Scientists discover primitive farming methods can benefit forests 23:01

American scientists from Ohio State University concluded that one of the oldest methods of land cultivation – slash-and-burn agriculture – helped increase the diversity of species of flora and fauna in the surrounding forest. The study was published in the scientific journal magazine Contact Earth and Environment (CEE).

Slash-and-burn agriculture is based on the principle of burning the forest and planting cultivated plants in the burned area. It has a history dating back to prehistoric times and is still practiced by some indigenous peoples around the world.

Using the experiences of residents of two Qeqchi villages in Belize, southern Central America, experts examined the impact of slash-and-burn agriculture on forest biodiversity.

Researchers used drone remote sensing and terrestrial mapping to estimate the number of plant species in specific areas and correlate this with changes in the forest landscape.

The data showed that forest plant diversity increased by creating medium-sized slash-and-burn areas in the forest. This is demonstrated by spectral analysis of the field, which estimates the number of vegetation types based on the light passing through the leaves.

“When you have a mature forest, large trees form a canopy that blocks sunlight from reaching the forest floor, inhibiting the growth of other plant species. Shifting agriculture opens up areas in the forest, allowing sunlight to come in and other plant species to take root and grow,” said lead study author Sean Downey.

Biologists before I learnedHow do underground fungal networks affect forests?

Source: Gazeta


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