Fallow Management Strategies and Issues in Southeast Asia.

TitleFallow Management Strategies and Issues in Southeast Asia.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsBurgers P, Ketterings Q, Garrity D
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
KeywordsChange processes, Fallow management pathways, Indigenous, Sustainability
AbstractFor many upland farming communities in Southeast Asia the fallow-period is an integral part of their farming system. These fallow-based management strategies have often followed processes of nature by protecting or substituting for specific ecological functions of the natural forest. When exposed to a changing biophysical social, economic, and/or political environment, certain driving factors influence and condition farmers' decisional behavior leading to the development of management strategies that may either protect or destroy the forest functions of the fallow. A decision to decrease the length of the fallow period may result in the disappearance of forest fallows and potentially result in degradation due to over-intensification. On the other hand, fallow management focused on improvement of the economic productivity of the fallow vegetation itself often leaves a forest-like structure intact. Examples are presented of successful and sustainable fallow-based management strategies that were developed by farming households in Southeast Asia within the context of social, economic, political, and environmental change. Key issues are identified for research and development initiatives that begin to develop in the region to work towards long-term socio-economic and environmental sustainability of fallow-based farming systems.