Participatory modelling with farmers, exploring the what, how and why of land-use change. [ID828]

Maria Bos Swen Petrus, Cornioley Tina, Garcia Claude. 2019. Participatory modelling with farmers, exploring the what, how and why of land-use change. [ID828]. . Bern : Global Land Programme, Résumé, 1 p. Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme OSM2019. 4, Bern, Suisse, 21 April 2019/24 April 2019.

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Published version - Anglais
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Abstract : Shifting cultivation is still widespread throughout the tropics, and the main agricultural production system for the rural poor living in forest margins. Though often blamed as a main cause of both forest degradation and deforestation, it is the discontinuation of shifting cultivation, and its replacement by intensified land uses, that results in far larger negative environmental impacts. Understanding what drives this change requires us to study what motivates farmers to transition away from one system, in this case shifting cultivation (Jhum), into another, such as plantation crops. Given that decisions are made in an environment where resources, such as labour and cash, are often limited, we argue that it is important to put stakeholders in front of these investment decisions, in a safe modelling environment, and to analyse the drivers and impacts of these decisions together. In this study, we explored the resource allocation strategies of the Jhum farmers of the Karbi tribe in Northeast India. Their forested tribal lands have a very high conservation value, and any major change to the system would have dire consequences for the conservation effort of the adjacent Kaziranga National Park's rhinos, elephants and other wildlife. Together with the Jhum farmers, we developed an interactive model of the local farming system, in the form of a game. Here farmers allocate labour and cash to meet household needs, to improve their standard of living, or to invest in new opportunities like bamboo, rubber and tea. Throughout our study, it became clear that the farmers are actively striving to change their landscape, this to harness both existing and emerging economic opportunities, while improving their livelihoods. However, the trajectory of landscape change comes with a twist, investment strategies and priorities are quite surprising and the old practises that ensure food security remains unexpectedly persistent.

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Maria Bos Swen Petrus, ETH (CHE)
  • Cornioley Tina, ETH (CHE)
  • Garcia Claude, CIRAD-ES-UPR Forêts et sociétés (CHE) ORCID: 0000-0002-7351-0226

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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