Organic Farming Manual

Miracle Farm Blueprint

Miracle Farm Blueprint is a step by step guide for the small-scale farming whose major aim of facilitating individuals in their attempts to have sufficient water supply and pure organic foods. It is a product of Michael, a guy only known by one name. The author teaches the best way of structuring a mini-farm though efficient. The farm will be self-sufficient, something that can help individuals along with their families to manage unforeseen circumstances such as disasters or any kind of emergency. Following this guide will help save thousands of dollars that would otherwise be incurred on groceries. Additionally, it will help you come up with a survival mechanism. The author is of the opinion that the blueprint the program is kind of a miracle and probably the best than any other one in the market. The program is easy and applicable to all individuals. Besides, you will only be required to have simple tools, apart from a reduced total expenditure. Thousands of individuals reap maximum benefits every day. All you need to do is to give it a try and be among them. Read more...

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Society Issues Painkiller Solutions Dependence and Sustainable Agriculture

Abstract Here I tackle three major issues, climate change, financial crisis and national security, to disclose the weak points of current remedies and propose sustainable solutions. Global warming and the unexpected 2008 financial crisis will undoubtedly impact all nations. Treating those two critical issues solely by painkiller solutions will fail because only adverse consequences are healed, not their causes. Therefore, all sources of issues must be treated at the same time by enhancing collaboration between politicians and scientists. Furthermore, the adverse consequences of globalisation of markets for energy, food and other goods have been overlooked, thus deeply weakening the security of society structures in the event of major breakdowns. Therefore, dependence among people, organisations and nations must be redesigned and adapted to take into account ecological, social and security impacts. Solving climate, financial and security issues can be done by using tools and principles...

Gender and Sustainable Agriculture

Women have learned to manage these resources in order to preserve them for future generations (Atmis et al. 2007). Although, the impact of attitude and behavior of rural men on sustainability of agriculture is often acknowledged, the importance of women's attitude in shaping agriculture is ignored (Karami and Mansoorabadi 2008). Because women's different and important contributions to the farm and family are not institutionally recognized and addressed by the sustainable agriculture movement, the movement's goals, vision, and activities are gender-specific, dominated by men's participation and contributions (Meares 1997 Karami and Mansoorabadi 2008). Government and institutional policies often fail to recognize the importance of women's access to natural resources. While research has shown that agricultural productivity increases significantly when female farmers have access to land and Some of the issues that have been addressed by sociologists with regard to women's impact on...

Social Impact Assessment and Sustainable Agriculture

In line with the triple bottom-line approach from sustainable development (Vanclay 2004), the social impact assessment is of particular importance in considering the social sustainability of agriculture. There is no doubt that the social impact assessment is as important, in some cases even more important than the assessments of biophysical and economic dimensions of sustainable agriculture (Pisani and Sandham 2006). There have been many agricultural development projects in developing countries focusing on rural area in arid and semiarid lands in the past 3 decades. These have faced numerous social challenges such as a growing sense of rural households' dissatisfaction, negative attitudes, and conflicts with the project and as a result unsustainability (Ahmadvand and Karami 2009). The three main goals of sustainable agriculture are economic efficiency, environmental quality, and social responsibility (Fairweather and Campbell 2003). Certainly, social sustainability is a core dimension...

Sustainable Versus Organic Agriculture

Abstract Awareness and concern for problems related to environmental quality are growing at a steady pace climate change, biodiversity, soil fertility decay and above all food quality and pollution are everyday subjects for debates and discussions. The complexity of the problems and the uncertainty about many basic data quite often make discussions inconclusive even indications issued by scientific authorities are sometimes misleading, and the problems are exacerbated by the frequent influence of ideological positions. In an endeavour to contribute to clarify agriculture-related environmental issues, a review is made here of the principles of sustainable agriculture and of the ways to deal with them. The need is emphasized for a system approach which is able to reconcile economic-productive, environmental and social aspects, the three 'pillars' of sustainability, permitting to consider simultaneously the numerous factors concurring to determine the most appropriate production...

