*Kagari Yasuoka (Shikata)
Ecological foundations of swidden agriculture in the tropical rainforests of Africa: the historical formation process and current development
In order to clarify the relationships between forests and humans through analyzing the swidden agricultural system, I have been conducting fieldwork with the swidden farmers, in tropical rainforests in the southeastern part of Cameroon.
Focusing on plantain bananas in particular, which are an important crop cultivated in the tropical rainforests of Africa, I study the swidden cropping system and its ecological relationship with the rainforest that supports it. I would like to discover how the Bantu farmers, who are known to have spread around the Congo River with bananas, expanded their living sphere in the rainforests. Moreover, I am trying to understand the degree to which the means of livelihood, such as swidden agriculture, are related to the dynamism of forest vegetation. To understand this, I take into consideration the historical changes in people’s utilization of the forests and their settlements, as well as the political and macroeconomic situations in domestic and international communities, in each period from the past up to present.