Slash and Burn • The two key components of slash and burn agriculture are the use of fire to prepare fields for cultivation and the subsequent abandonment of those fields as productivity declines.
Slash and Burn #1 • The inevitable decline in productivity is a result of the depletion of soil nutrients and also a result of the invasion of weeds and pests. • Fields are allowed to return to a more natural state as native plant and tree species reclaim the field. • Over time soil nutrient levels can recover to pre-disturbance levels.
Slash and Burn #2 • In 2006, 200-500 million people practiced slash and burn agriculture around the world.
Slash and Burn #3 • If done properly, it can provide people with a secure source of food and income and has been shown to be sustainable over long periods of time. • If done improperly, slash and burn agriculture can quickly degrade large areas of forest which do not recover.
Slash and Burn #3 • In the tropics (ex. Brazil) slash and burn agriculture is linked with rapid loss of forest cover in the Amazon. However, the problem is not the method, but the rapid increase in population in these regions coupled with limited knowledge and resources to effectively use this method.
Slash and Burn #5 • The problems related to agriculture within Latin America are linked with rapid population growth. • slash and burn agriculture cannot provide a solution for the rapid population growth occurring in many tropical countries. Instead, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on finding so-called alternatives to slash and burn agriculture.