A spatiotemporal model of shifting cultivation and forest cover dynamics
BROWN, DOUGLAS R.
Sustainable use of humid forest resources as a source of fertile land for cultivation requires long periods of fallow and the ability to move the zone of active cultivation from one location to another over time. At the individual field level, shifting cultivation is essentially a resource extraction problem akin to a pulse fishery a short period of intensive use of the stock of soil fertility followed by a long idle period permitting regeneration. This paper describes a spatiotemporal model of resource extraction adapted to the use of forest resources by shifting cultivators. Theoretically grounded in the spatial and household modelling literature, it is a structural simulation model of household decision-making, and includes a demonstration of the concept with a limited data set from southern Cameroon. Use of a stated preference approach to modelling decision-making identifies individual preferences and spatial path-dependency as important sources of shortened fallows and resource degradation.
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