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Firebreak -  /ˈfī(-ə)r- brāk/ - noun

June 13th, 2019

Definition: A strip of land around a planting site that has been cleared of vegetation in order to reduce the risk of fire spreading to the protected area. By removing any vegetation and making the ground bare, fires are more likely to subside for lack of fuel once they reach the firebreak.

In the Forest Garden: A firebreak can be made by clearing a four-meter strip of vegetation around the planting site, leaving a space of vegetation about 12 meters wide, then clearing another four meter strip on the other side. The 12-meter strip in between the four-meter clearings should then be carefully control-burned. While firebreaks are very beneficial for fire suppression, they can also be problematic as they require existing vegetation to be removed, taking valuable land out of productivity and exposing soils to further degradation. We recommend the use of multipurpose fuelbreaks or greenbreaks that provide fire protection as well as useful products like food, fodder, timber and fuelwood.

Learn more about this common agroforestry technique in Module 8 of the Forest Garden Training Manual.