Slash-and-burn agriculture, also called fire-fallow cultivation,[1] is a farming method that involves the cutting and burning of plants in a forest or woodland to create a field called a swidden. The method begins by cutting down the trees and woody plants in an area. The downed vegetation, or "slash", is then left to dry, usually right before the rainiest part of the year. Then, the biomass is burned, resulting in a nutrient-rich layer of ash which makes the soil fertile, as well as temporarily eliminating weed and pest species. After about three to five years, the plot's productivity decreases due to depletion of nutrients along with weed and pest invasion, causing the farmers to abandon the field and move over to a new area. The time it takes for a swidden to recover depends on the location and can be as little as five years to more than twenty years, after which the plot can be slashed and burned again, repeating the cycle.[2][3][4] In India, the practice is known as jhum or jhoom.[5][6]

Slash-and-burn can be part of shifting cultivation, an agricultural system in which farmers routinely move from one cultivable area to another. It may also be part of transhumance, the moving of livestock between seasons. A rough estimate is that 200 to 500 million people worldwide use slash-and-burn.[2][7] In 2004, it was estimated that in Brazil alone, 500,000 small farmers each cleared an average of one hectare (2.47105 acres) of forest per year.[1] The technique is not scalable or sustainable for large human populations. Methods such as Inga alley cropping[8] and slash-and-char[9] have been proposed as alternatives which would cause less environmental degradation.[10]

A similar term is assarting, which is the clearing of forests, usually (but not always) for the purpose of agriculture. Assarting does not include burning.

ISS029-E-008032 Fires along the Rio Xingu - Brazil
Satellite photograph illustrating slash-and-burn forest clearing along the Xingu River in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil.


Historically, slash-and-burn cultivation has been practiced throughout much of the world, in grasslands as well as woodlands.

During the Neolithic Revolution, which included agricultural advancements, groups of hunter-gatherers domesticated various plants and animals, permitting them to settle down and practice agriculture, which provides more nutrition per hectare than hunting and gathering. This happened in the river valleys of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Due to this decrease in food from hunting, as human populations increased, agriculture became more important. Some groups could easily plant their crops in open fields along river valleys, but others had forests blocking their farming land.

In this context, humans used slash-and-burn agriculture to clear more land to make it suitable for plants and animals. Thus, since Neolithic times, slash-and-burn techniques have been widely used for converting forests into crop fields and pasture.[11] Fire was used before the Neolithic as well, and by hunter-gatherers up to present times. Clearings created by the fire were made for many reasons, such as to draw game animals and to promote certain kinds of edible plants such as berries.

Slash-and-burn fields are typically used and owned by a family until the soil is exhausted. At this point the ownership rights are abandoned, the family clears a new field, and trees and shrubs are permitted to grow on the former field. After a few decades, another family or clan may then use the land and claim usufructuary rights. In such a system there is typically no market in farmland, so land is not bought or sold on the open market and land rights are traditional. In slash-and-burn agriculture, forests are typically cut months before a dry season. The "slash" is permitted to dry and then burned in the following dry season. The resulting ash fertilizes the soil[12][13] and the burned field is then planted at the beginning of the next rainy season with crops such as upland rice, maize, cassava, or other staples. Most of this work is typically done by hand, using such basic tools such as machetes, axes, hoes, and makeshift shovels. The old American civilizations, like the Inca, Maya, and Aztecs, also used this old agricultural technique.

Large families or clans wandering in the lush woodlands long continued to be the most common form of society through human prehistory. Axes to fell trees and sickles for harvesting grain were the only tools people might bring with them. All other tools were made from materials they found at the site, such as fire stakes of birch, long rods (Vanko), and harrows made of spruce tops. The extended family conquered the lush virgin forest, burned and cultivated their carefully selected swidden plots, sowed one or more crops, and then proceeded on to forests that had been noted in their wanderings. In the temperate zone, the forest regenerated in the course of a lifetime. So swidden was repeated several times in the same area over the years. But in the tropics the forest floor gradually depleted. It was not only in the moors, as in Northern Europe, but also in the steppe, Savannah, prairie, pampas and barren desert in tropical areas where shifting cultivation is the oldest type of farming. Cultivation is similar to slash-and-burn. (Clark 1952 91–107).[14]

Historical references

Raatajat rahanalaiset
Painting by Eero Järnefelt of forest-burning

Southern European Mediterranean climates have favored evergreen and deciduous forests. With slash-and-burn agriculture, this type of forest was less able to regenerate than those north of the Alps. Although in northern Europe one crop was usually harvested before grass was allowed to grow, in southern Europe it was more common to exhaust the soil by farming it for several years.

