(noun) A type of horticulture that involves cutting and setting fire to vegetation to clear fields for short-term cultivation.

Example: Groups in Asia use the the slash-and-burn method to grow upland rice.

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Usage Notes:

  • A slashed-and-burned field is fertilized by the ashes of burned vegetation. The cleared land is used until the soil no longer supports growing crops, and the the field is abandoned or left fallow. The process then begins again.
  • Abandoned slash-and-burn fields are called swiddens.
  • Typically slashing-and-burning occurs in tropical areas for temporary use but does occur in forested areas in temperate climates to create permanent farm lands and is called assarting.
  • Slash-and-burn is a primary subsistence strategy along with agriculture; horticulture; hunting and gathering; industrialism; and pastoralism.
  • Also called:
    • fire-fallow cultivation
    • jhum
    • jhoom cultivation
    • shifting agriculture
    • shifting cultivation
    • slash-and-burn agriculture
    • swidden
    • swidden agriculture
    • swidden farming
    • swidden-fallow agriculture

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How to Cite the Definition of Slash-and-burn

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “slash-and-burn.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 16, 2019 (

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

slash-and-burn. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “slash-and-burn.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 16, 2019.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“slash-and-burn.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 16 Jun. 2019. <>.