Intermittent Use and Agricultural Change on Marginal Lands: The Case of Smallholders in Eastern Sonora, Mexico
Most studies of agricultural land use tend to treat change as though it is essentially permanent. This paper argues that in some cases marginal lands are used intermittently, being brought into and taken out of cultivation frequently, rapidly, and repeatedly. Improvements to the land are made each time a parcel is brought back into use so that over extended periods permanent cultivation becomes feasible. A model of intermittent use is first outlined and demonstrated with data from northwest Mexico. The way in which permanent improvements are made is then described. Last, the theoretical implications are discussed.