Shifting Cultivation : Promoting Innovative Policy and Development Options in the Eastern Himalayas

Shifting cultivation has generally been subject to policies that are geared toward eradicating the system altogether, whether by banning the practice or inducing farmers to take up alternative employment.

This project builds on a series of experiences with shifting cultivation in India, Nepal and Bhutan that challenge the prevailing view among policymakers and forestry officials that shifting cultivation is unsustainable and destructive to forests and wildlife. The project is based on the hypothesis that shifting cultivation, if improved and rationalized as an agroforestry system, has high potential for poverty alleviation, food security and biodiversity conservation. Researchers will take a pragmatic approach to dealing with the livelihood issues of the cultivators and the health of the ecosystem, and assess the effects of increasing population pressure and market forces.

The idea is to share good policies and practices related to shifting cultivation and alternative options through regional exchange.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Thursday, October 16, 2008

End Date

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


36 months

IDRC Officer

Ahmed, Sara

Total funding

CA$ 702,600


Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Central Asia, Far East Asia, South Asia, India


Agriculture and Food Security

Project Leader

Dr. Eklabya Sharma


International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development

Institution Country


Institution Website