Indigenous Knowledge on Soil Potential and Swidden Sustainability: A preliminary observation from Sabah, Malaysia

  • Paul Porodong
Keywords: Indigenous fallow strategy, Rungus of Sabah, shifting cultivation, swidden sustainability indicator


This paper is an attempt to reevaluate the argument for the most commonly used indicator to assess the swidden sustainability – the fallow period. Using a co evolutionary approach developed by Richard Noorgard (1994), the author argued that it is not sufficient to rely on length of fallow alone to determine swidden sustainability. By comparing planting spacing of two swidden communities in Sabah, it was found out that, the scientific understanding of relationship between fallow period and soil suitability for farming does not fully explain the farmer’s fallow management strategy.  Investigation shows that, indigenous knowledge of soil potentials is more crucial to understand the swidden practice as well as possible tools for making more accurate sustainability assessments.


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How to Cite
Porodong, P. (2021). Indigenous Knowledge on Soil Potential and Swidden Sustainability: A preliminary observation from Sabah, Malaysia. Journal of Borneo-Kalimantan, 7(2), 73-84. Retrieved from