Agriculture today

We have converted 38% of Earth¶s surface for agriculture, the practice of cultivating soil, producing crops, and raising livestock for human use and consumption.

Croplands (for growing plant crops) and rangelands (for grazing animal livestock) depend on healthy soil.

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Soil as a system

Parent material, such as bedrock, is weathered to begin process of soil formation. Parent material = the base geological material in a location Bedrock = the continuous mass of solid rock that makes up Earth¶s crust Weathering = processes that break down rocks

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings

World soil conditions
Soils are becoming degraded in many regions.

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Figure 8.1a

Soil degradation by continent
Europe¶s land is most degraded because of its long history of intensive agriculture. But Asia¶s and Africa¶s soils are fast becoming degraded.
Figure 8.1b

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings

Causes of soil degradation Most soil degradation is caused by: ‡ livestock overgrazing ‡ deforestation ‡ cropland agriculture. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.2 . Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8..

. Inc.Components of soil Soil is a complex mixture of organic and inorganic components and living organisms. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. crumbly mass of undifferentiated material made up of complex organic compounds Soils with high humus content hold moisture better and are more productive for plant life. Inc..Humus Dark. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .

publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8. E.8 . Inc. and R Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.Soil profile Consists of layers called horizons. Simplest: A = topsoil B = subsoil C = parent material But most have O. A.. C. B.

publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Crucial for plant growth E Horizon: Eluviation horizon.. Inc. a process whereby solid materials are dissolved and transported away B Horizon: Subsoil. Zone of accumulation or deposition of leached minerals and organic acids from above C Horizon: Slightly altered parent material R Horizon: Bedrock Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.Soil profile O Horizon: Organic or litter layer A Horizon: Topsoil. loss of minerals by leaching. Mostly inorganic minerals with some organic material and humus mixed in.

Inc. an even mix of these three types.Soil characterization Soil can be characterized by color and several other traits: ‡ texture ‡ structure ‡ pH Best for plant growth is loam.9 .. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8.

Inc. they are a big problem for farming. and can build up fertile soil. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. But where artificially sped up.. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .Erosion and deposition Erosion = removal of material from one place and its transport elsewhere by wind or water Deposition = arrival of eroded material at a new location These processes are natural.

especially on slopes Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Inc.. too much plowing.Erosion Commonly caused by: ‡ Overcultivating. poor planning ‡ Overgrazing rangeland with livestock ‡ Deforestation.

11 . Inc.. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Gully erosion Figure 8.Types of soil erosion Splash erosion Rill erosion Sheet erosion Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.

publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8. Inc..12 . Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.Erosion: A global problem Over 19 billion ha (47 billion acres) suffer from erosion or other soil degradation.

Soil conservation As a result of the Dust Bowl. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Soil Conservation Act of 1935 and the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) were created. the U. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Inc..S. SCS: Local agents in conservation districts worked with farmers to disseminate scientific knowledge and help them conserve their soil.

Preventing soil degradation Several farming strategies to prevent soil degradation: ‡ Crop rotation ‡ Contour farming ‡ Intercropping ‡ Terracing ‡ Shelterbelts ‡ Conservation tillage Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings ..

. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8. Inc.g.. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.Crop rotation Alternating the crop planted (e. between corn and soybeans) can restore nutrients to soil and fight pests and disease.16a .

Inc. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8..16b .Contour farming Planting along contour lines of slopes helps reduce erosion on hillsides.

16c .. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.Intercropping Mixing crops such as in strip cropping can provide nutrients and reduce erosion. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8. Inc.

Terracing Cutting stairsteps or terraces is the only way to farm extremely steep hillsides without causing massive erosion. Inc. but has been a mainstay for centuries in the Himalayas and the Andes.. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8. It is labor-intensive to create.16d . Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.

publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8. reducing erosion by wind.16e .Shelterbelts Rows of fast-growing trees around crop plantings provide windbreaks.. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Inc.

