Shifting cultivation or jhum, predominantly practiced in the north-east of India is an agricultural system where a farming community slashes secondary forests on a predetermined location, burns the slash and cultivates the land for a limited number of years. The land is then left fallow and the farming community moves to the next location to repeat the process till they return back to the starting point. It has often been alleged that jhum has led to the loss of valuable natural resources of the region. This essay documents the cultivation practices of the Khasi tribe through a study of several villages of West Khasi Hills and Ri-bhoi Districts of Meghalaya with an objective of drawing lessons for developmental planning concerning natural resource management and land use in the region.



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