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Shifting Cultivators as agents of deforestation: Assessing the evidence

Briefing/policy papers

Increasing concern on two fronts - the international environmental movement and growing interest in biodiversity conservation - has brought shifting cultivation back into the foreground of rural development forestry. Opinions remain divided as to the part that shifting cultivation plays in accounting for the high levels of deforestation in the tropics. While it is viewed in some quarters as a major cause of tropical deforestation, recent research suggests that the reality is often more complex, and that explanations for deforestation must be sought in a variety of factors, many of which should be placed at the door of governments and international capital rather than of shifting cultivators.

David Brown and Kathrin Schreckenberg