agriculture review

How Does Slash & Burn Farming Impact Agriculture

by aditya abhishek

Slash & Burn Agriculture

Also known as as shifting cultivation, is a method of farming in which farmers clear a piece of land by slashing vegetation & burning the debris. 


The slash & burn farming system is believed to have started more than 8000 years ago and is still prevalent in some parts of the world.


Practicing slash and burn farming has multiple impacts on agriculture and the environment and these are the major impacts due to slash and burn agriculture.

Soil Fertility

Initially burning vegetation results in the improvement of soil fertility due to the presence of nutrients in the ashes. But it is short-lived & leads to poor soil fertility over time. 

Biodiversity Loss

The land is cleared by cutting down forests which affects plant and animal species that depend on these habitats resulting in loss of biodiversity. 

Climate Change

The burning of vegetation releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere & deforestation reduces the number of trees, thus it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. 

Water Quality

Soil erosion caused by the absence of vegetation can lead to sedimentation in nearby water bodies. It affects water quality & aquatic ecosystem. 

Economic Sustainability 

The fertility of the land declines rapidly due to practicing slash and burn farming, thus it can affect the long-term food production system required to sustain the economy. 

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