Jhum or shifting cultivation is the traditional way of cultivation of northeastern states of India, which is based on indigenous knowledge. Jhum is referred as 'slash and burn' method of agriculture and is mainly practiced by the indigenous tribals.

Jhum cultivation usually involves cutting of bamboo forests, which usually begins in January or February. The slashed vegetation is allowed to dry on the hill slopes for one to two months prior to burning in March or April. Crops are sown with the first rains in April. Usually, inter-cropping of one or more paddy varieties with 15 to 20 other crops including vegetables, maize, chilies, gourds, cotton, arum and mustard is carried out. The pattern and details of shifting cultivation differ in different places and tribes.

For the northeastern regions of India, Jhum cultivation is not only a livelihood but also a way of life.

Updated on 13th April, 2015


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