Classical authors mentioned large forests,[15] with Homer writing about "wooded Samothrace," Zakynthos, Sicily, and other woodlands.[16] These authors indicated that the Mediterranean area once had more forest; much had already been lost, and the remainder was primarily in the mountains.[17]

Although parts of Europe aside from the north remained wooded, by the Roman Iron and early Viking Ages, forests were drastically reduced and settlements regularly moved. The reasons for this pattern of mobility, the transition to stable settlements from the late Viking period on, or the transition from shifting cultivation to stationary farming are unknown. From this period, plows are found in graves. Early agricultural peoples preferred good forests on hillsides with good drainage, and traces of cattle enclosures are evident there.

In Italy, shifting cultivation was a thing of the past by the birth of Christ. Tacitus describes it as a strange cultivation method, practiced by the Germans. In 98 AD, he wrote about the Germans that their fields were proportional to the participating cultivators but their crops were shared according to status. Distribution was simple, because of wide availability; they changed fields annually, with much to spare because they were producing grain rather than other crops. A W Liljenstrand wrote 1857 in his doctoral dissertation, "About Changing of Soil" (p. 5 ff.), that Tacitus discusses shifting cultivation: "arva per annos mutant".[18][19] This is the practice of shifting cultivation.[20]

During the Migration Period in Europe, after the Roman Empire and before the Viking Age, the peoples of Central Europe moved to new forests after exhausting old parcels. Forests were quickly exhausted; the practice had ended in the Mediterranean, where forests were less resilient than the sturdier coniferous forests of Central Europe. Deforestation had been partially caused by burning to create pasture. Reduced timber delivery led to higher prices and more stone construction in the Roman Empire (Stewart 1956, p. 123).[21] Although forests gradually decreased in northern Europe, they have survived in the Nordic countries.

Tribes in pre-Roman Italy (including the Etruscans, Umbrians, Ligurians, Sabines, Latins, Campanians, Apulians, Saliscans, and Sabellians) apparently lived in temporary locations. They cultivated small patches of land, kept sheep and cattle, traded with foreign merchants, and occasionally fought. These Italic groups developed identities as settlers and warriors around 900 BC. They built forts in the mountains which are studied today, as are the ruins of a large Samnite temple and theater at Pietrabbondante.

Many Italic peoples saw benefits in allying with Rome. When the Romans built the Via Amerina in 241 BC, the Falisci settled in cities on the plains and aided the Romans in road construction; the Roman Senate gradually acquired representatives from Faliscan and Etruscan families, and the Italic tribes became settled farmers.[22]

Classical writers described peoples who practiced shifting cultivation, which characterized the Migration Period in Europe. The exploitation of forests demanded displacement as areas were deforested. Julius Caesar wrote about the Suebi in Commentarii de Bello Gallico 4.1, "They have no private and secluded fields ("privati ac separati agri apud eos nihil est") ... They cannot stay more than one year in a place for cultivation’s sake" ("neque longius anno remanere uno in loco colendi causa licet"). The Suebi lived between the Rhine and the Elbe. About the Germani, Caesar wrote: "No one has a particular field or area for himself, for the magistrates and chiefs give year by year to the people and the clans, who have gathered together, as much land and in such places as seem good to them and then make them move on after a year" ("Neque quisquam agri modum certum aut fines habet proprios, sed magistratus ac principes in annos singulos gentibus cognationibusque hominum, qui tum una coierunt, a quantum et quo loco visum est agri attribuunt atque anno post alio transire cogunt" [Book 6.22]).

