Soil biological dynamics in slash-and-burn agriculture
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): C. A. Palm; M. J. Swift; P. W. Woomer
Publication Year: 1996

Cataloging Information

  • agriculture
  • carbon
  • decomposition
  • Greenland
  • microclimate
  • nutrient cycling
  • nutrient cycling
  • slash
  • slash and burn
  • slash and burn
  • soil biological dynamics
  • soil management
  • soil organic matter
  • soil organisms
  • soils
  • water uptake
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 45171
Tall Timbers Record Number: 20641
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.


Studies of shifting cultivation and other slash-and-burn systems over the past 30 years have basically confirmed the conceptual model of carbon and nutrient cycling put forth by Nye and Greenland. The model stresses that soil biological processes should not be viewed in isolation but as an integral part of the system. There has been some progress in refining certain aspects of the model but most studies have merely provided more numbers for specific fluxes or pools in the cycle rather than the entire cycle. While these studies have reinforced the model of Nye and Greenland, they have not added much to understanding the controls or improving the predictive capacity that would allow improved management of slash-and-burn systems. Future studies should concentrate on controlling and manipulating certain components in the system and looking at the resulting changes in the other pools and processes in the system. Results from these types of studies can be combined with system models for simulating and comparing different management strategies.

Palm, C. A., M. J. Swift, and P. W. Woomer. 1996. Soil biological dynamics in slash-and-burn agriculture. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, v. 58, p. 61-74.