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Changes in shifting cultivation systems on small Pacific islands

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Abstract:

The limited information on change in shifting cultivation systems of small islands of the Pacific stands in contrast to increasing evidence of this farming system's demise in other parts of the tropics. Here, we assess changes in agricultural activities during the past 40 years of Bellona Island, Solomon Islands, where shifting cultivation is still maintained in the traditional way. Fallow length has increased despite population growth due to redistribution of the cultivated area, migration‐induced extensification and changes in crops. Productivity of the farming system remains high although there are indications of soil degradation in the centre of the island. However, there are no signs that the traditional shifting cultivation system in Bellona may become unsustainable in the near future and extreme land use transformations seen in other Pacific islands are not found here.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4959.2011.00447.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography and Geology, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark. 2: School of International Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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