World Journal of Agricultural Research
ISSN (Print): 2333-0643 ISSN (Online): 2333-0678 Website: Editor-in-chief: Rener Luciano de Souza Ferraz
Open Access
Journal Browser
World Journal of Agricultural Research. 2017, 5(4), 221-232
DOI: 10.12691/wjar-5-4-4
Open AccessArticle

Assessing Shifting Cultivation Trajectories in the Southern Part of Cameroon

Mireille Feudjio T1, , Peter Minang2, Zapfack Louis1, Serge Ngendakumana3, Dieudonne Alemagi2 and Laliza Duguma2

1Department of Plant Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Yaounde I, Cameroon

2World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), UN Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya

3Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, University of Ghent

Pub. Date: July 24, 2017

Cite this paper:
Mireille Feudjio T, Peter Minang, Zapfack Louis, Serge Ngendakumana, Dieudonne Alemagi and Laliza Duguma. Assessing Shifting Cultivation Trajectories in the Southern Part of Cameroon. World Journal of Agricultural Research. 2017; 5(4):221-232. doi: 10.12691/wjar-5-4-4


Good understand of changes in shifting cultivation and factors involved is a way forward in finding appropriate respond to preserve forested landscapes. A study was conducted with the aim of analyzing different pathways that could be taken in shifting cultivation trajectories. A total of 470 households were randomly sampled in the three study sites of the southern part in Cameroon. Data were collected using household survey, focus group discussion, interview of key informants and remote sensing based analysis of land cover. We found that shifting cultivation could migrate from traditional to a relatively modern form. Modern form is characterized by the evolution of objective from consumption to commercialization, a very short fallow, improvement of technique, and introduction of new market crops and diversification of crops produced. It is affected by population density, availability of forest land and accessibly (road and transport). In the site where traditional form is observed, 88 % of respondents revealed that there is still forest land belonging to nobody where they can create new farm. Therefore, a good management of land will constraint shifting cultivators to shift to modern agricultural technique. Moreover, it is advisable to develop policy measures to promote the progressive change of this old practice towards the adoption of appropriate agricultural techniques in the context of preservation of forested landscape.

shifting cultivation trajectory drivers of change traditional to modern form Cameroon

