Can Shifting Cultivation on Acid Soils in the Southeast Asia Be Sustainable in the Future? A Case Study in Northern Laos
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Sustainability of the local shifting cultivation practice in the mountainous region of Northern Laos was investigated. Due to low fertility of the soils derived from shale and its strongly weathered and acidic nature in the eastern side of the Nam Khan River watershed, shortening of the fallow period to produce enough amount of upland rice for the local population would not be sustainable any more. On the other hand, the eroded materials from limestone range were added to the soils in the western side of watershed which made the soil more fertile. Based on the calculated population capacity by Carneiro's equation, a system with 2- or 3-year fallow for 1-year cultivation can be the maximum to afford the current population. To make the shifting cultivation system more sustainable, introduction of fallow system with a tree species, paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) could be a good option to be proposed.
- Soil Science and Plant Nutrition
Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 51(5), 767-770, 2005-09
Japanese Society of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition