Field burning practices in a southern region of Brazil

Roberto Birch Gonçalves, Eric Charles Henri Dorion, Cristine Hermann Nodari, Fernanda Lazzari, Pelayo Munhoz Olea
  • Management of Environmental Quality An International Journal, April 2015, Emerald
  • DOI: 10.1108/meq-01-2014-0010

What is it about?

Purpose – The practice of field burning has been used for many years in the south regions of Brazil as an ideal way to maintain pastures. The purpose of this paper is to understand if such activity is logically explicable or if it is the result of a cultural reality, being “prisoner” of this technique because of path dependence, within the paradigm of the path dependence theory. Design/methodology/approach – This present research is exploratory. The use of cases study was the most appropriate technique to explore the field burning practices and their impact in this specific region of Brazil, while describing its context, for which limits are not clearly defined. Thus, this research carries out a multi-case study that provides a greater perception than a single case and has an identical methodological structure. Findings – This paper analyzed the reasons why the producers insist with the procedure and identified these reasons are not merely economical. The study demonstrates a clear path dependent process and it became obvious that once the technique is part of the family use history, it anchors a strong conviction that field burning is actually the best technique to be used for land maintenance. Research limitations/implications – This work suggests a need for other specific researches to substantially complement field burning practices to other phenomenon. Practical implications – The fact that alternative techniques are rejected, giving priority to field burning, it may suggest that other situations and practices may be tied to inadequate or less profitable technologies as well (milk, confined raising, pasturing). The study raises the question on the validity of such practice as a paradigm of reason and pragmatism, or as a “Platoons Cavern” in which they are “trapped” in their decision process developed over time. Originality/value – Presence and implications of environmental laws, which tend to be observed by the producers much more because they fear punishment than because they really understand the benefits of its application; showing the government’s failure in teaching and informing the producers about environmental laws.

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Eric Charles Henri Dorion, Dr Cristine Hermann Nodari, and Dr Pelayo Munhoz Olea