Tulshimala Jhum cultivation in Sherpur Hill Tracks.

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Jhum cultivation (slash-and-burn agriculture) with upland rice because the major crop is that the predominant land-use system
in the hilly regions of the Sherpur Hill Tracts (SHT) of Bangladesh. With low population densities and moderate expectations,
this system may have ecologically suitable and adapted to the source available. Jhum cultivation is changing rapidly, partly
because of population pressure and partly because livelihood strategies are diversified to incorporate permanent cultivation of money crops. Fast population growth has resulted in shorter fallow cycles and consequently increased soil erosion in hills with loss of
soil fertility. Realizing these key roles of skill/experience and fallow periods in Jhum cultivation, the continued research activities
explored to understand the status of the Jhum farmers in these aspects. The initial findings of this attempt are summarized and
discussed in this paper. It was observed that Jhum farmers had been practicing shifting cultivation with average fallow periods
of many years, respectively for the landless, small, and medium farmers. Almost all of the chosen farmers felt that the
cultivation period has been consistently short and the productivity of the fields has been declining.