Swidden agriculture is a form of forest agriculture and remarkably common in many upland societies in Asia. Most upland peoples live in a world of peripheries and their work and knowledge are sharply at odds with the national accounting systems. Women play a fundamental role in managing and conserving biodiversity, but the cycle of exclusion, patriarchy and inequality undermine their role. The institutionalised systems within the community and outside do not value women’s economic contribution to crop production and management of biodiversity. The meetings and discussions with the study covered a total of 109 swidden cultivators in the districts in Bhutan and 49 in the districts of north-east India. In Bhutan, there are two distinct forms of swidden cultivation, which includes Tsheri and Pangzhing. Tsheri is a slash and burn system that involves clearing of forested fallowed land, cultivating the cleared land for a few years and fallowing it again for natural regeneration of soil and vegetation.