Jhum Cultivation

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  • It is a slash and burn practice of cultivation in States of North Eastern Hill Region of India and people involved in such cultivation are called Jhumia.
  • It involves technique carried out since the Neolithic period from 13,000 to 3,000 B.C.
  • The practice involves clearing vegetative/forest cover on land/slopes of hills, drying and burning it before onset of monsoon and cropping on it thereafter.
  • After harvest, this land is left fallow and vegetative regeneration is allowed on it till the plot becomes reusable for same purpose in a cycle.
  • Initially, when Jhum cycle was long and ranged from 20 to 30 years, the process worked well.
  • However, with increase in human population and increasing pressure on land, Jhum cycle reduced progressively (5-6 years) causing problem of land degradation and threat to ecology of the region at large.
  • Burning of residues provide potash to the soil. However it has several cons.

Tree burning leads to:

  • Higher  CO2, NO2 and other Greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions
  • Loss of Biomass hence higher surface run off of rainwater leading to soil erosion