Setting Priorities for Agricultural Research Theory and Experience

The close of the 20th century has brought new and daunting challenges to the agricultural and biological sciences. Confronted with population growth and the continual emergence of new diseases, pests, and environmental problems, researchers face pressure to develop improved technologies at an ever-increasing rate. Agricultural researchers are charged with the responsibility of producing more food and fiber, lowering the costs of production, and protecting the natural environment. They are urged to design plant varieties that benefit the poor and remedy social injustice they are encouraged to create technologies that meet the needs of women and they are asked to target marginal environments in which producers use few inputs. For those who manage research organizations or allocate funding for agricultural research, this portfolio of responsibilities can be overwhelming. An increase in funding levels would always help, but the allocation problems remain. Should resources be spread across...

Soil Functions and Diversity in Organic and Conventional Farming

Abstract Intensification of modern agriculture is one of the greatest threats worldwide and it has led to growing concern about conserving biodiversity and its role in maintaining functional biosphere. It is now clear that agricultural intensification can have negative local consequences, such as increased erosion, lower soil fertility, and reduced biodiversity negative regional consequences, such as pollution of ground water and eutrophication of rivers and lakes and negative global consequences, including impacts on atmospheric constituents and climate. Concerns about the ability to maintain long-term intensive agriculture are also growing. Organic farming is now seen by many as a potential solution to this continued loss of biodiversity due to recycling of natural resources and no negative impact of synthetics. Though almost all soil processes are regulated by soil microbes, the link between micro-bial diversity and soil function is not well understood. This review article assesses...

Indigenous Soil Knowledge and Sustainable Agriculture 1121 What Is Indigenous Soil Knowledge

The World Conservation Union (IUCN 1986) recognizes that indigenous soil knowledge gives benefits to the environmental applications, new biological insights, environmental assessment, commodity development, sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, development and planning, and environmental education. It also plays an important role in monitoring ecological changes by providing early warning signs of change. The collection of it will bring wisdom to sustainable development (Handayani et al. 2006 Handayani and Prawito 2008 Williams and Baines 1993).

Allelopathy and Organic Farming

Abstract Allelopathy is a biological process including interactions between two plants through the production of chemical compounds (allelochemicals) that are released by leaching, volatilization, decomposition, or root exudation. Hence, allelopathy together with competition is a promising environment-friendly tool for weed management. However, detailed knowledge of this phenomenon is necessary for its successful application due to still limited available knowledge. Suitable use of allelopathic crops in agriculture could reduce the pesticide application and thereby reduce the environmental and food pollution, decrease costs in agriculture, improve food security in poor regions and soil productivity, and increase biodiversity and sustainability in the agro-ecosystem. Weed management in organic agriculture is one of the most difficult aspects of organic farming and uses especially preventive methods that include ways such as cover crops, mulches, green manure, intercropping in which...

Importance of Indigenous Soil Knowledge in Developing Sustainable Agriculture

The farming system is a foundation in agriculture. A sustainable farming system is recognized as a system that maintains the resource base upon which it depends, relies on minimum of synthetic inputs, manages pests and diseases through internal regulating processes, and can recover from the human disturbance caused by agricultural practices, i.e., cultivation and harvest (Edwards et al. 1990 Altieri 1995). Sustainable agriculture is farming systems that are maintaining their productivity and benefit to society indefinitely (Appleby 2005 Lichtfouse et al. 2009). Gleissman (2001) describes that the components of sustainable agriculture begin with two types of existing systems natural ecosystems and traditional farming systems (Table 11.1). Both have a test of time to maintain land productivity and provide a different kind of knowledge. Natural ecosystems offer a reference point for better understanding of the ecological process of sustainability while traditional farming systems provide...

Sustainable Agriculture to Reduce Environmental Impact Soil Organic Matter as a Source and Key Factor of Greenhouse

The main concern of the altered global C cycle is the large imbalance between carbon release to the atmosphere and carbon uptake by other compartments, that leads to a continued increase in atmospheric CO2 to a rate of 4.1 x 109 tons of carbon per year (IPCC 2007a, b). CO2 is considered the main GHG, affecting the phenomenon for more than 50 (IPCC 1996). The terrestrial carbon cycle is supposedly a sink of about 25 of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions (Running 2008). On the other end, over the past few 100 years, the expansion of agricultural land has released substantial carbon to the atmosphere, due to soil carbon depletion by agriculture through removal of photosynthate carbon toward the market system and conventional tillage (CT) practices, which increase SOM mineralization rate (Schlesinger 1984). Thus, it is raising a new concern of industrialized agriculture toward a more environmentally sustainable system. Literature in sustainable agriculture identifies two core aspects (1) the...

