Aboriginal Humans and Fire

In addition to its use for heating, lighting, and cooking, fire was the first tool that primitive peoples had to manipulate the environment on a broad scale to better meet their purposes. Fire has been used by hunter-gatherer societies to promote the production of certain wild crops (such as seeds: wild rice, sunflower, balsamroot, and mesquite beans; tubers: camas and bracken; berries: blueberry and blackberry; and nuts: acorns and chestnuts), increase the nutritional quality of forage for wild animals, create desirable habitat for game species, decrease the natural migration rates of game species allowing for increased hunting possibilities, control problem tick and insect populations, open travel corridors, and reduce fire hazard and enemy hiding cover in the vicinity of campsites.

Aboriginal people have also used fire for driving game species into traps or to hunters, long-distance signaling, warfare, and ceremonial purposes. Some peoples had the tradition of setting large fires in hopes that it would induce rain. Pastoralists used lire to clear pastures of trees and shrubs, increase forage production, improve forage nutritional quality, and decrease parasites affecting their livestock. Early agricultural cultures used fire to clear natural vegetation to facilitate cultivation, remove organic crop residue, and fertilize fields by cycling nutrients. In addition, many fires were likely set by accident from cooking fires. Thus, human culture has had a long association and evolution with fire.

pastoralists farming people who keep animal flocks cultivation growth of crop plants, or turning the soil for this purpose

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