Scorched earth

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Scorched earth policies refers to deliberately burning down, or otherwise destroying, any valuable resources in an area, in order to deny an enemy the use of these resources. Typically, the enemy is expected to soon gain control over the area.

One possible (side-)effect is destroying the ability of the civilian population in the area to survive.

The term is usually not applied to strategic bombing, despite that the goal and effect of such bombing may be similar.

See also