Week 4

Topic: Bush Burning


Bush burning is the act of setting forests, weeds and grasses on fire. Farmers clear farmland in preparation for the planting season. The weeds and grasses cleared are often burnt. Forest is a large area of land that is thickly covered with trees. The trees naturally grow on their own or are cultivated by man for different purposes. Mammals, birds and reptiles make the forest their habitat.

Practices that Influence Bush Burning

Some of the practices that influence bush burning include:

  1. Bush Clearing: This is the act of removing weeds, grasses and trees so as to plant crops on the farmland.
  2. Practice of Crop Rotation: In crop rotation, plants are grown in a particular area and rotated through a period of time (3 or 4 or 5 or 6 years). During this period, the crops grown on a particular area are cleared and burnt.
  3. The practice of planting one type of crop on a plot of land at a time. Harvesting same before planting another crop on the same plot of land. After harvesting, the plot of land is cleared.
  4. Construction of roads and felling of trees.
  5. Building of houses, industries and settlements.
  6. Hunting.

Effects of Bush Burning, including Economic Consequences

Bush burning has adverse effects on the farmland. It is a practice by farmers to clear an area of bush or forests for planting their crops.

  1. It destroys plants community.
  2. Humus on the surface of the soil is burnt – loss of soil fertility.
  3. Animals that live on the plant community are either killed or forced to move to other suitable surrounding area for their existence.
  4. The cleared area is exposed to erosion.
  5. Bush burning can make the soil to become powdery and dry over the years. Such a farmland will no longer support plant growth, resulting in a barren land (desert condition).
  6. Useful crops, such as oil palm, orange trees, etc may be burnt.
  7. Bacteria, earthworm and fungi which bring about decay are also burnt. This causes loss of soil fertility.
  8. Low crop yield results from bush burning.

Regulation against Bush Burning

  1. There is need for public enlightenment on bush burning.
  2. Regulations should be made to prohibit bush burning.