Which environmental problems occur as a result of slash-and-burn agriculture

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  • Deforestation. One of the disadvantages of using slash and burn agriculture is deforestation. …
  • Endangered species. Numerous species of insects, animals, and plants which were adapted to that particular rainforest are in danger due to slash and burn agriculture.
  • The quality of the soil. …
  • Erosion. …
  • Local community. …

Slash and burn agriculture also results in significant soil erosion and accompanying landslides, water contamination, and/or dust clouds, as without trees and vegetation and their root systems, soil washes away during heavy rains and blows away during droughts.

How does slash and burn agriculture contribute to environmental problems?

How this agricultural practice can contribute to environmental problems. Geography. Slash and burn agriculture is the process of cutting down the vegetation in a particular plot of land, setting fire to the remaining foliage, and using the ashes to provide nutrients to the soil for the use of planting food crops.

When vegetation has grown again the slash and burn process may occur?

When vegetation has grown again, the slash and burn process may be repeated. Slash and burn agriculture is most often practiced in places where open land for farming is not readily available because of dense vegetation.

How does slash-and-burn deforestation affect the environment?

Although traditional practices generally contributed few greenhouse gases because of their scale, modern slash-and-burn techniques are a significant source of carbon dioxide emissions, especially when used to initiate permanent deforestation.

What is another name for slash and burn agriculture?

The cleared area following slash and burn, also known as swidden, is used for a relatively short period of time, and then left alone for a longer period of time so that vegetation can grow again. For this reason, this type of agriculture is also known as shifting cultivation.

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What is the disadvantage of slash and burn agriculture?

The major disadvantage of this method is deforestation. Though the ashes may increases the soil fertility, it may remain fertile for only a short span of time. After which the farmer has to search a new land, uproot the trees and proceed with farming.


Does slash-and-burn damage the environment?

Recent decades have seen a dramatic increase in tropical deforestation caused by slash-and-burn clearing for the establishment of more permanent agriculture, plantations and pastures, which often result in degraded grasslands or degraded fallows.


What environmental problems does agriculture cause?

Agriculture contributes to a number larger of environmental issues that cause environmental degradation including: climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, dead zones, genetic engineering, irrigation problems, pollutants, soil degradation, and waste.


What is an example of slash and burn agriculture?

Slash-and-burn agriculture is often used by tropical-forest root-crop farmers in various parts of the world, for animal grazing in South and Central America, and by dry-rice cultivators in the forested hill country of Southeast Asia. The ash provides some fertilization, and the plot is relatively free of weeds.


What effects would slash-and-burn agriculture have on the carbon cycle?

When people clear the forests, usually with fire, carbon stored in the wood returns to the atmosphere, enhancing the greenhouse effect and global warming. Once the forest is cleared for crop or grazing land, the soils can become a large source of carbon emissions, depending on how farmers and ranchers manage the land.


How does slash-and-burn affect climate change?

Forests are still being cut down and burned to clear land for farming, ranching, and road building. Slash-and-burn contributes to climate change by releasing all the carbon that the forest trees have absorbed over their lifetimes.


How did slash and burn farming work?

Slash and burn agriculture is a widely used method of growing food in which wild or forested land is clear cut and any remaining vegetation burned. The resulting layer of ash provides the newly-cleared land with a nutrient-rich layer to help fertilize crops.


How does farming destroy the environment?

Factory farming pollutes environments, contaminating the natural world with a range of potentially lethal toxins. Cramming so many animals together means a lot of manure. Animal waste can be useful on a small scale, but potentially catastrophic in large quantities.


How do agricultural wastes harm the environment?

In many parts in developing countries, agricultural solid wastes are indiscriminately dumped or burnt in public places, thereby resulting in the generation of air pollution, soil contamination, a harmful gas, smoke and dust and the residue may be channeled into a water source thereby polluting the water and aquatic …


How does slash and burn affect soil fertility?

Milpa has been widely related with slash-and-burn farming, which today is considered an unsustainable practice that decreases soil fertility in the long term. Particularly, burning increases soil pH and drastically decreases soil organic matter, which was confirmed in the present study.


What is slash and burn agriculture?

Slash and burn agriculture is the process of cutting down the vegetation in a particular plot of land, setting fire to the remaining foliage, and using the ashes to provide nutrients to the soil for the use of planting food crops. The cleared area following slash and burn, also known as swidden, …


Where is slash and burn farming practiced?

These regions include central Africa, northern South America, and Southeast Asia. Such farming is typically done within grasslands and rainforests .


How long has slash and burn been around?

Humans have practiced this method for about 12,000 years, ever since the transition known as the Neolithic Revolution—the time when humans stopped hunting and gathering and started to stay put and grow crops. Today, between 200 and 500 million people use slash and burn agriculture, roughly 7% of the world’s population.


What are the negative aspects of slash and burn?

They include: Deforestation: When practiced by large populations, or when fields are not given sufficient time for vegetation to grow back, there is a temporary or permanent loss of forest cover.


Why is slash and burn important?

Slash and burn allows people to farm in places where it usually is not possible because of dense vegetation, soil infertility, low soil nutrient content, uncontrollable pests, or other reasons .