Definition and Global Situation of Organic Agriculture

Organic agriculture has a long history with guidelines developed in 1924 to formalize an alternative to conventional production systems (Hovi et al. 2003). This was associated with Rudolf Steiner and the development of biodynamic farming and agriculture, which has unique features in addition to those of organic farming in general, and a certification scheme established in 1928. This still operates today and is identified by the Demeter and Biodyn labels on foods (Lampkin 1999). Organic farming can be defined as a method of production, which places the highest emphasis on protecting and enhancing the environment and minimizing pollution (Liebhardt 2003). Organic farming systems focus on soil fertility as the key to successful production and reduction of external inputs by refraining from the use of chemosynthetic fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. Instead, natural resources and processes are relied upon to manage soil nutrient status and pests, diseases and weeds and hence to...

Sociology of Sustainable Agriculture

Abstract Sustainability is the core element of government policies, university research projects, and extension organizations worldwide. Yet, the results of several decades of attempt to achieve sustainable agriculture have not been satisfactory. Despite some improvement conventional agriculture is still the dominant paradigm. Pollution of water, soil, and air, degradation of environmental resources, and loss of biodiversity are still the by-product of agricultural systems. In light of these crises, based on review of current literature, it is argued that in promoting sustainable agriculture our perception should shift from a technocratic approach to a social negotiation process that reflects the social circumstances and the power conditions. Agriculture should be regarded as an activity of human therefore, it is social as much as it is agronomic and ecological. Therefore, here we explore the contribution of sociology toward achieving agricultural sustainability. The review reveals...

Attitudes Behaviors and Sustainable Agriculture

Trying to achieve good practice on their farms, balance environmental, physical, and commercial factors in their decisions about their farming system. Clark (1989) suggested that farmers' decisions about whether to take advice about conservation were affected by three distinct dimensions the policy environment facing farmers, the advisory structures in place, and the personality of the farmer. There is consistent evidence in the literature indicating a relationship between farmers' attitudes toward environment and their farming practices (Fairweather and Fig. 2.1 Theoretical framework of factors influencing farmers' sustainable agricultural attitudes and behaviors (From Karami and Mansoorabadi 2008). According to this theoretical framework, farmers' action is guided by two kinds of considerations attitude toward sustainable agriculture and presence of factors that may further or hinder performance of the behavior Attitude toward sustainable agriculture Religious and spiritual values,...

Organic Agriculture and Food Production Ecological Environmental Food Safety and Nutritional Quality Issues

Abstract Conventional agricultural systems should not only produce much greater amounts of food, feed, fibre and energy to meet the global needs, but also challenge problems to improve health and social well-being of man, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, adapt to climate change and extreme weather, reduce environmental degradation and decline in the quality of soil, water, air and land resources throughout the world as well. The present one-dimensional physical and chemical production systems should be replaced by an agricultural paradigm that rely more on biology, ecology and sociology, and meet global food needs based on the soil, water, land and fertility resources without compromising the capacity of future generations in meeting their environmental, food and resource needs. Organic agriculture as an alternative to conventional systems of food production should contain features of agricultural systems that promote the environmentally, socially and economically sound production...

Indigenous Soil Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture

Abstract Indigenous soil knowledge, a foundation of traditional farming systems, plays an important role in developing agricultural and environmental sustainability, especially in developing countries where most farmers have limited access to soil analysis and extension services. Recently, indigenous soil knowledge has been recognized as a vital source for most scientists to be used to change and improve natural resource management without neglecting the social and cultural values of the local environment. However, the transfer of the knowledge from generation to generation, farmer to farmer, farmers to scientists, and scientists to farmers is critical for a better understanding of soil processes, which is a major part in developing sustainable agriculture. This chapter reviews indigenous soil knowledge and its application and how scientists respond to the value of indigenous soil knowledge and integrating it into agricultural activities. Case studies from various countries in Africa,...

