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The Structure of Jhum (Traditional Shifting Cultivation System): Prospect or Threat to Climate

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The knowledge behind the culture and beliefs of indigenous community needs to be harnessed and should be used to complement the modern technologies and policies for better and sustainable use of biological resources and increase resilience of the sector associated. The main objective of the current research was to study Jhum (Traditional Shifting Cultivation System) and the cycles and culture associated with it. The study was done in northeast Himalayan region of India and phenomenological approach was used. The research reveals that Jhum is the component of traditional agro-ecosystem encompassing diverse set of knowledge and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional life-styles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources for their livelihood. The cycle associated with the system reflects the synergy of practices with the natural phenomenon and indicators. Contrary to common modern belief, Jhum is carbon sink, maintain soil health, preserve biological diversity and sustain local climate. Forest clearing during Jhum is not deforestation but forest modification allowing forest regrowth during sufficiently long fallow. Fundamentally, Jhum as a system is an integrated approach to establish agro-ecosystem in the difficult terrains of tropical hill regions that involve forest, soil, biodiversity and livestock management through their culture, tradition and rituals that coevolved with associated ecosystem. Instead of being threat to climate or environment, the system can provide deeper insight into the many different aspects of sustainable and climate resilient development; and the interrelated role of local peoples and their cultures.


International Letters of Natural Sciences (Volume 46)
K. Bhagawati et al., "The Structure of Jhum (Traditional Shifting Cultivation System): Prospect or Threat to Climate", International Letters of Natural Sciences, Vol. 46, pp. 16-30, 2015
Online since:
September 2015

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