Malcolm Cairns and his team are bringing to a logical conclusion what promises to be the world’s leading collection of scientific works on the practice of shifting cultivation, focusing on Asia and the Pacific.
This book will be the third in a planned trilogy. Already, in the first two volumes, hundreds of the world’s leading scholars of swidden agriculture have called for a revolution in common and scientific regard for shifting agriculture, including recognition of its benefits in a world beset by climate change and biodiversity loss, and challenged the centuries-old treatment of swidden in official policy.
Maintaining this theme, the third and final volume will explore the ways in which today’s shifting cultivators are innovating and adjusting their traditional “hitching a ride with nature” to cope with the modern challenges of population growth, market economies, shortages of land and the modern threat of plantation monocropping.
They already have a rich collection of material to launch this third 1100-page tome, so the standard is challenging. But they are determined to make this the best of the three volumes and new contributions are keenly sought. They expect to be able to accommodate 52 chapters (papers) in the volume itself, with an unrestricted number listed in the volume and published electronically online as an “Addendum”.
Do you work with or study shifting cultivation in the Asia-Pacific region?
We all know that swidden farmers are capable innovators, and you may have encountered some who have found ingenious ways of improving their swidden systems. These may be technical innovations such as a system of improved fallow management, barrier technologies to reduce soil erosion in steep swidden fields, new cropping patterns, or just about anything that qualifies as “an improvement”.
Alternatively, they may be social innovations, such as more effective methods of social fencing, labour arrangements or land tenure. Some of these innovations may be responses to quite recent pressures – such as climate change or land shortages. Others may have been refined over centuries of experimentation, as farmers continuously search for better ways to manage their land and forests – so it is not surprising that some have discovered decidedly better ways of doing things. They are
intensely interested in learning what these better ways are!
The editor of this new book and his team urge the entire community of researchers and workers working with shifting cultivation in Asia-Pacific to make this volume their own by using it as a powerful platform to publish their research findings and photographs. This ‘common property’ approach will create a much richer volume, of which we can all be proud!
Alternatively, if you know of colleagues working in this field whose work deserves publication, please let them know or pass on an invitation for them to contact them. They believe that the publication platform they offer is a very exciting opportunity. They’ve had very robust participation in the first and second books – and would like to see the same happen in volume III. The more ideas that they have on the table, the better! Even if you don’t have a paper to contribute, you may have an
exceptional photo to share, suggestions of others who should be invited to participate, or ideas on how the volume can be improved. All suggestions will be warmly welcomed! This book will become better from a joint effort by us all!
To find out more or participate in this volume, please contact the Editor, Malcolm Cairns, [email protected].
In addition, you can find more details about contributions of both papers and photographs for publication here