Agricultural Sciences Use of Mathematical Models

The science of agriculture depends on research activities for (i) the acquisition of knowledge (ii) the ordering of knowledge and the development of understanding on that knowledge, and (iii) the application of the knowledge and or understanding to the solution of practical problems (Rimmington and Charles-Edwards 1987). The mathematical models can be used in different ways within each one of these three activities. Basically a simplified description of a system, a mathematical model can help us to better understand the operation of a real system and the interactions of its main components. Thus, they are excellent forecast mechanisms. The important uses of mathematical models in agricultural sciences can be (i) analysis of observed responses in plant growth as a function of certain factors, to increase our understanding of the crop growth and to provide direction in our research (ii) simulation of plant growth by models consisting of many interacting components and levels, as an aid...

Future themes of sustainable agriculture in relation to N2O emissions

In Japan, the focus of sustainable agriculture is on crop production practices, such as low input of chemical fertilizer for carrot to conserve groundwater quality (Kagamihara City Groundwater Study, 1989). Japanese laws on the agroenvironment and sustainability refer to livestock husbandry only in terms of manure application for soil fertility and soil health and livestock excreta management. The primary aim of these regulations is to preserve water quality in the environment and to reduce the direct effects on people (e.g., preventing excreta odors). However, the contribution of agricultural practices to global warming is a

Striving for a Sustainable Agriculture

The discussion above leads to the following considerations (1) today's agriculture has achieved the scientific and technical ability to provide food for a steadily increasing world population, but the price paid to achieve this success, in terms of environmental decay and quality of life, cannot be accepted and there is ample reason to fear an irreversible decay of agro-ecosystems in the future (2) strategies for a sustainable agriculture are urgently needed and an arsenal of sometimes contrasting ways to achieve sustainability is available, but sustainability is an elusive concept widely varying with the various farms and agricultural systems (3) progress towards sustainability can be achieved provided that prejudice-free, flexible system approaches are adopted, apt to the diverse circumstances and objectively supported by appropriate indicators. In the following part a necessarily incomplete review will be exposed of the possible impacts of the principal farming practices that must...

Change in cultural practices or improved farming practices

Ttis coping measure consists of changes in farming practices to increase adaptive capacity through improved soil, crop and environmental quality. It includes adjustments in agricultural inputs such as the use of hybrids, flexible calendar of farming activities such as changes in timing of operations to address changes in temperature moisture conditions, integrating crops with trees in a given production area to halt decline of land productivity and the use of farming systems such as organic and precision farming.

Achieving Sustainable Agriculture Role of Sociology

Sociologists and other social scientists have played a significant role in the emergence, institutionalization, and design of sustainable agriculture. Sociologists and other social scientists have done particularly significant research on the adoption of resource-conserving practices. They have also made major contributions through their research into identifying user needs and implementation strategies relating to sustainable agriculture technology (Buttel 1993). For many scholars, sustainable agriculture lies at the heart of a new social contract between agriculture and society (Gafsi et al. 2006). Despite the diversity in conceptualizing sustainable agriculture, there is a consensus on three basic features of sustainable agriculture (i) maintenance of environmental quality, (ii) stable plant and animal productivity, and (iii) social acceptability. Consistent with this, Yunlong and Smith (1994) have also suggested that agricultural sustainability should be assessed from ecological...

Main Characteristics Of Farming Systems In Drylands

Drylands have particular characteristics that will affect their capacity to sequester carbon. Drylands often experience high temperatures, low and erratic rainfall, minimal cloud cover, and small amounts of plant residues to act as surface cover to minimize radiation impact. As a result, soils in the drylands are, generally, both inherently low in organic matter and nutrients and rapidly lose large proportions of those small quantities as CO2 when exposed by tillage and other conventional practices. Exposed and loosened soils are also highly prone to soil erosion, particularly rainfall patterns that include intense, storm precipitation after long dry periods. The key issue in drylands is therefore to maximize the capture, infiltration, and storage of rainfall water into soils by promoting conditions that accumulate organic matter and increase soil biodiversity. Drylands are particularly prone to soil degradation and desertification, with 70 of the agricultural land degraded. This...

