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Fire-stick farming are words used by Australian archaeologist Rhys Jones in 1969. They describe the way that Indigenous Australians used fire regularly to burn the land. This helped hunting by herding the animals into particular areas, and also caused new grass to grow which attracted more animals. Over many years it changed the types of plants and animals that lived in an area.
Fire-stick farming had turned scrub into grassland, which increased the numbers of grass eating animals such as the kangaroo. Scientists say that the changes caused by fire-stick farming caused the extinction of the Australian megafauna.
In the forests, fire-stick farming opened up clear areas and let more plants grow at ground level. This increased the number of animals that could feed on these plants, such as the herbivore marsupials.
- Jones, R. 1969. Fire-stick Farming. Australian Natural History, 16:224
- Miller, G. H. 2005. Ecosystem Collapse in Pleistocene Australia and a Human Role in Megafaunal Extinction. Science, 309:287-290
- Prideaux, G.J. et al. 2007. An arid-adapted middle Pleistocene vertebrate fauna from south-central Australia. Nature 445:422-425