Development pathways toward sustainable systems following slash-and-burn
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): R. R. Harwood
Publication Year: 1996

Cataloging Information

  • agriculture
  • agroforestry
  • biodiversity
  • croplands
  • evolution
  • forest management
  • land use
  • mixed farming
  • shifting cultivation
  • slash
  • slash and burn
  • slash and burn
  • species diversity (plants)
  • sustainable land use
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 44903
Tall Timbers Record Number: 20338
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Alternative solutions to the loss of production potential and to the increasing rural poverty engendered by many slash-and-burn systems require major shifts in the evolution toward greater sustainability. Slash-and-burn practices are the starting point for several evolutionary pathways in agricultural development. The changes cannot be single-factor (such as increasing fertilizer inputs or use of better crop varieties). The transformation of highly complex systems requires substitution of enterprises that are more productive in geographical areas that may be marginal for food and feedgrains. These new systems often require markets for the wide variety of high-value crop and animal products that are most appropriate in highly diverse systems adapted to a range of production environments. The best existing examples of such systems indicate that potential gains in productivity are enormous. The structuring of several systems to enhance biological interaction can increase production efficiencies. Stimuli for change will involve social, political, and economic dimensions. It is essential for effective change in most systems that the planning horizon for farmer investment of both labor and capital be extended to at least 10 years. Several specific examples are presented. © 1996 Published by Elsevier Science B.V.

Harwood, R. R. 1996. Development pathways toward sustainable systems following slash-and-burn. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, v. 58, p. 75-86. 10.1016/0167-8809(95)00655-9.