Strabo (63 BC—c. 20 AD) also writes about the Suebi in his Geography (VII, 1, 3): "Common to all the people in this area is that they can easily change residence because of their sordid way of life; they do not cultivate fields or collect property, but live in temporary huts. They get their nourishment from their livestock for the most part, and like nomads, pack all their goods in wagons and go on to wherever they want". Horace writes in 17 BC (Carmen Saeculare, 3, 24, 9ff.) about the people of Macedonia: "The proud Getae also live happily, growing free food and cereal for themselves on land they do not want to cultivate for more than a year" ("Vivunt et rigidi Getae, / immetata quibus iugera liberas / fruges et Cererem ferunt, / nec cultura placet longior annua").

Jordanes, Norway tribes
Locations of Norwegian tribes described by Jordanes in his Getica

Jordanes, of Gothic descent, became a monk in Italy. In his mid-sixth-century AD Getica (De origine actibusque Getarum; The Origin and Deeds of the Goths)[23],[24] he described the large island of Scandza, on which the Goths originated. According to Jordanes, of the tribes living there, some are Adogit from within 40 days of the midnight sun. After the Adogit were the Screrefennae and Suehans, who also lived in the north. The Screrefennae did not raise crops, instead hunting and collecting bird eggs. The Suehans, a semi-nomadic tribe with good horses (comparable to the Thuringii), hunted furs to sell; grain could not be grown so far north. In about 550 AD, Procopius also described a primitive hunting people he called "Skrithifinoi": "Both men and women engaged incessantly just in hunting the rich forests and mountains, which gave them an endless supply of game and wild animals."

NMA.0043006 Skogsbruk, svedjebruk. Svedje tillhörande Anesgården i Slätafly, Torsås socken, Småland
Slash-and-burn in Småland, Sweden (1904)

The use of fire in northeastern Sweden changed as agriculture evolved. Although the Sami people did not burn land (since burning killed the lichen required by their reindeer), later farmers frequently used slash-and-burn techniques. The 19th-century Swedish timber industry moved north, clearing the land of trees but leaving waste behind as a fire risk; during the 1870s, fires were frequent.[25] There was a fire in Norrland in 1851, followed by fires in 1868 and 1878; two towns were lost in 1888.[26]

Forest Finns

013 huuhta evolution
Huuhta cultivation spread: within the circle in 1500 AD, within the line in 1600, and to the dashed line in 1700.

One culture which flourished in pre-agricultural Europe survives: the Forest Finns in Scandinavia. Martin Tvengsberg, a descendant of the Forest Finns, studied them in his capacity as curator of the Hedmark Museum in Norway.[27] The Savo-Karelians had a sophisticated system for cultivating spruce forests. A runic poem about Finland's spruce forests reads, "Gåivu on mehdien valgoinen valhe" ("The birch is the forest’s white lie"). The best spruce forests reportedly contain birch trees, which grow only after a forest has burned once or twice.

Modern Western world

Slash-and-burn may be defined as the large-scale deforestation of forests for agricultural use. Ashes from the trees help farmers by providing nutrients for the soil.[28]

In industrialized regions, including Europe and North America, the practice was abandoned with the introduction of market agriculture and land ownership. Slash-and-burn agriculture was initially practiced by European pioneers in North America such as Daniel Boone and his family, who cleared land in the Appalachian Mountains during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.[29] However, land cleared by slash-and-burn farmers was eventually taken over by systems of land tenure focusing on long-term improvement and discouraging practices associated with slash-and-burn agriculture.

Northern European heritage

Kaskialue Kaavin Telkkämäessä (2013)
In the Telkkämäki Heritage Farm in Finland, some areas are still burned annually.