16f . keeping it in place. Inc..´ Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. corn grows up out of a ³cover crop. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8. Here.Conservation tillage No-till and reduced-tillage farming leaves old crop residue on the ground instead of plowing it into soil. This covers the soil.

Inc. It often requires more fertilizer (because other plants compete with crops for nutrients).Conservation tillage Conservation tillage is not a panacea for all crops everywhere. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . and green manures can be used as organic fertilizers. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. But legume cover crops can keep weeds at bay while nourishing soil. It often requires more chemical herbicides (because weeds are not plowed under)..

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.. Inc.Irrigation The artificial provision of water to support agriculture 70% of all freshwater used by humans is used for irrigation. Irrigation has boosted productivity in many places « but too much can cause problems. Irrigated land globally covers more area than all of Mexico and Central America combined. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .

Waterlogging and salinization Overirrigation can raise the water table high enough to suffocate plant roots with waterlogging. Salinization (buildup of salts in surface soil layers) is a more widespread problem. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . bringing salts with it. Irrigation causes repeated evaporation. Evaporation in arid areas draws water up through the soil. bringing more salts up.. Inc. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.

.Improved irrigation In conventional irrigation. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8. and reduces problems like salinization. saves money. only 40% of the water reaches plants.17 . Inc. Efficient drip irrigation targeted to plants conserves water. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.

. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8.Overgrazing When livestock eat too much plant cover on rangelands.22 . Inc. impeding plant regrowth The contrast between ungrazed and overgrazed land on either side of a fenceline can be striking.

21 ..Overgrazing Overgrazing can set in motion a series of positive feedback loops. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 8. Inc.

1996 ‡ Low-Input Sustainable Agriculture Program. Inc. has continued to pass soil conservation legislation in recent years: ‡ Food Security Act of 1985 ‡ Conservation Reserve Program. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. 1985 ‡ Freedom to Farm Act..S. there is the UN¶s ³FAR´ program in Asia.Recent soil conservation laws The U. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . 1998 Internationally.

Pesticide applied Figure 9. Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .6 Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Pests attack crop 2..Pests evolve resistance to pesticides 1.

Pests evolve resistance to pesticides 3. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Survivors breed and produce pesticide-resistant population Figure 9.. All pests except a few with innate resistance are killed 4. Inc.6 Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.

publishing as Benjamin Cummings . More-toxic chemicals must be developed.6 Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Inc. Has little effect. Figure 9. Pesticide applied again 6.Pests evolve resistance to pesticides 5..

´) Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Biocontol entails battling pests and weeds with other organisms that are natural enemies of those pests and weeds.. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Biological control (biocontrol) avoids this. Inc. (³The enemy of my enemy is my friend.Biological control Synthetic chemicals can pollute and be health hazards.

publishing as Benjamin Cummings . seemingly safe and effective.7 Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education..Biological control Biocontrol has had success stories. In many cases. Cactus moth. Cactoblastis cactorum (above). Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) = soil bacterium that kills many insects. Figure 9. was used to wipe out invasive prickly pear cactus in Australia. Inc.

publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Wasps and flies brought to Hawaii to control crop pests are parasitizing native caterpillars in wilderness areas. are eating native cacti. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Inc. Some may turn invasive and become pests themselves! Cactus moths brought to the Caribbean jumped to Florida.. and spreading.But biocontrol is risky Most biocontrol agents are introduced from elsewhere.

Inc.Integrated pest management (IPM) Combines biocontrol. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . and other methods May involve: ‡ Biocontrol ‡ Pesticides ‡ Close population monitoring ‡ Habitat modification ‡ Crop rotation ‡ Transgenic crops ‡ Alternative tillage ‡ Mechanical pest removal Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.. chemical.

