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Sustainable alternatives to slash and burn agriculture and the reclamation of degraded lands in the humid tropics

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This paper describes the rationale and proposed activities of the Slash and Burn Programme which can be considered a direct response to agenda 21's recommendations and thus an interval part of the Global Forest Policy. It draws heavily from the programme working documents and project briefs developed by a steering group. Slash and burn agriculture (shifting cultivation) accounts for about 50 to 75% of the 14 million hectares of moist tropical forests currently converted every year. Tropical deforestation is responsible for 25% of current global warming for most of the decimation of plant and animal genetic diversity and threatens the stability of many watersheds. Rates of deforestation have doubled over the last two decades they are likey to continue increasing and to contribute a relatively larger proportion of global warming. Shifting cultivation is aconsequence of complex socioeconomic factors that drive poor farmers and migrants into the forest margins.

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