Telkkämäki Nature Reserve in Kaavi, Finland, is an open-air museum which still practices slash-and-burn agriculture. Farm visitors can see how people farmed when slash-and-burn agriculture became the norm in the Northern Savonian region of eastern Finland beginning in the 15th century. Areas of the reserve are burnt each year.[30]

South Asia

Tribal groups in the northeastern Indian states of Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland and the Bangladeshi districts of Rangamati, Khagrachari, Bandarban and Sylhet refer to slash-and-burn agriculture as jhum or jhoom cultivation. The system involves clearing land, by fire or clear-felling, for economically-important crops such as upland rice, vegetables or fruits. After a few cycles, the land's fertility declines and a new area is chosen. Jhum cultivation is most often practiced on the slopes of thickly-forested hills. Cultivators cut the treetops to allow sunlight to reach the land, burning the trees and grasses for fresh soil. Although it is believed that this helps fertilize the land, it can leave it vulnerable to erosion. Holes are made for the seeds of crops[31] such as sticky rice, maize, eggplant and cucumber are planted. After considering jhum's effects, the government of Mizoram has introduced a policy to end the method in the state.[32] Slash-and-burn is typically a type of subsistence agriculture, not focused on a need to sell crops globally; planting decisions are governed by the needs of the family (or clan) for the coming year.[33]

Ecological implications

Inefficient Farming Techniques
The use of slash-and-burn farming technique in Ceará, Brazil contributes to the already mass scale deforestation in the Amazonian forest.

Although a solution for overpopulated tropical countries where subsistence agriculture may be the traditional method of sustaining many families, the consequences of slash-and-burn techniques for ecosystems are almost always destructive.[34] This happens particularly as population densities increase, and as a result farming becomes more intensively practiced. This is because as demand for more land increases, the fallow period by necessity declines. The principal vulnerability is the nutrient-poor soil, pervasive in most tropical forests. When biomass is extracted even for one harvest of wood or charcoal, the residual soil value is heavily diminished for further growth of any type of vegetation.

Sometimes there are several cycles of slash-and-burn within a few years' time span. For example, in eastern Madagascar, the following scenario occurs commonly. The first wave might be cutting of all trees for wood use. A few years later, saplings are harvested to make charcoal, and within the next year the plot is burned to create a quick flush of nutrients for grass to feed the family zebu cattle. If adjacent plots are treated in a similar fashion, large-scale erosion will usually ensue, since there are no roots or temporary water storage in nearby canopies to arrest the surface runoff. Thus, any small remaining amounts of nutrients are washed away. The area is an example of desertification, and no further growth of any type may arise for generations.

The ecological ramifications of the above scenario are further magnified, because tropical forests are habitats for extremely biologically diverse ecosystems, typically containing large numbers of endemic and endangered species. Therefore, the role of slash-and-burn is significant in the current Holocene extinction.

Slash-and-char is an alternative that alleviates some of the negative ecological implications of traditional slash-and-burn techniques. However, the endgame - unsustainability - is the same as for slash-and-burn.


