American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An area cleared for temporary cultivation by cutting and burning the vegetation.
- From Middle English swithen ("to burn, scorch, singe"), from Old Norse svidhna ("to be burned"). (Wiktionary)
- Dialectal alteration of obsolete swithen, from Old Norse svidhna, to be burned. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Slash-and-burn, or "swidden," agriculture - clearing patches of woodland for crops and moving on after each harvest to allow the soil to replenish itself - is usually seen as a crude antecedent to the more intensive farming practiced in the lowlands and most of the developed world.”
“Trees turned the color of bone by drought, skies black with the smoke and ash of swidden burning for cultivation, the forest heavy with the smell of death.”
“Many maintain a traditional swidden agriculture, with hunter-gathering and trading in artefacts; some today also live on mining and tourism.”
“Reconstruction of pristine forest structure and composition has been made very difficult by the high degree of landscape degradation that has taken place, much of it as the result of swidden agricultural practices.”
“There are at least seven different tribes in and around GLNP, with their own languages and cultures from the Aceh and Gayo muslim farmers in the north, Batak highland farmers and Pakpak hunters and swidden hill farmers to the Alas, Singhil and Melayu rice farmers and fishermen of the lowlands mixed with Javanese once imported by the Dutch.”
“The Highland Peoples have a special relationship to their land, and their livelihood depends directly on swidden cultivation and the collection of non-timber forest products.”
“Secondary forest on areas of former swidden agriculture are found in the Mae Chan Valley and central uplands towards the east.”
“Use of forest areas for swidden agriculture and extraction of non-wood forest products (including fuelwood, rattan and bamboo, wildlife, malva nuts, and medicine) as well as ecological and environmental functions such as watershed, biodiversity, and carbon storage provided a TEV ranging of $1,300 – 4,500 per hectare (environmental services accounted for $590 of that while NWFPs provided $700 – 3,900 per hectare).”
“Mature forest cut for swidden agriculture generally is succeeded in this ecoregion by a grassy subclimax that supports far fewer species than the mature forest.”
“Hill slopes support more native forest than the lowland areas, and the hill forests of southern Thailand are relatively intact, although swidden (slash-and-burn) agriculture is still practiced in some hill areas in the northern part of the ecoregion.”
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