In the hilly tropics, although shifting cultivation is a widespread practice, governmentpolicies have attempted to replace it with other land-uses. However, several factorsdetermine whether farming communities can make the shift. We tried understandingthe factors that facilitate or impede the shift to settled cultivation through interviews withthe Adi tribe in north-east India. Although settled cultivation was initiated in the sixties,about 90 % of the families practice shifting cultivation, observing 13 festivalsassociated with the annual agricultural calendar. Our results indicate that the economicstatus of a household affected the ability to undertake settled cultivation, while labouravailability is important for shifting cultivation. Often, these nuances are ignored ingovernment policies. We conclude that future policies should be mindful of cultural andsocio-economic factors that affect the community and of the social-ecological resilienceof the landscapes and not use a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Ambio doi 10.1007/s13280-016-0765-x