National Agricultural Research System

The National Agricultural Research System of India is one of the largest in the world, with over 30,000 highly qualified scientists. The Central and State Governments provide most of the funds. The private sector in recent years has started to invest in agricultural research, mainly in seed improvement and production. Its share is expected to increase further with the existing and emerging congenial public policies, including appreciation for Intellectual Property Protection. Although the history of agricultural research in India goes back to the early years of the century, much of the present growth of the system has taken place in the past four decades. A significant part of it can be traced to the reorganization of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in 1966 when, as the main executive agency, it was given responsibility and considerable autonomy to plan and coordinate research and to be the main funding body. ICAR has been described as the research arm of the Ministry of...

Past Changes In Agricultural Land Use And Production

Data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO, 2003) indicate that the agricultural area of Europe (EU-15 member countries) declined by about 14 between 1961 and 2000 (Figure 3.1a). During the same period, population increased by nearly 20 and the economic power expressed in GDP per capita almost tripled (World Bank, 2002). Thus, agricultural production from a decreasing area of agricultural land had to satisfy the growing demand for food that resulted from increasing population and economic wealth. At the beginning of the 1960s productivity of important crops in Europe increased significantly mainly due to advances in agricultural technology, known as the Green Revolution. For instance, yields of cereals in the EU 15 countries increased by about 150 in the last four decades (Figure 3.1b). Rates of yield increase were higher than increases in demand and production exceeded demand in the mid eighties (Figure 3.1c). Further, increases in crop productivity resulted in substantial...

Agricultural impacts of climate change

Changes can have different impacts depending on the geographic scale of analysis. Climatic change will have different manifestations at local, regional, and global scales. Impacts will also vary according to the agricultural products under consideration. Some plant or animal species may be very resilient to environmental changes. Others may not adapt so well to change. Temperature increases will affect crop and livestock production in various ways. A warming climate will extend the frost-free growing season at higher latitudes. Regions that are too cold to support commercial agriculture in northern Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, and Russia, may become viable agricultural areas if temperatures increase. On the other hand, temperature-sensitive crops may no longer be commercially viable in regions that become too hot or dry. Also, rising temperatures could increase the heat stress on livestock.

Komamine T Fujimura and K N Watanabe

Plants and agricultural sciences are playing a leading role in the rescue of human beings from the crisis in the biosphere plant biotechnology may improve crop functions to rapidly promote food production. Plant and agricultural sciences also may produce plants tolerant to environmental stresses such as drought, salinity and coldness, and thus would expand land available for cultivation. It is also possible to produce crops resistant to diseases and arthropods using plant biotechnology, suppressing the excess usage of agricultural chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides. Woody plants will also play important roles in the suppression of CO2 increase in the atmosphere and in producing plant biomass. Plant biotechnology will improve the functions of woody plants and provide seedlings on a large scale to replace the destroyed tropical forests, to preserve environments and biodiversity. The aim of this book is to discuss strategies for global food production and environmental problems...

Natural Treatment Processes

Other natural concepts that have never been dropped from use include lagoon systems and land application of sludges. Wastewater lagoons model the physical and biochemical interactions that occur in natural ponds, while land application of sludges model conventional farming practices with animal manures.

Tsujii Introduction

In this paper, effects of these factors on the world food demand and supply in the past and in the near future are investigated and their implications to agricultural research are considered. The limitation in agricultural technology improvements and in natural resources is clearly represented by the sharp decline in the growth rates in grain yields across the globe during the post-Second World War years. According to the FAO data, the annual growth rate of the yield has declined continuously from about 3 during the 70s to about 1 during 1985 and 1996. Agricultural research expenditures in the international and national research institutions have been decreasing considerably. Yield decline or constraint for grain due to increase in cropping intensity has been reported in many parts of Asia. In order to cope with the exploding population, the grain yield must grow at 3 annually, and this seems very difficult to attain in the near future. I believe that developing countries should take...

Rethinking Society Dependence

Should be at the same time supplied with food and helped to produce their own food and energy. Scientists and policy makers should therefore study, assess and enforce the relevant level of goods circulation. Here, the tools developed by agronomists to build sustainable farming systems should be particularly useful because agriculture is the foundation of society (Lal, 2009c Lichtfouse et al. 2009a). Agronomists are indeed experts at deciphering mechanisms occurring at various scales, from the molecule to the global scale, and from seconds to centuries. Agronomy should thus be used as a core tool to build a sustainable society. Table 1.1 gathers the major practices of sustainable agriculture, and their main benefits. It should thus help readers to build rapidly an overall vision of the current innovative tools and approaches to build a sustainable world. Table 1.1 Practices of sustainable agriculture. Most citations are review articles published in the following books Sustainable...

