Shifting cultivation and forest pressure in Cameroon
AbstractShifting cultivation is often blamed as a principal cause of deforestation in tropical Africa. It is claimed that the practice is unsustainable because shortened fallow lengths result in soils too degraded to support forest vegetation. The decline in fallow lengths is often attributed to increases in population density and greater market participation. The conventional wisdom makes several claims that are as yet unsubstantiated. This paper investigates whether there is evidence to support two of these claims in southern Cameroon. First, using both cross-sectional and panel data, I find that there is indeed a robust negative association between fallow lengths and population density in the study area and weaker evidence for a negative relationship between fallow lengths and market participation. Second, a stochastic frontier production function approach is used to investigate the marginal contribution of fallow to output. Results indicate that fallow lengths are not low enough to be affecting yields and therefore do not appear to be resulting in declines in soil fertility. Thus overall, while some of the assumptions of the conventional wisdom appear to be true, there is little evidence to support its dramatic conclusion that shifting cultivators are causing deforestation in the forested region of Cameroon.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 53077.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Shifting cultivation; population density; market participation; deforestation; Cameroon;
Other versions of this item:
- Amy Ickowitz, 2011. "Shifting cultivation and forest pressure in Cameroon," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 42(2), pages 207-220, 03.
- O12 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
- O13 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
- Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
- Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
- Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry
- Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
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