Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Slash-and-Burn Agriculture

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_87



Slash-and-burn agriculture (Peters and Neuenschwander 1988; Palm et al. 2005), also called swidden (Mertz et al. 2009) or shifting agriculture or cultivation (Nye and Greenland 1960; Robison and McKean 1992; Aweto 2013), typically refers to land uses where a cropping period is rotated with a fallow period that is long enough to enable the growing of dense, woody vegetation and where the biomass is eliminated from the plot by cutting, slashing, and burning it, prior to the next cultivation cycle. It is generally considered an extensive land use, maintained through time by expansion over uncultivated land following population growth (extensification), in contrast with more intensive land uses, where the biomass is incorporated to the soil through plowing or other practices. It encompasses a great variety of systems (Schlippe 1956; Conklin 1957; Miracle 1968; Rappaport 1984; Dove 1985; Fresco 1986; Ramakrishnan 1992;...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Responsive Forest Governance Initiative, Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy, Department of Geography and Geographic Information ScienceUniversity of IllinoisChampaignUSA