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Crop diversity and fallow management in a tropical deciduous forest shifting cultivation system

by Dean P. Lambert
Human Ecology ()


Shifting cultivation is important to many of the inhabitants of tropical forest regions. Much scientific research has been conducted on this form of agriculture in the humid tropics, but the drier portions of the tropics remain less studied. The shifting cultivation system practiced in the tropical deciduous forests of western Guerrero, Mexico, provides insight into such production systems, especially with regard to crop diversity and fallow characteristics. This system is characterized by low crop diversity, based primarily on maize (Zea mays) cultivation, and a general lack of fallow management. The farmers also utilize several strategies not common to many other regions, including highly seasonal labor allocation patterns, varying fallow cycle lengths, and the occasional application of chemical inputs.

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