Predicting Climate Fluctuations and Agricultural Impacts

Several avenues are likely to enhance the quality of forecasts of agricultural impacts of climate variations over the next five to ten years. First, dynamically coupling crop models within climate models will support refined two-way interaction between the atmosphere and agricultural land use. Second, remote sensing and proliferation of spatial environmental databases provide substantial opportunities to expand the use and enhance the quality and resolution of climate-based crop forecasts. Finally, climate-based crop forecasts will benefit from climate research in the emerging area of weather within climate.

Carbon Sequestration by Smallholder Farming Communities

Poor farmers in the tropics could benefit financially by sequestering carbon. It is a product they provide to the global community when using the other practices described in Table 1.2. This idea was proposed by the CGIAR Inter-Center Working Group on Climate Change at a meeting of the subsidiary bodies of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lyon, France in September 2000 The idea was well received by developing country representatives and donor agencies. It represents a potential integrated approach to food security poverty alleviation issues because it would also involve carbon sequestration as a no-regrets option. Research needs to be done to determine how the sequestered carbon can be accounted for in a heterogeneous landscape that includes hundreds of small farms, and about how benefits could accrue to farmers. Payments for sequestering carbon

Assessing Adoption and Benefit

In contrast to ex ante approach, an ex post analysis would base its valuation on the observed actions of the economic agent and how he responded to the realized environmental shock or climate outcome. There are few, if any, regions in the developing world where rural communities have had access to operational climate information and support tailored to their needs, for sufficient time to allow ex post assessment of use and benefits. Msangi et al. (2006) argue that understanding current use of ex post impact assessment methodology for evaluation of agricultural research investments

Increasing the soil carbon sink

Human conversion of soils from natural to agricultural use has led to substantial reductions in the soil carbon sink. Greater soil disturbance, such as that caused by ploughing, can induce rapid respiration and loss of large amounts of soil carbon which would otherwise decompose more slowly. Sensitive land use practice is key to better balancing of the soil carbon sink, and perhaps to reversing recent trends of loss of carbon from soils. Farming practices such as 'no-till' - whereby agricultural land is used without the soil disturbance and carbon loss that comes with ploughing - are becoming more widespread and land use remains a key area of research in studies of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and strategies to reduce them. Lemke and Janzen (Chapter 5, this volume) discuss the impact of no-till farming on emissions or removal of CO2, CH4 and N2O, considering the overall net effect on the earth's climate in both the short and long terms. By doing so, they demonstrate

Adjust Planting Structure in Accordance with the Need of Grain Ration and Feed Grains

From the overall situation of planting development, particular attention should be paid to feed production, including feed grain crops and feed crops, while making overall plans on the allocation of food grain, grains for seed industry and for industrial use and various cash crops. The emphasis should be on the harmonious development of a three-component crop structure cereal crops, cash crops (including crops like melons and vegetables ) and feed crops. This means that a part of the feed grain area in Southern China which is brought under grain crops should be converted to growing grain feed crops or feed-specific varieties, such as high yield rice or corn for feed use. Meanwhile, an appropriate area of the land should be increased to grow feed manure crops (such as some green manure crops) and feed crops (such as alfalfa, sweet clover etc.) so as to form a feed basis and stimulate the crop structure to the greater diversity of the three-component one (cereal crops-cash crops-feed...

Adoption of Sustainable Agricultural Practices

The adoption of sustainable agriculture strategies technologies has received frequent attention in recent years, both by producers and consumers. Despite economic and noneconomic disadvantages of conventional agriculture, farmers have been slow to adopt these practices, and adoption appears to vary widely by region and crops (Musser et al. 1986). Much of the research effort in adoption of sustainable agriculture has been fragmented, with little coordination and integration. Several issues have not been adequately treated in previous studies. While research on sustainable agriculture systems has produced information on several alternative practices, little substantive research has investigated the structure of belief and motivation that drive farmers' decisions about sustainable agriculture systems adoption (Comer et al. 1999). Hence, the need for new perspectives has been called for in the study of the adoption and diffusion of sustainable agriculture, with focus on access to, and...

