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Cut and Burn: Alternative tools to the use of fire in agriculture

Slash and Burn Agriculture

“Slash-and-burn agriculture has been practiced for thousands of years in the planet's forested areas, mainly in tropical regions. Its practice involves a range of techniques that denote its diversified and itinerant character., taking advantage of the energy capital of the forest in recovery.

Many studies attest to the sustainability of these systems when traditionally practiced and under low population densities, keeping, or same, promoting local biodiversity and ensuring the livelihoods of many poor rural populations.

Nonetheless, the role that slash-and-burn agriculture has been playing in deforestation and other environmental and socioeconomic impacts is growing in academic literature and in political debate.. This process is a consequence of changes in land use, agricultural intensification and population increase that, are changing practices and compromising the sustainability of these traditional agricultural systems.

In the wake of these concerns, this study provides a review of the topic in the literature with the aim of drawing an overview of what has been produced so far., identify the main theoretical currents involved and point out the alternatives proposed for its maintenance.” [1]

The project “Cut and Burn”

The National Institute of Science and Technology (INCT) Biodiversity and Land Use in the Amazon launched, in 2013, five videos about fire in the Amazon, titled “Cut and Burn”, in partnership with the Lancaster Environment Center, from England.

The videos discuss how Brazilian farmers use fire as a tool in agriculture, the problems arising from this practice and what alternatives can be adopted.

The episodes are part of the research UK-Brasil: “Human Dimensions of Accidental Burning: connecting research with environmental education to reduce accidental burning in the Amazon”.

the fire in agriculture

Accidental fire has been increasingly frequent in the Amazon due to the expansion of agriculture and severe drought. These fires threaten biodiversity and contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases.

Reducing these fires is essential to protect the future of the Amazon and mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

The project aims to reduce the prevalence of fires in the Amazon, connecting the social and natural sciences, through environmental education and training.

The audiovisual series is a result of the Human Dimensions of Wildfires project: Linking Research and Environmental Education to Reduce Amazonian Wildfires. The video was directed by Tania Cypriano (Viva! Films) with the collaboration of INCT researchers Luke Perry (Lancaster University, England) e Jos Barlow (Lancaster University and Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi).

Check out the five videos in full here:

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[1] JUNIOR, Nelson Novaes Pedroso; MURRIETA, Rui Sérgio Sereni and ADAMS, Cristina.Slash and burn agriculture: a changing system. He was. Mus. For. Emilio Goeldi Cienc. Hum. [online]. 2008, vol.3, n.2 [cited 2017-10-29], pp.153-174. Available in: <http://scielo.iec.pa.gov.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1981-81222008000200003&lng = pt&nrm=iso>. ISSN 1981-8122.