How to slash and burn?

Generally, the following steps are taken in slash and burn agriculture: Prepare the field by cutting down vegetation; plants that provide food or timber may be left standing. The downed vegetation is allowed to dry until just before the rainiest part of the year to ensure an effective burn.


What is the term for clearing a land after a slash and burn?

The cleared area following slash and burn, also known as swidden, is used for a relatively short period of time, and then left alone for a longer period of time so that vegetation can grow again. For this reason, this type of agriculture is also known as shifting cultivation.


Where is slash and burn used?

Slash-and-burn agriculture is often used by tropical-forest root-crop farmers in various parts of the world and by dry-rice cultivators of the forested hill country of Southeast Asia. The ash provides some fertilization, and the plot is relatively free of weeds. After several years of cultivation, fertility declines and weeds increase.


What happens after a year of cultivation?

After several years of cultivation, fertility declines and weeds increase. Traditionally, the area was left fallow and reverted to a secondary forest of bush. Cultivation would then shift to a new plot. After about a decade the old site could be reused.


What is the cause of air pollution in Southeast Asia?

In Southeast Asia, slash-and-burn agriculture for oil palm cultivation has been a major source of annual air pollution from smoke. ( See also shifting agriculture .) Slash-and-burn forest clearing in the Amazon.


Where did swidden farming originate?

Swidden production, also known as slash-and-burn agriculture, was practiced from temperate eastern North America to the tropical lowlands of South America. Field fertility in swidden systems resulted from the burning of trees and shrubs in order to add nutrients to the soil. Such systems had high ecological diversity, thus providing…


Does slash and burn produce carbon dioxide?

Although traditional practices generally contributed few greenhouse gases because of their scale, modern slash-and-burn techniques are a significant source of carbon dioxide emissions, especially when used to initiate permanent deforestation. In Southeast Asia, slash-and- burn agriculture for oil palm cultivation has been a major source …


How does burning affect the atmosphere?

Burning emits large amounts of matter into the atmosphere. Large aerosol particles from burning vegetation spend a short time in the atmosphere but may effectively increase the infra-red re-radiation from the lower atmosphere. Small particles remain for periods which may be as long as several weeks or even years in the upper troposphere. Extensive savanna fires during the dry season lead to heavy dust concentrations in the atmosphere which may even spread into the region of the perhumid equatorial forest. The net effect of smoke pollution at ground surface may be cooling or warming depending on the direction of changes of the surface albedo and on the absorption coefficient of the particles in the atmosphere. Burning also releases nutrients, especially nitrogen, into the atmosphere and into the soil water. Eventually part of the latter will enter the drainage system and be lost. The fate of the former is more complicated and little understood.


What is shifting cultivation?

The traditional form of shifting cultivation that has been practised for aeons is in equilibrium with the rainforest environment. It is based upon nutrient cycling and the management of weeds and pests through fallows. The influx of large numbers of migrants to the rainforest results in a form of slash-and-burn that is out of balance with this environment and which ultimately turns into a variety of forms of unsustainable agriculture.


Why is fire used in the tropics?

Fire is used extensively in the tropics for the destruction of forests. The objectives of burning are site clearing for shifting cultivation, bush and weed control, hunting, grazing, and often simply for fun.


What is the difference between slash and burn and shifting cultivation?

Variants of this system are known as swidden in Africa, as caingin in the Philippines, as milpa in Central America, and by other local names elsewhere. The major difference between the slash-and-burn system and shifting cultivation is in the length of time for which the land is used for agriculture. In the slash-and-burn system, the conversion is long-term, often permanent. Shifting cultivation is a more ephemeral use of the land for cultivation.


What is slash and burn?

Slash-and-burn is an agricultural system used in tropical countries, in which a forest is cut, the debris is burned, and the land is then used to grow crops. Slash-and-burn conversions are relatively stable and long-term in nature. However, they are the leading cause of tropical deforestation.


How does shifting cultivation work?

Shifting cultivation begins when a small area of tropical forest, typically less than one to several acres, is cleared of trees and shrubs by an individual farmer. The biomass is burned, and the site is then used to grow a mixture of agricultural crops for a few years. After this time, vigorous developments of weeds and declining fertility due to nutrient losses require that the land be abandoned for afallow period of 15 to 30 years or more. Meanwhile new tracts of forest are successively cleared and cultivated for several years. Clearly, the shifting cultivation system is only sustainable if the population density is small, and if the major goal of agriculture is subsistence, rather than market farming.


What happens when you burn a tree?

particularly in trees. When these trees are felled and burned, there is a pulse of increased nutrient availability associated with ash. However, this is a short-term phenomenon and much of the nutrients are rapidly leached or washed away under the influence of the wet climate. The overall effect of slash-and-burn forest conversions, and to a lesser degree shifting cultivation, is a rapid decline in fertility of the land.


How does deforestation affect the environment?

