Subsistence agriculture in a method of crop production, where farmers produce only enough food to feed the family. The practice of subsistence agriculture is done mainly by poor farmers that settle in forest land. The government  encourages these farmers to settle on the land and earn ownership after five years of agricultural practice.


However, most of these farmers engage in the slash and burn method. The slash and burn implies that farm land is burnt after crops are harvested. However, in most cases, the fires set in farmland end up spreading to forest land.


Also, the slash and burn practice causes land to loose its productivity in about two years. This loss in productivity encourages land owners to clear more trees for crop cultivation. Between 1995 and 1998, the Brazillian government granted land to over 150 000 people This lead an increase in the amout of forest land lost to deforestation.