Slash And Burn, Isalo National Park

Isalo National Park, Madagascar

See also


  1. ^ a b "Agricultural burning". The Encyclopedia of World Problems. Archived from the original on 22 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b Cornell, Joseph D. (31 January 2007). "Slash and burn". Encyclopedia of Earth.
  3. ^ "Slash-and-burn agriculture". Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  4. ^ EcoLogic Development Fund. "Slash and Burn Agriculture".
  5. ^ Choudhury, Sanjoy (March–April 2010). "Jhum". Geography and You. Vol. 10 no. 59. Archived from the original on 4 March 2019.CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  6. ^ Disha Experts (2018). 1500+ MCQs with Explanatory Notes For Geography, Ecology & Environment. Disha Publications. p. 130.
  7. ^ Skegg, Martin (24 September 2011). "TV highlights 27/09/2011". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 March 2017.
  8. ^ Kettler, J. S. (1996-08-01). "Fallow enrichment of a traditional slash/mulch system in southern Costa Rica: comparisons of biomass production and crop yield". Agroforestry Systems. 35 (2): 165–176. doi:10.1007/BF00122777. ISSN 0167-4366.
  9. ^ Biederman, L. A. (31 December 2012). "Biochar and its effects on plant productivity and nutrient cycling: a meta-analysis". GCB Bioenergy. 5 (2): 202–214. doi:10.1111/gcbb.12037.
  10. ^ Elkan, Daniel (21 April 2004). "Fired with ambition". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 March 2019.
  11. ^ Jaime Awe, Maya Cities and Sacred Caves, Cu bola Books (2006)
  12. ^ "Best Management Practices for Wood Ash as Agricultural Soil Amendment" (PDF).
  13. ^ "Slash and Burn Agriculture | EcoLogic Development Fund". Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  14. ^ Clark J.G.D. 1952, Farming: Clearance and Cultivation II Prehistoric Europe: The Economic Basis, Cambridge.
  15. ^ Semple E.C.1931, Ancient Mediterranean Forests and the Lumber Trade, vol. II., p. 261-296. Henry Holt et al., The Geography of the Mediterranean Region, New York.
  16. ^ Homer, e.g., Iliad XIII.11–13, Odyssey IX.22–24.
  17. ^ Darby, H.C., 1950, Domesday Woodland II Economic History Review, 2d ser.,III, London; Darby, H.C., 1956, The clearing of the Woodland in Europe II, p 186.
  18. ^ Perkins and Marvin, Ex Editione Oberliniana, Harvard College Library, 1840 (Xxvi, 15–23).
  19. ^ Arenander E.O. 1923, Germanemas jordbrukskultur ornkring KristifØdelse // Berattelse over Det Nordiska Arkeologmotet i Stockholm 1922, Stockholm.
  20. ^ "U.S. Department of Agriculture Lacey Act Guidance". USDA APHIS. October 26, 2011.
  21. ^ Stewart O.C. 1956, Fire as the First Great Force Employed by Man, II. Thomas W.L. Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth, Chicago.
  22. ^ Zwingle, E. (January 2005), "Italy before the Romans", National Geographic
  23. ^ Late antique writers commonly used Getae for Goths mixing the peoples in the process.
  24. ^ G. Costa, 32. Also: De Rebus Geticis: O. Seyffert, 329; De Getarum (Gothorum) Origine et Rebus Gestis: W. Smith, vol 2 page 607
  25. ^ Alexander, Andrew C. Scott, David M.J.S. Bowman, William J. Bond, Stephen J. Pyne, Martin E. (2013). Fire on Earth : An Introduction. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons Inc. p. 287. ISBN 978-1118570715.
  26. ^ Pyne, Stephen J. (1997). World Fire : The Culture of Fire on Earth (Pbk. ed.). Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-0295975931.
  27. ^ Svedjebruk.Hedmark 2010.Foreword by Ragnhild Queseth Haarstad Styreleder i Norsk Skogfinsk Museum. ISBN 978-82-93036-00-5.
  28. ^ "Slash and Burn Agriculture – An Overview of Slash and Burn". Retrieved 2013-06-22.
  29. ^ "Blog Archive » Farmer Power: The Continuing Confrontation between Subsistence Farmers and Development Bureaucrats". 2010-12-02. Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2013-06-22.
  30. ^ "Telkkämäki Nature Reserve". 2013-05-14. Archived from the original on 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2013-06-22.
  31. ^ "Jhum".
  32. ^ TI Trade (2011-01-17). "The Assam Tribune Online". Retrieved 2013-06-22.
  33. ^ Tony Waters, The Persistence of Subsistence Agriculture. Lexington Books (2007), p. 48.
  34. ^ "The Forest Buddies". Archived from the original on 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2015-12-16.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

External links

Agriculture in Laos

At least 5 million hectares of Laos's total land area of 23,680,000 hectares are suitable for cultivation (about 21 percent). 17 percent of this land area (between 850,000 and 900,000 hectares) is actually cultivated, less than 4 percent of the total area.Rice accounted for about 80 percent of cultivated land during the 1989-90 growing season, including 422,000 hectares of lowland wet rice and 223,0 hectares of upland rice. This demonstrates that although there is interplanting of upland crops and fish are found in fields, irrigated rice agriculture remains basically a monoculture system despite government efforts to encourage crop diversification.

Cultivated land area had increased by about 6 percent from 1975-77 but in 1987 only provided citizens with less than one-fourth of a hectare each, given a population of approximately 3.72 million in 1986. In addition to land under cultivation, about 800,000 hectares are used for pastureland or contain ponds for raising fish. Pastureland is rotated, and its use is not fixed over a long period of time.

