- Project Leader : Suzuki Reiji (Kyoto Gakuen University, Faculty of Bio-environment)
- Collaborators : Kuroda Suehisa (The University of Shiga Prefecture)
- : Ando Kazuo(Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
Outline of Research
Traditional swidden cultivation is not a primitive and environmentally destructive form of agriculture, but a rational and sustainable agriculture system in which forest recovery after slash-and-burn and crop production can be well harmonized under long fallow periods. In this study, we will reconstruct local knowledge and skills inherited in Japanese traditional swidden agriculture through a bibliographical survey, participant observation and interviews to examine the potential of swidden as a form of environmentally sustainable agriculture in intermediate and mountainous areas of Japan. Various outcomes of previous studies on swidden in Southeast Asian countries will also be reviewed for comparative discussion. The goal of this study is to present fundamental data for building up a lifestyle model toward a more recyclable and fossil fuel independent society.
To overcome various problems which became obvious in recent consumeristic society, it is important to not only look at cutting-edge innovative science and technology, but also learn from knowledge and skills inherited in traditional human livelihood. In this study, we will examine the contemporary significance of Japanese swidden agriculture as a form of environmentally sustainable agriculture in intermediate and mountainous areas of Japan.
In some areas of Japan, local people still engage in traditional swidden cultivation. However, most of these people are of an advanced age and there are few successors who can continue swidden cultivation. It is quite important both academically and practically, to record their plentiful knowledge and skills before Japanese swidden agriculture disappears as a practice.
From fundamental data accumulated through a bibliographical survey, participant observation and interviews, we will extract useful information that can help build up a lifestyle model toward a more recyclable and fossil fuel independent society.
Turnip cultivation by swidden agriculture after clear felling of Japanese cedar plantation (Sanpoku, Murakami city, Niigata prefecture)
Burning of swidden agriculture (Yogo, Nagahama city, Shiga prefecture)