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

by Dean P. Lambert
Human Ecology ()
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Abstract

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

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