Agriculture in Myanmar

Agriculture in Myanmar (also known as Burma) is the main industry in the country, accounting for 60 percent of the GDP and employing some 65 percent of the labour force. Burma was once Asia's largest exporter of rice, and rice remains the country's most crucial agricultural commodity.Other main crops include pulses, beans, sesame, groundnuts, sugarcane, lumber, and fish. Moreover, livestock are raised as both a source of food and labour.


The Aparai or Apalai are an indigenous people of Brazil, who live in Amapá and Pará states. A little community is located in French Guiana, in Antecume Pata. They were sedentary slash-and-burn farmers, necessitating periodic relocation as soil became exhausted, but also hunters and gatherers. They spoke a Carib language and in the 20th century their subsistence shifted towards craftwork as they adapted to modern Brazil and the cash economy.


Auaké is a Native South American nation of the Amazon rainforest of Venezuela and Brazil. They were sedentary slash-and-burn farmers, which requires periodic relocation as soil becomes exhausted, and were also hunters, fishers and gatherers. They spoke Arutani. Heavily influenced culturally by the Carib, they adopted agriculture sometime after the 16th century, and further acculturation followed European contact. They are found along the Paraguay River and are now considered a subgroup of the Shiriana people. In 1998 they numbered just 30 in Venezuela and 22 native language speakers in Brazil.


Chitemene (also spelled citemene), from the ciBemba word meaning “place where branches have been cut for a garden”, is a system of slash and burn agriculture practiced throughout northern Zambia. It involves coppicing or pollarding of standing trees in a primary or secondary growth Miombo woodland, stacking of the cut biomass, and eventual burning of the cut biomass in order to create a thicker layer of ash than would be possible with in situ burning. Crops such as maize, finger millet, sorghum, or cassava are then planted in the burned area.

Deforestation in Laos

Deforestation in Laos is a major environmental concern, with Laos losing forest area to legal and illegal logging.

Deforestation in Madagascar

Deforestation in Madagascar is an ongoing environmental issue. Deforestation creates agricultural or pastoral land but can also result in desertification, water resource degradation, biodiversity erosion and habitat loss, and soil loss.

It has been noticed that Madagascar has lost 80 or 90% of its 'original' or 'pre-human' forest cover, but this claim is difficult to prove and is not supported by evidence. What is certain is that the arrival of humans on Madagascar some 2000+ years ago began a process of fire, cultivation, logging and grazing that has reduced forest cover. Industrial forest exploitation during the Merina monarchy and French colonialism contributed to forest loss. Evidence from air photography and remote sensing suggest that by c. 2000, around 40% to 50% of the forest cover present in 1950 was lost. Current hotspots for deforestation include dry forests in the southwest being converted for maize cultivation and rain forests in the northeast exploited for tropical hardwoods.Primary causes of forest loss include slash-and-burn for agricultural land (a practice known locally as tavy) and for pasture, selective logging for precious woods or construction material, the collection of fuel wood (including charcoal production), and in certain sites, forest clearing for mining.

Environmental issues in Senegal

Senegal's environmental issues are varied. According to the CIA world factbook pressing problems exist with: diminishing wildlife populations which are threatened by poaching, deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, desertification, and overfishing.In 2006, Senegal still had 45.1% —or about 8,673,000 hectares of forest with 18.4% — or roughly 1,598,000 hectares — classified as primary forest.

Already in 2007 it was remarked that Senegal is losing 350,000 hectares of forest per year through slash-and-burn for farming because of its rapidly growing population.

As one of the consequences, about 13% of the land - holding about 22% of the population - are now considered degraded.

In 2016, it was warned that the Casamance forest cover would have vanished by 2018, if illegal logging continued.

Forest Finns

Forest Finns (Finnish: Metsäsuomalaiset, Norwegian bokmål: Skogfinner, Norwegian nynorsk: Skogfinnar, Swedish: Skogsfinnar) were Finnish migrants from Savonia and Northern Tavastia in Finland who settled in forest areas of Sweden proper and Norway during the late 16th and early-to-mid-17th centuries, and traditionally pursued slash-and-burn agriculture, a method used for turning forests into farmlands. By the late 18th century, the Forest Finns had become largely assimilated into the Swedish and Norwegian cultures, and their language, a variety of Savonian Finnish, is today extinct, although it survived among a tiny minority until the 20th century.