Societal issues related to sustainability 221 Sustainability

In what some refer to as 'industrial food production' or 'chemical farming systems' (Nap et al., 2002). The farm is viewed as a factory with inputs and outputs, aiming at increased yields with reduced costs, often by exploiting the economies of scale. It is accompanied by use of and reliance on agro-chemicals, large-scale mono-cropping, and mechanisation and energy consumption. The primary objective of such agricultural systems is to produce as much food and fibre as possible, for the least cost. According to Lyson (2002), 'current conventional agriculture is anchored to the scientific paradigm of reductionist experimental biology, in combination with the reduc-tionism of neoclassical economics, driven by continued (desire for) industrialisation.'

Threats to the forests

The rate of deforestation in Guatemala is estimated at 900 km2 a year (INAB 2002 see Table 2), 73 per cent within broad-leaved forest and 23 per cent in coniferous forest. According to projections carried out by the National Forestry Institute (INAB), this rate of deforestation will result in the elimination of the country's forest cover in approximately 40 years. The montane ecosystem (forests between 1500-3000 m) is one of the most threatened because of demographic pressure leading to conversion to agricultural land and exploitation for firewood, and because of climate change (Islebe et al. 1995, Islebe & Veliz-Perez 2001). The sub-alpine forests of Guatemala (found between 31503800 m) are subject to particular pressure and will probably disappear in the next few years if no immediate action is taken (Islebe 1996).

Introduction 311 The Problem

Many alternative, more or less fanciful approaches have been suggested to conventional agriculture, all aiming to reduce the input of non-renewable resources and all claiming to permit the achievement of sustainable agriculture, such as integrated farming, ecological farming, permaculture, organic farming, alternative agriculture, biodynamic farming and many others. Of all the above groups, only organic farming can boast an established set of officially coded rules and standards, with minor differences among different countries (European Commission 2000, 2007 FAO WHO 2001 Australia, Haas 2006 USDA 2007), and enjoys substantial funding nevertheless, many sound principles deserving full consideration, sometimes more rational than those of organic farming, are suggested by other systems, which can be usefully adopted in the quest for enhanced, more sustainable agro-ecosystems. Conversely some principles of organic farming are potentially hindering the progress towards sustainability,...

Measuring Food Security

This undernourishment measure is attractive because it is both computationally simple and based on relatively available national-level data on the production and trade of agricultural products. But many criticize the measure for effectively focusing on food availability at the expense of issues of household food access and utilization - the status of which might correlate poorly with the national-level estimates of food supply on which the FAO measure is based. Others complain that the FAO statistics reveal nothing about the sub-national location or severity of food insecurity, and thus that they are of little use to practical policy planning (Smith et al. 2006).

The Tragedy Of Climate Change

Conservation biology has ties to wildlife management, fisheries biology, the agricultural sciences, forestry, ecology, climatology, population biology, taxonomy, and genetics. In addition to working with scientists from these disciplines, conservation biologists work with journalists and newspaper editors. Some of the most influential conservation biologists Aldo Leopold, for example wrote in a journalistic vein.

The Required System Approach

In a SAREP (1997) statement, a system perspective is essential to understanding sustainability. The system is envisioned in its broadest sense, from the individual farm, to the local ecosystem, and to communities affected by this farming system both locally and globally. A system approach gives us the tools to explore the interconnections between farming and other aspects of our environment.

Species PlantsBirds MammalsAmphibians Reptiles Freshwater fish

Many of the threats to Guatemala's forest are related to increasing human population and the unequal distribution of land, which forces poor farmers to view forests as a source of agricultural land. Population density has reached more than 300 people per km2 in many zones of the Altiplano, resulting in a drastic increase in land use, with conversion of forest into agricultural land, cattle ranches and human settlements. The majority of the population use firewood for cooking and heat, leading to additional pressure on the country's forest resources.

