Physical Sciences

Assessing The Effect Of Bush Burning On Agricultural Lands

Bachelors Degree

The study explores current knowledge regarding factors that can increase a region’s vulnerability to disaster, and assesses how disaster mitigation and reduction might best be achieved through the sound agricultural development and sustainable environmental practices. The purpose of this study also is to examine how human activities can affect agricultural lands and the implications of this problem upon the immediate environment. Bush burning is a primitive method of land clearing/vegetal removal and other related farm activities such as tree-felling for fuelwood and hunting. Note that, most of the farmer’s practice peasant farming system of agriculture lives in the rural areas.

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Cultivation of land for agricultural production requires clearing land first before other farm activities can take place; this is simple because most of Nigerian farmers are rural peasants that work with crude implements. The only method employed in preparing their land for cultivation is through bush burning which results in loss of flora and fauna and another set of people that burn bush are the hunters, they do so in order to hunt for bush meat and to clear the land for farming. In some countries including Nigeria, fire is common land clearing and management practiced used to burn the byproduct of some agricultural crops such as wheat/rice stubble, forest residues and sugarcane waste (Egboh, 2009)Birninyauri and Aliero (2010), Studied that bush burning /fire has been practiced for a very long time and has been accepted as an integral part of traditional farming system. And bushfire can be explained as a process of setting ablaze trees, shrubs, grasses and other domesticated plants found in the bush. Bush burning whether as a result of wildfire or a controlled fire can affect not only the appearance of the landscape but also the soil and vegetation. The landscape can quickly recover after a fire with fresh new growth emerging seedlings. Bushfire can further be described as the controlled and uncontrolled combustion of trees, shrubs, grasses and other indigenous plants.

The practiced of bush burning is so deeply ingrained in the traditional farming system that trying to suppress it would mean cutting off the means of subsistence of small-scale farmers who do not have adequate funds to employ labour or purchase tractors for land clearing. Bushfire has a lot of impact on both the human and the environment. Some of these impacts include the huge smoke soaring in the air during the heating resulting in suffocating people, a large proportion of wildfire and small animals are destroyed and pollution of the ozone layer of the environment.NsiahGyabaah (2006),

Bushfire produces air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulphide oxides, sulphur oxides and other oxidants all of which are detrimental to the environment and human health.Hammid et.al (2010), Stern (2007) opined that there is major air pollutant emitted during bushfire that can affect both the environment and human health as regards to past findings. Furthermore, bushfire heat up the soil nutrient, apart from these, bushfire contributes in the damaging of houses and most especially farmlands, merely causing untold hardship to the people of the area.Iguisu (2002) pointed out the experts have established the fact that bushfire has an adverse impact on soil moisture. The intensity of the fire and how long it burns determine the impact on the soil.

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