The indri ( (listen); Indri indri), also called the babakoto, is one of the largest living lemurs, with a head-and-body length of about 64–72 cm (25–28 in) and a weight of between 6 to 9.5 kg (13 to 21 lb). It has a black and white coat and maintains an upright posture when climbing or clinging. It is monogamous and lives in small family groups, moving through the canopy, and is purely herbivorous, feeding mainly on leaves but also seeds, fruits, and flowers. The groups are quite vocal, communicating with other groups by singing, roaring and other vocalisations.

It is a diurnal tree-dweller related to the sifakas and, like all lemurs, it is native to Madagascar. It is revered by the Malagasy people and plays an important part in their myths and legends with various stories in existence accounting for its origin. The main threats faced by the indri are habitat destruction and fragmentation due to slash and burn agriculture, fuelwood gathering, and logging. It is also hunted despite taboos against this. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as "critically endangered".

Mian people

The Mian people (Mianmin) are a people living in the Telefomin district of the Sandaun province in Papua New Guinea. The number of Mian is 3,500, based on the number of speakers of their language, Mian.

The Mian are living in small villages in mountainous areas with rainforest and rivers; conditions which makes transport very limited, almost only restricted to walking, which however have helped them retaining their traditional way of life, based on hunting and agriculture, including slash-and-burn. They grow sweet potatoes, sago, bananas, pineapples, breadfruits, pawpaw, sugarcanes, pumpkins and squashes, and in more recent times, also oranges, tomatoes, beans, peanuts and coconuts. Animals they hunt and catch include pigs, cassowaries, birds, fish, snakes and small reptiles. Hunting is exclusively for men, while the women are normally the ones preparing the food.

Nepenthes barcelonae

Nepenthes barcelonae is a tropical pitcher plant native to the Philippine island of Luzon. It is known from a single mountain in the Sierra Madre range of Aurora Province, where it grows in stunted submontane forest.The specific epithet barcelonae honours Julie F. Barcelona, who discovered the species in February 2014 together with Danilo Tandang and Pieter B. Pelser..

Nepenthes barcelonae inhabits stunted submontane forest at altitudes of 1500-1700 m a.s.l. in the Sierra Madre Mts of Luzon, Philippines. The specific type locality was not included in the species description to prevent pressures upon wild populations by hobbyists. Four species have been described from the northern Visayas and Luzon, of which two are found on Luzon; the closely allied Nepenthes ventricosa, which is widespread across the island, and Nepenthes alzapan. Under Criterion B2ab(iii) of IUCN 2014, the species is assessed informally as critically endangered by the authors - it is found from a single location, with an area of occupancy and extent of occurrence less than 10km². In addition, it is threatened by the collection of plants, and the encroachment of habitat degradation, namely slash and burn agriculture and illegal logging, which were present at lower elevations.

San Chay people

The San Chay people (Vietnamese: Người Sán Chay; also called Cao Lan) live in Tuyên Quang Province of the Northeast region of Vietnam, as well as some nearby provinces. They speak a form of Tai languages. Their population was 169,410 in 2009.

Many live in remote areas, using slash-and-burn agriculture because those areas are not flat enough for paddy rice production.They sing sình cồ (love songs) and celebrate the Slếch thlin mảy festival (New Rice festival).

Shifting cultivation

Shifting cultivation is an agricultural system in which plots of land are cultivated temporarily, then abandoned and allowed to revert to their natural vegetation while the cultivator moves on to another plot. The period of cultivation is usually terminated when the soil shows signs of exhaustion or, more commonly, when the field is overrun by weeds. The length of time that a field is cultivated is usually shorter than the period over which the land is allowed to regenerate by lying fallow. This technique is often used in LEDCs (Less Economically Developed Countries) or LICs (Low Income Countries). In some areas, cultivators use a practice of slash-and-burn as one element of their farming cycle. Others employ land clearing without any burning, and some cultivators are purely migratory and do not use any cyclical method on a given plot. Sometimes no slashing at all is needed where regrowth is purely of grasses, an outcome not uncommon when soils are near exhaustion and need to lie fallow.

