Slash and Burn is a type of farming used by Indian/farmers in the rain forests of South America and it damages the rain forest badly. Slashing and burning is usually used by poor farmers. The farmers cut and clear a small or large area in the rain forest. Then they burn the area they cut and the ash is used as a "poor man's fertilizer". The ash is good for the crops for a few years. After 2 or 3 years the soil is poor again and the farmers have to move on to another area of rain forest. Most people believe the soil in the rain forest is really good, but actually it is poor and once the land is cleared not much comes back. The rain forest will take about 200 years to completely return to its original state. This type of farming is very impractical and not sustainable.
You may ask why would a farmer keep farming this way if it is so destructive to the rain forest and so much work for them? The farmers don't have many other choices. They can't afford fertilizers and the land is poor by itself.
In French Guiana we visited a small Indian village along the Maroni River. We walked around their gardens and my dad noticed the different plots of land. They had Taro growing in one patch, beside it was a patch of land that had obviously been cleared and used as a garden before but was now only grass, and next to that was healthy rain forest. Eventually the farmers will have to abandon the garden they are now using and burn more rain forest for their garden land. It was sad to think this is happening throughout the rain forest.
Slash and Burning is a big problem in the rain forest and effects the whole world. Slash and burn is common in the Amazon and it destroys lots of rain forest and forces animals out of their habitat. The Amazon is sometimes called the "lungs of the world," so if we keep doing this type of farming up we are going to have serious problems in the future.
|Virgin Rain Forest|