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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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INTRODUCTION
Year : 2006  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 287-303

Swidden Agriculture and Conservation in Eastern Madagascar: Stakeholder Perspectives and Cultural Belief Systems


Department of Anthropology, Beach Hall, U-2176, 354 Fairfield Road, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269-2176, USA

Correspondence Address:
Douglas William Hume
Department of Anthropology, Beach Hall, U-2176, 354 Fairfield Road, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269-2176
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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This paper describes and discusses several stakeholders' perspec­tives of agricultural change in eastern Madagascar. The historic and current government-sponsored attempts to facilitate the end of swidden agriculture in eastern Madagascar have largely failed due to particular cultural beliefs held by the rural farmers. The Malagasy government is implementing several agri­cultural and social policies designed to promote biodiversity conservation and increase crop yields to meet the increased needs of the rising human population. One key aspect of planned agricultural change ignored by the Malagasy government is the impact this change will have on the rural farm­ers' belief system connected with their traditional agriculture, tavy (swidden agriculture as termed and practised by the Malagasy). As the current plan of the Malagasy government stands, only the political, agricultural, ecological, and economic problems of the agricultural change are part of policymaking. In addition to perspectives from government-sponsored programmes, eco­nomic and cultural viewpoints from local rice sellers and rural farmers are presented.


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