In shifting agriculture, after two or three years of producing vegetable and grain crops on cleared land, the migrants abandon it for another plot. Land is often cleared by slash-and-burn methods—trees, bushes and forests are cleared by slashing, and the remaining vegetation is burnt. The ashes add potash to the soil. Then the seeds are sown after the rains.


Slash-and-char is an alternative to slash-and-burn that has a lesser effect on the environment. It is the practice of charring the biomass resulting from the slashing, instead of burning it. The resulting residue matter charcoal can be utilized as biochar to improve the soil fertility.In that context, charcoal can be made by numerous and varied methods, from the simplest (an earth cover on the pile of wood, with strategically placed vents) to the most sophisticated (a modern equipment or plant that recuperates and processes strictly all exhaust gases into pyroligneous acid and syngas).

Slash-and-char offers considerable benefits to the environment when compared to slash-and-burn.It results in the creation of biochar, which can then be mixed with biomass such as crop residues, food waste, or manure, and buried in the soil to bring about the formation of terra preta. Terra preta is one of the richest soils on the planet – and the only one known to regenerate itself.

It moreover sequesters considerable quantities of carbon in the safest and most beneficial fashion, as opposite to the negative effects of the slash-and-burn. Switching to slash-and-char can sequester up to 50% of the carbon in a highly stable form.

The nascent carbon trading market that sponsors CO2 sequestration projects, could therefore help supplement the farmers' income while supporting a decrease in the pace of deforestation and the development of a more sustainable agriculture.


Svedjebruk is a Swedish term for slash-and-burn agriculture that is derived from the Old Norse word sviða which means "to burn". This practice originated in Russia in the region of Novgorod and was widespread in Finland and Eastern Sweden during the Medieval period. It spread to western Sweden in the 16th Century when Finnish settlers were encouraged to migrate there by King Gustav Vasa to help clear the dense forests. Later, when the Finns were persecuted by the local Swedes, svedjebruk farming was spread by refugees to Eastern Norway in the Eastern part of Solør, in the area bordering Sweden known as Finnskogen ("the Finnish woods").

The practice also spread to New Sweden in North America. Reinforced by the use of fire in agriculture and hunting by Native Americans, it became an important part of pioneering in America (Pyne, 1997:470).

Telkkämäki Nature Reserve

The Telkkämäki Nature Reserve (in Finnish: Telkkämäen luonnonsuojelualue or Telkkämäen kaskiperinnetila) is an open-air museum and a heritage farm in the municipality of Kaavi, in the Northern Savonia region of Finland. It covers one square kilometer (0.39 sq mi).

The reserve was established in 1989, allowing visitors to see how people lived and farmed when slash-and-burn agriculture was practiced in Eastern Finland in the 15th century. Some areas of Telkkämäki are still burned annually.

The area is managed by a state-owned enterprise, Metsähallitus, which manages most of the protected areas in Finland.


Yeongseo (Korean pronunciation: [jʌŋ.sʌ], Korean pronunciation: [ɾjɔŋ.sɔ]) is the western, inland region of Gangwon Province, South Korea and Kangwon Province, North Korea. It is divided from the coastal Yeongdong region by the Taebaek Mountains. The name yeongseo reflects this distinction; it literally means “west of the passes”. The region is marked by high plateaus and mountains, with deep valleys. The Han and Nakdong Rivers both have their headwaters in this region. Agriculture in Yeongseo was traditionally carried out by slash-and-burn methods, but in modern times this has largely been replaced by other techniques, including high-altitude shiitake farming.

Łazy, Bielsko County

Łazy [ˈwazɨ] is a village in Gmina Jasienica, Bielsko County, Silesian Voivodeship, southern Poland. It has a population of 903 (2016). It lies in the Silesian Foothills and in the historical region of Cieszyn Silesia.

The name is cultural in origin and commonly found in Slavic languages denoting an arable area obtained by slash-and-burn technique.

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