Traditional Kaingin (Deforestation) Practices: The Case of Daraitan Dumagats
Keywords:cultural preservation, slash and burn farming, alley cropping, sustainable farming, indigenous people
Many indigenous groups in the Philippines, especially those living in the
mountainous regions, continue to practice the traditional deforestation
called kaingin. Kaingin is slashing and burning of trees and plowing the ashes for
fertilizer. It causes soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, and climate change. It is an
illegal farming practice, which the Dumagats of Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal are aware
of. However, they do not have any alternative way of farming. This paper, based
on Ogburn’s Social Change Theory, is a qualitative case study that aimed to
understand the cultural meaning of kaingin to the Dumagats and why they continue
to practice it despite the environmental laws in the country. Also, this study
proposes an alternative upland farming for environmental and economic
sustainability. Data thematically analyzed were from the focus group discussions
(FGD) and one-on-one interviews with the tribal kaingenyeros. Results showed
that kaingin is a part of Dumagat culture and it is a source of their social and
economic (socio-economic) bonding and therefore, cultural preservation.
Furthermore, despite law’s prohibition, they continue the practice because they
have no alternative land to till except the mountains which are their ancestral lands.
They also lack education and training in farming. Alley cropping is proposed to
restore the soil fertility without destroying the cultural economic bonding of the
Dumagats by growing suitable plants based on the soil type as farm alleys while
planting other crops such as corn in between the alleys without using chemicals as
the leaves of the alley plants may serve as organic fertilizer.
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