects of land occupation and development (S. Ratanakhon); (4) Forest policy in Northern Thailand (D. Banijbatana); (5) Forestry aspects of land use in areas of swidden cultivation (T. Komkris); Part III. Subsistence swidden systems. Introduction (P. Kunstadter); (6) Subsistence agricultural economies of Lua' and Karen hill farmers, Mae Sariang District, Northwestern Thailand (P. Kunstadter); (7) Soil fertility aspects of the Lua' forest fallow system of shifting cultivation (P.J. Zinke, S. Sabhasri, and P. Kunstadter); (8) Effects of forest fallow cultivation on forest production and soil (S. Sabhasri); (9) Declining production among sedentary swidden cultivators: the case of the Pwo Karen (P. Hinton); Part IV. Commercially oriented forest farming systems. Introduction (P. Kunstadter); (10) Opium culture in Northern Thailand; social and ecological dilemmas (S. Sabhasri); (11) Ecological relationships in a Hmong (Meo) economy (F.G.B. Keen); (12) Shifting cultivation and economic development in the lowlands of Northern Thailand (E.C. Chapman); (13) Soil fertility problems in development of annual cropping on swiddened lowland terrain in Northern Thailand (J.L. Charley and J.W. McGarity); (14) The fermented tea (miang) economy of Northern Thailand (F.G.B. Keen); (15) Swidden cultivation in Southeast Asia: historical, ecological, and economic perspectives (K.J. Pelzer); Part V Conclusion; (16) Alternatives for the development of upland areas (P. Kunstadter).<new para>ADDITIONAL ABSTRACT:<new para>This book brings together studies by people of different disciplines on shifting cultivations, particularly swidden farming systems (slash-and-burn) in upland forest areas of Thailand and their social and ecological effects. The discussion also extends to the use of such traditional systems in Indonesia. There is a subject index.


Secondary Title

Farmers in the forest. Economic development and marginal agriculture in Northern Thailand.


University Press of Hawaii for the East-West Center.



economic development, farming systems, forests, marginal land, rural development, shifting cultivation, Thailand, APEC countries, ASEAN Countries, Developing Countries, South East Asia, Asia, agricultural systems, bush fallowing, shifting cultivations, slash and burn, swidden agriculture, Farming Systems and Management (EE200) (Discontinued March 2000), Plant Cropping Systems (FF150), Policy and Planning (EE120), Plant Production (FF100), Land Resources (PP300)

Form: Book
Geographical Area: Thailand, Indonesia

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