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Running head SHORT PAPER 1
5-2 Short Paper: Intentional Fires
Southern New Hampshire University
BIO-330: Conservation Biology
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Intentional fires, while used for a variety of reasons can damage the biodiversity in
multiple ways even though there are some beneficial aspects to the practice. The first way it can
damage biodiversity is deforestation. Slash-and-burn agriculture which is a form of intentional
fire setting can damage certain crops due to the increase in temperature from the fire (Daley,
2019). The main reason for using intentional fire in agriculture is to clear space for farming and
to also rid the area of leftover vegetation. The intentional fires are also used as a way to help
enhance crops and grasses since the ash that is leftover after the burning can increase the fertility
of the soil, even though it is a short-term release (Giardina, Sanford, Dockersmith, & Jaramillo,
2000). Certain habitats are targeted for intentional fires more than other habitats due to the
specific. Slash-and-burn is typically used in areas where plots of open land are not available due
to the amount of vegetation in the area (NASA, 2018). These areas can be found in parts of
Africa, northern South America, and Southeast Asia (NASA, 2018).
The steps being taken to reduce the use of intentional fires in agriculture includes
awareness campaigns and fundraising. Awareness campaigns are being used to encourage
farmers to find alternative ways to clear their fields by showing them the negative impact that
intentional fires can be used on ecosystems. While on the other hand, fundraisers are being used
to financially support farmers who find themselves using the slash-and-burn technique to provide
for themselves and their families. An example of this is the Wildlife Conservation Global
organization which consists of volunteers who educate farmers on alternative agricultural
practices (Wildlife Conservation Global, n.d.).
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Giardina, C. P., Sanford, R. L., Døckersmith, I. C., & Jaramillo, V. J. (2000). The effects of slash
burning on ecosystem nutrients during the land preparation phase of shifting cultivation. Plant
and Soil, 220(1/2), 247260.
Jim Dale. (2019, September 18). Deforestation intensifies warming in the amazon rainforest.
ScientificAmerican. Retrieved from
NASA. (2018. June 20). Agriculture fires seem to engulf central africa. Retrieved from
Wildlife Conservation Global. (n.d.).

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