What Are the Disadvantages of Shifting Cultivation?

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The primary disadvantage of shifting cultivation, also called slash and burn or swidden agriculture, is the destruction of large areas of land, primarily crop fields and tracts of forest. When performed improperly, slash and burn can make once-fertile lands unable to support the new growth of crops and plants. Slash and burn may cause environmental and economic consequences by reducing the growth potential for crops in certain areas, which limits the variety and quantity of agricultural goods farmers can produce.

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