Resource 3: Bush burning

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Reasons for bush burning

A typical example of bush burning in Nigeria is when farmers burn their harvested fields to prepare their farms for the next planting season, or during dry seasons when farmers organise hunting parties for popular game often called ‘bush meat’. The bush is deliberately set alight to trap small animals during hunting. Other fires are caused by accidents during the dry season when most bushes and forests have dried up and are very combustible; cigarettes, matches, campfires etc. can spark up small fires that later grow bigger.

Bush burning management strategies

Bushfires can be managed by professional staff, such as rangers and park workers, with help from volunteers from rural areas. However, large fires are often of such a size that no conceivable firefighting service could attempt to stop the whole fire directly, and so other techniques are needed.

This might involve controlling the area that the fire can spread to by clearing control lines. Here the land is cleared of any vegetation either by controlled burning or digging a ditch. This takes time and does not happen often. This can interfere with the forest ecosystem.

Who is affected by bush burning?

Rural farming communities are rarely threatened directly by bush burning as the fires are usually located in the middle of large areas of cleared, usually grazed, land, where often there is very little grass left. People who live in urban areas that spread into forested areas are more open to threats of fire.

Adapted from: Wikipedia, Website

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Resource 4: Different environments