Traditional Slash and Burn Agriculture Sustainable Solution to Climate Change

none | Boulder Weekly

Climate change is the result of not behaving in the right way,
according to the isolated Trio, an indigenous people living in
Suriname’s Amazon forest near its border with Brazil.

“They see climate change as big problem. They say their forests are
changing, deteriorating,” said Gwendolyn Smith, a project director for
the non-profit organization Amazon Conservation Team (ACT).

ACT was launched by U.S. ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin and Costa Rican
conservationist Liliana Madrigain Madrigal in 1996 to work with
indigenous peoples in the rainforests of Suriname and elsewhere in the
Amazon to retain their traditional knowledge.

The Trio (also known as Tiriyó) number perhaps 2000 and live entirely
off their forests as hunters and swidden farmers. Swidden is a form of
slash and burn agriculture where small plots are cleared and crops
planted for one or two seasons, after which plots in new areas are
cleared. Old plots are left fallow for many years, allowing the forest
and soils to replinish. On a small scale this is sustainable.

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