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Appears in Collections:Economics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Sustainability in Danger? Slash-and-Burn Cultivation in Nineteenth-Century Finland and Twentieth-Century Southeast Asia
Author(s): Myllyntaus, Timo
Hares, Minna
Kunnas, Jan
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Issue Date: Apr-2002
Date Deposited: 8-Apr-2013
Citation: Myllyntaus T, Hares M & Kunnas J (2002) Sustainability in Danger? Slash-and-Burn Cultivation in Nineteenth-Century Finland and Twentieth-Century Southeast Asia. Environmental History, 7 (2), p. 267–302.
Abstract: First paragraph: Deforestation is one of the major environmental problems of our time. In today's tropics, as was the case in Finland some 150 years ago, it is common for official policy to regard slash-and-burn agriculture as a waste of land and timber, and a major reason for forest destruction. The issue is not, however, that straightforward. Slash-and-burn cultivation -- also called shifting cultivation or swiddening -- has been practiced all over the forested parts of the world at some stage of history. It has been applied in very different geographical, social and cultural settings, and this agricultural practice has not always led to an environmental impasse. In fact, many researchers today agree that shifting cultivation can be a sustainable farming system when well applied in favorable conditions. However, there is currently intense debate about whether shifting cultivators are to be blamed for loss of forest cover, or whether in contrast they are important agents in conservation and the sustainable management of tropical forests. The different definitions used for farming systems utilizing the slash-and-burn method further confuse this discussion. Not all burning of forests is slash-and-burn cultivation, and swiddening can vary widely.
DOI Link: 10.2307/3985685
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