Inc. But many people remain uneasy about genetically engineering crop plants and other organisms. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .Genetic modification of food Manipulating and engineering genetic material in the lab may represent the best hope for increasing agricultural production further without destroying more natural lands.

publishing as Benjamin Cummings .. Inc.g. adding disease-resistance genes from one plant to the genes of another) Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.. or changing segments of its DNA Genetically modified (GM) organisms = genetically engineered using recombinant DNA technology Recombinant DNA = DNA patched together from DNA of multiple organisms (e. deleting.Genetic engineering uses recombinant DNA Genetic engineering (GE) = directly manipulating an organism¶s genetic material in the lab by adding.

. Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. These efforts are one type of biotechnology. and the organisms are transgenic. the material application of biological science to create products derived from organisms.Transgenes and biotechnology Genes moved between organisms are transgenes.

Genetic engineering vs.. There is no fundamental difference: both approaches modify organisms genetically. GE is in vitro lab work. Inc. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. not with whole organisms. GE uses novel gene combinations that didn¶t come together on their own. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . traditional breeding They are similar: We have been altering crop genes (by artificial selection) for thousands of years. They are different: GE can mix genes of very different species.

crops. Bt crops: Widely used on U.S.Some GM foods Golden rice: Enriched with vitamin A.. Images alarmed public. Inc.12 Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Ice-minus strawberries: Frostresistant bacteria sprayed on. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . But ecological concerns? Figure 9. But too much hype? FlavrSavr tomato: Better taste? But pulled from market.

Farmers forced to buy seeds each year. But could hybridize with wild relatives to create ³superweeds´? StarLink corn: Bt corn variety. pulled from market.Some GM foods Bt sunflowers: Insect resistant. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .12 Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Genes spread to non-GM corn.. Roundup-Ready crops: Resistant to Monsanto¶s herbicide. Inc. But encourages more herbicide use? Terminator seeds: Plants kill their own seeds. Figure 9.

. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.S. Two-thirds of U. soybeans.S. biotechnology is already transforming the U. and cotton are now genetically modified strains. Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . food supply. corn.Prevalence of GM foods Although many early GM crops ran into bad publicity or other problems.

S. The U. grows 66% of the world¶s GM crops.. Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 9. But most are grown by 4 nations.13 . number of plantings have grown >10%/year Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.Prevalence of GM foods Nearly 6 million farmers in 16 nations plant GM crops.

. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Inc. pollute ecosystems. harm organisms? Can pests evolve resistance to GM crops just as they can to pesticides? Can transgenes jump from crops to weeds and make them into ³superweeds´? Can transgenes get into traditional native crop races and ruin their integrity? Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.Scientific concerns about GM organisms Are there health risks for people? Can transgenes escape into wild plants.

the idea that one should take no new action until its ramifications are understood? Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Inc. because so many U. crops are already GM and little drastic harm is apparent? Or should we adopt the precautionary principle.Scientific concerns about GM organisms These questions are not fully answered yet.S. In the meantime« Should we not worry.

publishing as Benjamin Cummings .. Inc.Socioeconomic and political concerns about GM products Should scientists and corporations be ³tinkering with´ our food supply? Are biotech corporations testing their products adequately. and is outside oversight adequate? Should large multinational corporations exercise power over global agriculture and small farmers? Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.

. America Europe: has followed precautionary principle in approach to GM foods. U.S.Europe vs. and it remains to be seen whether Europe will accept more GM foods from the U. Governments have listened to popular opposition among their citizens.: GM foods were introduced and accepted with relatively little public debate. Inc. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Relations over agricultural trade have been uneasy.S. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .

Viewpoints: Genetically modified foods Indra Vasil ³Biotech crops are already helping to conserve valuable natural resources.´ From Viewpoints . publishing as Benjamin Cummings Ignacio Chapela ³We should expect fundamental alterations in ecosystems with the release of transgenic crops« We are experiencing a global experiment without controls. produce more nutritious foods.´ Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. reduce the use of harmful agrochemicals. Inc. and promote economic development..

Preserving crop diversity Native cultivars of crops are important to preserve.. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Diversity of cultivars has been rapidly disappearing from all crops throughout the world. in case we need their genes to overcome future pests or pathogens. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Inc.

Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 9.Seed banks preserve seeds. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. crop varieties Seed banks are living museums of crop diversity.14 .. Careful hand pollination helps ensure plants of one type do not interbreed with plants of another. saving collections of seeds and growing them into plants every few years to renew the collection.

Animal agriculture: Livestock and poultry Consumption of meat has risen faster than population over the past several decades. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 9. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.15 .. Inc.

. huge pens that deliver energyrich food to animals housed at extremely high densities.Feedlot agriculture Increased meat consumption has led to animals being raised in feedlots (factory farms). publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 9.16 . Inc. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.

how much more natural land would be converted for agriculture? Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. some of which persist in environment However. if all these animals were grazing on rangeland. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Inc.. hormones).Feedlot agriculture: Environmental impacts Immense amount of waste produced. steroids. polluting air and water nearby Intense usage of chemicals (antibiotics.

. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.Food choices = energy choices Energy is lost at each trophic level. most of the grain¶s energy has already been spent on the cow¶s metabolism. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Inc. When we eat meat from a cow fed on grain. Eating meat is therefore very energy inefficient.

publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 9. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Inc.Grain feed input for animal output Some animal food products can be produced with less input of grain feed than others.17 ..

Land and water input for animal output Some animal food products can be produced with less input of land and water than others. Inc. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 9.18 .

. Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .Aquaculture The raising of aquatic organisms for food in controlled environments Provides 1/3 of world¶s fish for consumption 220 species being farmed The fastest growing type of food production Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.

Aquaculture Fish make up half of aquacultural production. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Molluscs and plants each make up nearly 1/4. Inc. Global aquaculture has been doubling about every 7 years.. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 9.19 .

. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . local. and eliminates bycatch Uses fewer fossil fuels than fishing Can be very energy efficient Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. increases food security Can be small-scale. Inc.Benefits of aquaculture Provides reliable protein source for people. and sustainable Reduces fishing pressure on wild stocks.

Inc. compete with. antibiotic use. Often animals are fed grain. Farmed animals may escape into the wild and interbreed with. Sometimes animals are fed fish meal from wild-caught fish.Environmental impacts of aquaculture Density of animals leads to disease.. which is not energy efficient. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. It can generate large amounts of waste. risks to food security. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . or spread disease to wild animals.

20 .. publishing as Benjamin Cummings Figure 9. Inc.Environmental impacts of aquaculture Transgenic salmon (top) can compete with or spread disease to wild salmon (bottom) when they escape from fish farms. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.

etc. Inc. clean water.. and genetic diversity essential for long-term crop and livestock production Low-input agriculture = small amounts of pesticides. Instead. fertilizers. etc. growth hormones. fossil fuel energy. water. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . composting. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Organic agriculture = no synthetic chemicals used.Sustainable agriculture Agriculture that can practiced the same way far into the future Does not deplete soils faster than they form Does not reduce healthy soil. biocontrol.

but growing 30%/yr Organic produce: Advantages for consumers: healthier.S..Organic farming Small percent of market. but is growing fast 1% of U. more expensive Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. environmentally better Disadvantages for consumers: less uniform and appealinglooking. Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . market. but growing 20%/yr 3±5% of European market.

Inc. Feedlot agriculture and aquaculture pose benefits and harm for the environment and human health. GM crops show promise for social and environmental benefits. but questions linger about their impacts. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .Conclusions: Challenges Chemical pesticides pollute. and pests evolve resistance. Much of the world¶s crop diversity has vanished. and kill pollinators. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education..

