Agriculture Project Topics

The Effect of Bush Burning on Agricultural Land

The Effect of Bush Burning on Agricultural Land

The Effect of Bush Burning on Agricultural Land

Chapter One


Bush burning has become part and parcel of the activities of farmers in this area. The negative effects are not considered at all. Hence it is important to highlight these for the farmers to experience and observe the dangerous effects of bush burning as it affect the soil as a whole.


This aims and objective of this project are:

  1. To analyze the effect of burning on economic tree crops
  2. To analyze some of the effect of bush burning on different soil structures
  3. To analyze the effect of bush burning in relationship to land in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.
  4. To analyze some of the effect of burning on crop plants.
  5. To identify the effect of bush burning on agricultural land in Ovia North East Local Government of Edo State.
  6. To analyze the use of bush burning as a weed control measure or method.




Bush burning is a common practice in both savannah and forest zones of Nigeria and has greatly altered the original vegetation. In recent years, our environment which was taken for granted has become a subject of great concern to the society. The biotic and abiotic component of the ecosystem has been shaped over time and continues to do so (Hamid, Usman, Elaigu and Zubaru, 2010). It is generally believed that the use of fire in Africa started about 50,000 years ago (Adetunji and Onumadu, 2005). Fire is one of the few tools available to an African man for clearing land for land for crops and the practice of burning vegetation and still part of the system of shifting cultivation. In some cases the fire spreads far beyond the confines of the farmlands uncontrolled and destroys the adjourning forest or wood land areas (Okonkwo and Kareem 2009).

As more land is being cleared and prepared for cropping, hunting and grazing annually, burning has become the easiest and most convenient method quite often employed. The vast majority of area burnt and cleared annually for cropping, to drive game for hunters, to improve grazing condition for livestock and for migration and land settlement lies within the savanna ecological zone (Isah and Adegeye, 2002). This practice invariably results in heating and drying of the soil and destroying the ecosystem of the savannah. The soil temperature reached during such burnings ranged from 930c to 10040C as a result of burning different types of materials and the time of exposure to heating (Roberts, 2005; Isaac and Hopkins, 2007). All fires, regardless of whether they are natural or human-caused, alter the cycling of nutrients and the biotic, physical, moisture, and temperature characteristics of soil (Isaac and Hopkins, 2007). In many cases however, these impacts are either negligible or short-lived and thus have little, if any, impact on the overall ecosystem. In some cases however, the impact of fire on soil conditions can be moderate to severe. The overall degree and longevity of this impact is determined by numerous factors including fire severity, temperature, fire frequency, soil type and moisture, vegetation type and amount, topography, season of burning, and pre- and post-fire weather conditions. Studies by Roberts, 2005 and Isaac and Hopkins, 2007 pointed out that relatively large-scale loss of nutrients and an alteration of soil physical conditions occur after a fire.




Study Area

Ovia North-East is a Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria. Its headquarters are in the town of Okada. It has an area of 2,301 km² and a population of 153,849 at the 2006 census. The postal code of the area is 302. Okada is a town in Ovia northeast local government area of Edo state.

The major occupation of the area is farming. The climate of the area is part of the tropical wet and dry climate of Nigeria. The wet season begins in April and ends in October, though there is fluctuation Sahara desert in November to March. The annual rainfall is about 1140mm to 1204mm and has the annual average temperatures of about 26.40c (BLSK, 2010). The area is located in the slightly thick wooded vegetation of the south guinea savannah. The activities such as overgrazing, bush burning, over cropping, tree felling for fuel wood have generally modified the vegetation to wooded shrub like-vegetation. The vegetation comprises of transitional woodland, with species like Daniela, Oliverii, vitex, Domana, Diospyros, Mespiloformus, Khaye, Grandifohala and albizia Africana. The area is noted for having large quantities of fuelwood and consumers of wood all year round.

Research Design

The study area was purposely selected because of the intensive activities of bush burning in the area. In order to acquire the data for this research work, some communities in Ovia North East local government area were selected. The data for the study were collected through questionnaire and existing Journal, electronic libraries and text books.




The study have shown that bush burning have gradually resulted to reduction and loss of plant species, decrease in crop yield, loss of soil through erosion and reduction in volume of water reservoirs. Due to the detrimental effects of the bush burning in the study area, the environmental sustainability campaign is very important in order to protect our environment.

From the observation, cultural practice such as slash and burn method have both beneficial and detrimental effects on soil quality. From the study there was reduction in soil pH, decreased in silt and increase in sand contents, increase in SOC, SOM, TN, and avail. P, Ca, Mg, K. Na,   decrease in EC and BS respectively in the burnt plot under study. However differences were observed in the level of the soil indicators, the differences were statistical significant because farming in the area was   intensive and continuous through the use of traditional land preparation method called “slash and burn.

Bush burning is a multidimensional, only a collaborative effort will ensure protection, preservation of our environment. It is therefore, necessary for all government and non-governmental Agencies as well as private sector and individuals to join force together to fight the menace of bush burning that is threatening our continued sustainable livelihood. All hands must be on desk in preventing and controlling the consequences of this phenomenon on the ecosystem of Northern Nigeria Guinea Savannah of Edo State in order to have sustainable environment.


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