Kalimantan:: Slash-and-Burn and Budidaya Rotan in East Kalimantan

Karim and his wife, splitting rattan on his porch in the village Rantau Layung, Pasir

Karim and his wife, splitting rattan on his porch in the village Rantau Layung, Pasir

Forests in Asia and throughout the tropical world are being rapidly transformed through slash-and-burn. Increasing population pressure has made this ancient system unsustainable in many areas. In lesser populated areas slash-and-burn, or shifting agriculture, is less problematic and perhaps even the only viable form of utilisation of indigenous peoples natural resources.

Shifting cultivation is a form of “sequential agroforestry”, where crops and trees take turns in occupying the same land. Two essential aspects necessitate this sequential system from the farmer’s viewpoint; nutrient recycling and weed management. Probably the most widely known system of this type is traditional swidden cultivation, or slash-and-burn agriculture, which is the most extensive farming system in the humid tropics.

Continue reading