Swidden Agriculture in Developing Countries: An Ecological-Economic Analysis of the Fallow Period and its Length

23 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2001

See all articles by Amitrajeet A. Batabyal

Amitrajeet A. Batabyal

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) - Department of Economics

Hamid Beladi

University of Texas at San Antonio - College of Business - Department of Economics

Abstract

Small farmers in many tropical developing countries practice swidden agriculture. A key aspect of swidden agriculture is the time period during which the land is left fallow. This paper uses a new ecological-economic approach to study the fallow period and to determine the optimal length of this period in swidden agriculture. We first construct a theoretical model of a parcel of forest land that has been cleared for swidden agriculture. We then show how the dynamic and the stochastic properties of this cleared land can be used to derive two objective functions for a small farmer that are ecologically meaningful. Finally, using these two objectives, we discuss a probabilistic approach to the determination of the optimal length of the fallow period. In this approach, the focus of the small farmer is on maintaining the ecological and the economic sustainability of swidden agriculture on the cleared parcel of forest land (CPFL).

Keywords: Cleared Parcel of Forest Land, Developing Country, Fallow Period, Semi-Markov Process, Swidden Agriculture

JEL Classification: O13, Q15, D81

Suggested Citation

Batabyal, Amitrajeet A. and Beladi, Hamid, Swidden Agriculture in Developing Countries: An Ecological-Economic Analysis of the Fallow Period and its Length. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=281329 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.281329

Amitrajeet A. Batabyal (Contact Author)

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

92 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623-5604
United States
585-475-2805 (Phone)
585-475-5777 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://people.rit.edu/aabgsh

Hamid Beladi

University of Texas at San Antonio - College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

One UTSA Circle
P.O. Box 5636
San Antonio, TX 78249
United States
210-458-7038 (Phone)
210-458-7040 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
227
Abstract Views
2,492
rank
165,415
PlumX Metrics