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Forest Farmers: A Case Study of Traditional Shifting Cultivation in Honduras

Research reports

Agriculture is often blamed for deforestation, but some indigenous peoples have cultivated crops inside tropical forests without degradation for thousands of years. This paper detailed the farming practices of the Tawahka, a small group of Amerindians in Honduras. In particular, the less fertile uplands were farmed differently to the more fertile lowlands, and no fields were cultivated continuously. The practices of the Tawahka were similar to many other Amerindian groups, but very different from the settler campesinos, who grew fewer types of crops and replanted repeatedly on the same land. The Tawakhas' knowledge and value of the forest, albeit in a changing world, boded well for the success of the proposed Tawahka Assangi Biosphere Reserve.

Paul House