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Human population continues to grow. Soil erosion is a problem worldwide. contribute to soil degradation. Salinization. waterlogging. Grazing and logging.Conclusions: Challenges Organic farming remains a small portion of agriculture.. requiring more food production. Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . and other soil degradation problems are leading to desertification. as well as cropland agriculture.

publishing as Benjamin Cummings .Conclusions: Solutions Biocontrol and IPM offer alternatives to pesticides. and allow us to maximize benefits while minimizing harm. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. More funding for seed banks can rebuild crop diversity.. Ways are being developed to make feedlot agriculture and aquaculture safer and cleaner. Further research and experience with GM crops may eventually resolve questions about impacts. Inc.

etc. Better grazing and logging practices exist that have far less impact on soils. Green revolution advances have kept up with food demand so far. have helped improve farming practices and control soil degradation. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. terracing. help control erosion.Conclusions: Solutions Organic farming is popular and growing fast... publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Inc. Farming strategies like no-till farming. and government extension agents working with farmers. Improved distribution and slowed population growth would help further. Government laws. contour farming.

Exclusive reliance on pesticides d. Habitat modification e. Close population monitoring b. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .. Inc. Biocontrol c.QUESTION: Review Integrated pest management may involve all of the following EXCEPT« ? a. Transgenic crops Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.

publishing as Benjamin Cummings .QUESTION: Review What do seed banks do? a. None of the above Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Buy seeds from farmers d. Lend money to farmers to buy seeds b. Pay farmers to store seeds c. Inc. Store seeds to maintain genetic diversity e..

Uses fewer fossil fuels than commercial fishing e.QUESTION: Review Which is NOT a benefit of aquaculture? a. All of the above are benefits Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Provides a reliable protein source b. Inc. Reduces pressure on natural fisheries c. Produces no waste d.

QUESTION: Weighing the Issues
Can we call the green revolution a success? a. A huge success; it has saved millions from starvation because it increased food production to keep pace with population growth. b. Not a success; its environmental impacts have outweighed its claimed benefits. c. A success; its environmental impacts are balanced by the fact that it saved huge areas from deforestation.
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings

QUESTION: Interpreting Graphs and Data
With 500 kg of water, you could produce « ?

a. 2 kg of protein from milk b. Protein from 50 chickens c. 750 kg of protein from beef d. 15 eggs
Figure 9.18b
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings

QUESTION: Viewpoints
Should we encourage the continued development of GM foods? a. Yes; they will bring many health, social, and environmental benefits. b. No, we should adopt the precautionary principle, and not introduce novel things until we know they are safe. c. Yes, but we should proceed cautiously, and consider each new crop separately.
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings

QUESTION: Review
Which statement is NOT correct?

a. Soil consists of disintegrated rock, organic matter, nutrients, and microorganisms. b. Healthy soil is vital for agriculture. c. Soil is somewhat renewable. d. Soil is lifeless dirt. e. Much of the world¶s soil has been degraded.
Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings

. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Is the lowest horizon. Contains mostly organic matter. Is often called ³topsoil. d. deepest underground.´ c.´ b. Inc. Is often called the ³zone of accumulation. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.QUESTION: Review The A horizon in a soil profile« ? a.

Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Inc. Two of the above. c.. b. Excessive plowing. Deforestation. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Overgrazing rangelands. d. e. All of the above.QUESTION: Review Erosion occurs through« ? a.

. d. Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. c. b. It is much less efficient. About 40% is wasted.QUESTION: Review Drip irrigation differs from conventional irrigation in that « ? a. It can cause salinization. Inc. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Water is precisely targeted to plants.

Inc. Intercropping d.. What strategies would you consider using? a. Crop rotation b. publishing as Benjamin Cummings . Terracing e. No-till farming Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.QUESTION: Weighing the Issues You are farming an extremely steep slope that is sunny and very windy. Contour farming c. Shelterbelts f.

. Inc. Risen steadily b.QUESTION: Interpreting Graphs and Data Grain produced per person has« ? a.3 Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education. Fallen sharply c. Increased since 1983 Decreased since 1983 Figure 8. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .

Inc.. publishing as Benjamin Cummings .Industrialized agriculture Modern intensive agriculture on a large scale: ‡ Crop monocultures ‡ Synthetic chemical herbicides. pesticides ‡ Extensive mechanization ‡ Fossil fuel use Copyright © 2005 Pearson Education.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful