Clearing a plot of ground in a forest, especially in tropical areas, and planting crops on it for a few years (typically 2-5 years) until the soil is depleted of nutrients or the plot has been invaded by a dense growth of vegetation from the surrounding forest. Then a new plot is cleared and the process is repeated. The abandoned plot cannot successfully grow crops for 10-30 years. See also slash-and-burn cultivation.
A method of cultivation in which a forest area is cleared of trees, burned to release mineral nutrients, farmed for a few years until the soils become too poor to sustain crops, and then abandoned.
Found mainly in the tropics, especially in humid and subhumid regions. There are different kinds; for example, where a settlement is permanent, but certain fields are fallowed and cropped alternately ('rotational agriculture'). In others, whole settlements move and clear new land once the old is no longer productive. Also called 'swidden' (Old English for a 'burnt clearing'), used more to designate the social group, or 'slash-and-burn', so-called because of the operations undergone. Related term: slash-and-burn system