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


Figure of 9


[1]  Anders Henrik Sirén (2007). Population Growth and Land Use Intensification in a Subsistence-based Indigenous Community in the Amazon. Human Ecology, 12 p.
[2]  ATIPAD (2011). Rapport consolide des données du diagnostic participatif de la commune d’Efoulan, rapport du PNDP.
[3]  Brown, D., and Schreckenberg, K. (1998). Shifting Cultivators as agents of deforestation: assessing the evidence. Natural Resource Perspectives number 29, 10 p.
[4]  Carrière, S. (1999). Les orphelins de la forêt: Influence de l’agriculture itinérante sur brûlis des Ntumu et des pratiques agricoles associées sur la dynamique forestière du sud Cameroun. Thèse de l’Université Montpellier 459 p.
[5]  Deb S., Lynrah M., & Tiwari K., (2013). Technological innovations in shifting agricultural practices by three tribal farming communities of Meghalaya, northeast India. Tropical Ecology 54(2), 133-148.
[6]  Dixon, J. L., Stringer, L. C., & Challinor, A. J. (2014). Farming System Evolution and Adaptive Capacity: Insights for Adaptation Support. Resources 3, 182-214.
[7]  Gandhiv Kafle (2011). An overview of shifting cultivation with reference to Nepal. International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation Vol. 3(5), pp. 147-154.
[8]  Gockowski, J., J. Tonye, D. Baker, S. Weise, M. Ndoumbe, T. Tiki-Manga and A. Fouaguegue, 1998. Characterization and Diagnosis of Farming Systems in the ASB Forest Margins Benchmark of Southern Cameroon. Social Sciences Working Paper No 1. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria, 75 p.
[9]  Hijmans, R.J., S.E. Cameron, J.L. Parra, P.G. Jones and A. Jarvis (2005). Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. International Journal of Climatology 25: 1965-1978.
[10]  Hossain M. A. (2011). An overview on shifting cultivation with reference to Bangladesh. Scientific Research and Essays Vol. 6(31), pp. 6509-6514.
[11]  Jacques Kanmegne (2004). Slash and Burn Agriculture in the Humid Forest Zone of Southern Cameroon: Soil Quality Dynamics, Improved Fallow Management and Farmers’ Perceptions. PhD thesis Wageningen University and Research Centre, The Netherlands 180p.
[12]  Kamara, A., Vonu, O.S., Lansana, J. and Sesay, F.S. (2016). Extent of Reduction of the Fallow Period and Its Impact on Upland Rice Production in the Nongowa Chiefdom of Kenema District in Eastern Sierra Leone. Agricultural Sciences, 7, 805-812.
[13]  Kissinger, G., M. Herold, V. De Sy (2012). Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation: A Synthesis Report for REDD+ Policymakers. Lexeme Consulting, Vancouver Canada, August 2012, 48 p.
[14]  Kotto-Same, J., Woomer, P., Appolinaire, M., and Louis, Z. (1997). Carbon dynamics in slash-and-burn agriculture and land use alternatives of the humid forest zone in cameroon. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 65(3):245-256.
[15]  Laurent Nounamo, Martin Yemefack, Martin Tchienkoua, and Rosaline Njomgang. (2002) Impact of natural fallow duration on topsoils characteristics of a Ferral sol of southern Cameroon. Nig. J. Soil Res. 3:52-57
[16]  Letouzey, R. (1985). “Notice phytogéographique du Cameroun au 1:500000.” Intitut de la Carte Internationale de la végétation, Toulouse, France.
[17]  Luoga, Wilkowski and K. Balkwill (2000). Subsistence use of wood products and shifting cultivation within miombo woodland of eastern Tanzania, with special notes on commercial uses. South African Journal of Botany 66 (1) :72-85
[18]  Margaret A. Yaro, Asuquo E. Okon & Delia B. Bisong (2014). The Impact of Rural Transportation on Agricultural Development in Boki Local Government Area, Southern Nigeria. Journal of Management and Sustainability; Vol. 4, No. 4.
[19]  Megevand C, Mosnier A, Hourticq J, Sanders K, Doetinchem N, Streck C. (2013). Deforestation Trends in the Congo Basin: Reconciling Economic Growth and Forest Protection. Washington, DC: World Bank. 179 p.
[20]  Mertens, B., W.D. Sunderlin, O. Ndoye and E.F. Lambin (2000). Impact of macroeconomic change on deforestation in south Cameroon: Integration of household survey and remotely-sensed data. World Development 28: 983-999.
[21]  Nathalie van Vliet, Ole Mertza, Andreas Heinimann, Tobias Langanke, Unai Pascual, Birgit Schmook, Cristina Adam, Dietrich Schmidt-Vogt, Peter Messerli, Stephen Leisz, Jean-Christophe Castella, Lars Jørgensen, Torben Birch-Thomsen, Cornelia Hett, Thilde Bech-Bruun, Amy Ickowitz , Kim Chi Vu, Kono Yasuyuki, Jefferson Fox, Christine Padoch, Wolfram Dressler, Alan D. Ziegler (2012): Trends, drivers and impacts of changes in swidden cultivation in tropical forest-agriculture frontiers: A global assessment. Global Environmental Change 22 418-429.
[22]  Nguiffo, S. and Sonkoue Watio, M. (2015) Agro-industrial investments in Cameroon: Large-scale land acquisitions since 2005. IIED, London. 69 p.
[23]  Peter Hazell and Stanley Wood, 2008. Drivers of change in global agriculture. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363(July 2007), 495–515.
[24]  PNDP (2012). Plan Communal de Développement de la Commune d’ayos. Rapport du PNDP, 151 p.
[25]  PNDP (2013). Plan Communal de Développement d’OBALA, rapport du PNDP, 181 p.
[26]  Rahman, S. A., Rahman, M. F., & Sunderland, T. (2011). Causes and consequences of shifting cultivation and its alternative in the hill tracts of eastern Bangladesh. Agroforestry Systems, 84(2), 141-155.
[27]  RGPH (2005). Troixime Recensement Général de la Population et de l'Habitat du Cameroun. Direction Nationale du Deuxième RGPH, Yaoundé, Cameroun.
[28]  Robiglio, V., Ngendakumana, S., Yemefack, M., Tchienkoua, M., Gockowski, J., Tchawa, P., & Tchoundjeu, Z. (2010). Options for reducing emissions from all land uses in Cameroon. World Agroforestry Centre, Yaounde. 111 p.
[29]  Samuel Assembe-Mvondo, Carol J. P. Colfer, Maria Brockhaus & Raphael Tsanga (2014). Review of the legal ownership status of national lands in Cameroon: A more nuanced view. Development Studies Research 1:1, 148-160.
[30]  Sandrine Dury, Jean-Claude Medou, Divine Foudjem Tïta, Christian Nolte (2004). Limites du système local d'approvisionnement alimentaire urbain en Afrique subsaharienne le cas des féculents au Sud-Cameroun. Cahiers Agricultures, 13: 116-124.
[31]  Tilman D., Balzer C., Hill J., and Befort B. (2011). Global food demand and the sustain-able intensication of agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108: 20260-20264.
[32]  Tunde, A. M., & Adeniyi, E. E. (2012). Impact of Road Transport on Agricultural Development: A Nigerian Example. Ethiopian Journal of Environmental Studies and Management, 5(3) 232-238.
[33]  Yemefack and Alemagi (2013). REALU feasibility study document for emission reduction for the Efoulan council. South Region, Cameroon. Nairobi: ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins. 83p.
[34]  Yemefack, M. (2005). Modelling and monitoring soil and land use dynamics within shifting agricultural landscape mosaic Systems in Southern Cameroon. ITC Dissertation 121, ITC Enschede and Utrecht University, The Netherlands. 213p.
[35]  Zapfack Louis (2005). Impact De L’agriculture Itinerante Sur Brulis Sur La Biodiversite Vegetale Et La Sequestration Du Carbone. PHD theses, University of Yaounde I, 249p.