Tropical deforestation also carries other important environmental risks. Tropical forests store huge quantities of carbon in their living biomass, especially in trees. When tropical forests are converted into agriculture, much less carbon is stored on the land, and the difference is made up by a large emission of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. During the past several decades, tropical deforestation and the use of fossil fuels have been the major causes of the increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, which may have important implications for global climatic warming. In addition, old-growth tropical forests are the most highly developed and biodiverse ecosystems on the Earth. Tropical deforestation, mostly caused by slash-and-burn agriculture, is the major cause of the great wave of extinction that is presently afflicting Earth ’ s biodiversity.


What is the process of degrading tropical soil?

In addition, some tropical soils are subject to a degrading process known as laterization, in which mineral silicates are dissolved by rainwater and carried downward, leaving behind insoluble oxides of iron and aluminum. Lateritic soils are very infertile, and in extreme cases can become rock like in consistency. Once this stage of degradation is reached, it can be impossible to cultivate the land because it is too hard to plow, and plant roots cannot penetrate into the substrate. The rate of laterization is greatly increased by clearing the tropical forest, and in cases of extreme damage by this process, the productive capability of the land can remain degraded for centuries.


When is slash and burn used?

Usually, some type of slash-and-burn system is used when extensive areas of tropical forest are converted into large scale, industrial agriculture, usually intended to supply commodities for an export market, rather than for local use. The slash-and-burn system is also widely used by individual, poor farmers when they develop agricultural land for subsistence farming and to supply cash goods to a local market. The poor farmers operate on a smaller scale, but there are many such people, so that huge areas are ultimately affected.


What are the problems caused by slash and burn agriculture?

The use of slash and burn agriculture causes a lot of problems like the loss of habitat and species, deforestation and climate change. Deforestation is a direct consequence when farmers cut down forests for cropland. Due to the loss of forest, more and more carbon dioxide accumulates into the atmosphere, contributing to global climate change.


What is slash and burn agriculture?

Slash and burn agriculture is a method that farmers use to grow food in areas where forestall or wildland is clear-cut, and they burn the remaining vegetation. The new layer of ash that covers the land will be a nutrient-rich layer for the future crops that will grow there. Nevertheless, when using this method, …


Why are tropical rainforests in danger?

Numerous species of insects, animals, and plants which were adapted to that particular rainforest are in danger due to slash and burn agriculture. After the trees and vegetation burn, these species lose their home. The tropical rainforest in Indonesia fosters a unique range of biodiversity. Therefore, the slash and burn practices affect …


What is the impact of slash and burn in Indonesia?

Therefore, the slash and burn practices affect a wide number of species which rely on the food and protection of native trees. Unfortunately, some of the most amazing creatures in the world live in the rainforest, and they are in jeopardy.


Why is slash and burn bad?

These issues occur due to irresponsible practices used by a massive amount of people leaving near rainforests.


How long has slash and burn been used?

Humans had used this practice for 12,000 years when humans stopped hunting and gathering, and they started to grow crops. Nowadays, about 7% of the global population uses slash and burn agriculture today. This type of agriculture provides numerous communities with a source of food and income. Hence, by using this method, people are able …


Why do people farm in areas that they cannot?

Hence, by using this method, people are able to farm in areas where they usually cannot due to dense vegetation, uncontrollable pests, soil infertility, low soil nutrient content.


What is slash and burn agriculture?

The foliage is in the way of any would-be agriculture and so it must be cleared before anything can be planted. So, the foliage is slashed: it is cut down. Something then needs to be done with the cut foliage so that it is out of the way. It could be taken off this area of land and put somewhere else, but this is not what is done. Instead, it is burned on the same area of land which it was previously growing in – the same land which is to be planted on. It is burned here because the burning process releases nutrients which then fertilize the soil. So, the slash and burn process successfully clears land for agriculture and introduces fertilizing nutrients into the soil, leaving it in excellent condition to grow crops.


Why is the slash and burn process important?

It is burned here because the burning process releases nutrients which then fertilize the soil. So, the slash and burn process successfully clears land for agriculture and introduces fertilizing nutrients into the soil,


Why do crops rotate?

They might be able to rotate crops, if different crops will remove different nutrients from the soil and also put other nutrients back into the soil. (For example, grain crops like wheat and maize take nitrogen from the soil, whereas legume crops like beans and peanuts put nitrogen into the soil.)


What happens when there is a lot of population growth in an area?

It means that a given section of land does not have enough time to regrows fully before a farmer needs it again. As a result, more and more land is cleared. This can contribute to major deforestation across broad regions.


Do crops have access to nutrients?

The crops in the first growing season have full access to all of the nutrients, but the crops in subsequent growing seasons only have access to whatever nutrients are left over from previous growing seasons. Farmers on this land then face some difficult choices.


Can farmers relocate to new land?

Finally, the farmers can relocate to new land, repeating the slash and burn process. In practice, this last option – slashing and burning more land – is often what happens. This can result in vast areas of land being taken up, as farmers go from one area to the next. However, after an area has been left alone for enough time, …


Is slash and burn agriculture a human environment?

We can now start to see slash & burn agriculture as a human-environment system. All of the different phenomena discussed above, from the soil nutrients to the urban migration, are all interrelated.

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