Short notes on Shifting Cultivation in India
Shifting cultivation in India is known as jhum in Assam, punam krishi is Kerala, podu in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, bewar, mashan, penda and beera in different parts of Madhya Pradesh. Shifting cultivation is practiced by tribal people. About 20 lakhs hectares of forests are cleared every year by felling and burning the trees and shrubs. These clearings are cultivated under very crude and extravagant methods for 2-3 years and then abandoned when fertility dwindles or soil erosion makes it unfit or forests reappear.
Paddy, buck wheat, maize, millets, tobacco, some vegetables and banana are grown on the burnt over clearings and the products shared jointly by the clan. Dry deciduous forests are especially suited to jhumming. This wasteful practice in difficult terrain obviously supports a very sparse population.