TIP has been working with various food communities around the world aiming to link them and generate a common voice against misnomers due to limited knowledge. Among them isthe Shifting Rotational /Swidden Cultivation or farming. The terms are for a long standing farming typology among indigenous triebes which is based on the relationship of conservation wiht the lands they live from. Much of the world’s ‘primary’ forest has in fact been historically managed under shifting cultivation. Where ‘secondary’ regrowth is rich in biodiversity as the clearings encourage the growth of a range of plant species which in turn attract a diversity of birds and animals.
During the fallow periods, the regenerating plots continue to provide for the community – from animals to hunt to a range of forest products including medicines, fibres and fuel. In these communities, forests are a valued part of their livelihood system – rather than something to be cleared to make way for fields.
TIP with its partners NESFAS in Meghalaya and IMPECT/PSAD in Thailand have been working to reiterated the continuing importance and relevance of shifting cultivation in food security and its role in biodiversity conservation. The Shifting Cultivation Network was established to create awareness in its rootedness in generating sustainable liveli-hood practices of indigenous peoples and to counter the regretful lack of under standing among governments, many mainstream development workers, researchers and policy makers.Biodiversity walk through the Shifting Cultivation fields in Nongtraw, Meghalaya.