Anthropogenic Modification of Dust Supply

The deliberate large-scale manipulation of terrestrial ecosystems has been proposed for the 'locking up' (sequestration) of carbon on land. These include, changes in soil management practices such as reducing tillage, enhancing the areal and seasonal extent of ground cover, and the 'settingaside' of surplus agricultural land, in addition to the restoration of previously degraded lands and forestation Royal Society (2001) . However, reduced disturbance, stabilisation of soils, and greater vegetation cover are also likely to reduce dust emissions. Since dust exerts an important control on the biological pump in the ocean, the effectiveness of carbon sequestration on land may be diminished by a reduction in carbon uptake by the ocean.

Linking crop failure and food availability in the country

Years, two major periods may be distinguished. In the first half of the century the level of food consumption was below the physiological minimum (2,400 kcal per capita per day). Bread was the major component of a Russian's diet. The proportion of bread reached 55 to 60 percent of the daily calorific intake, while meat made up only 5 percent. In poor years, productive (steppe and forest-steppe) regions found themselves in a better position than consumption (forest) regions. In the post-revolutionary decades Russia was still an agrarian country, with 82 percent of the population living in rural areas. The majority of the population was directly dependent on the cereal crops produced on small plots of land. Mass famine was reported in the 1920s and 1930s in regions affected by drought. The Soviet authorities carried out a devastating policy, expropriating from collective farms and individual farmers as much grain and meat as the state needed at that moment. As a result, the regions that...

Food Availability and Climate Change

Furthermore, expanding cropped area, which is the alternative to increasing yield, is either difficult or unappealing throughout much of the world, either because of urban encroachment on agricultural land or because of the environmental costs of bringing new land into production. The FAO, which periodically assesses trends in crop demand and supply, envisages a significant expansion of cropland area in Africa and Latin America but little growth elsewhere, mainly because so little land in Asia remains uncultivated (Bruinsma 2003). Overall, most global assessments project that (1) crop demand will grow considerably over the next few decades, given the additive pressures of population growth (estimated to peak at 9.1 billion mid-century), higher incomes resulting in shifting food preferences, and potential development of large-scale biofuel production and the additional crop demand it represents (2) the rate of demand growth, however, will be slower than observed in the past few...

Forestry Related Incentives European Union

Two key programmes of the European Commission (EC) that provide incentives for afforestation and reforestation are the Community Regulation Directive 2080 92 (later introduced as part of the Common Agricultural Policy, CAP), which promotes afforestation of agricultural land, and the Special Action for Pre-Accession Measures for Agriculture and Rural Development (SAPARD), which focusses on rural development in European Union (EU) accession countries and includes funding for afforestation. Both of these schemes have been widely criticised as perverse incentives (also see the case study that follows this chapter). Under the CAP, detailed analysis in 1997 suggested that the decrease in utilised agricultural land was marginal and that the role of afforestation under CAP had been overestimated. Also, the application of the directive varied between member states, with six countries accounting for more than 90 percent of total area planted. Lastly, the analysis found examples where funds had...

Stephanie Mansourian and Pedro Regato

The European Commission has been promoting afforestation since 1992 under the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) (Directive 2080 92) as a solution to reducing agricultural land and therefore, agricultural surpluses (which are currently supported financially through subsidies). More recently a sister scheme has been developed, the Special Action for Pre-accession Measures for Agriculture and Rural Development (SAPARD), which is applicable to European Union (EU) accession countries and covers the period 2000 to 2006, with a budget of over 333 million Euros.

Estimated Changes In Productivity And Land

As we assumed for the B1 scenario (Rounsevell et al., 2005 Rounsevell et al., in review), the decrease in land use will be less (Figure 3.6b). Importantly, if agricultural land is fully protected as in the B2 scenario (Rounsevell et al., 2005 Rounsevell et al., in review) overproduction will increase to about 47 by 2080 (Figure 3.6c). There were regional differences in the allocation of these changes, which is not further discussed here (but see Rounsevell et al., 2005 Rounsevell et al., in review).

Potential Implications Of Estimated Land Use Changes

The estimated future decline in agricultural land use is likely to have substantial implications for rural development, agriculture and the environment. The potential reduction in future land areas required for agricultural production provides opportunities for alternative uses such as for bioenergy production (biofuels, woodlands), GHG emission reduction through conversion of crop land to forests (Guo and Gifford, 2002), biodiversity conservation and or leisure and recreational purposes. The environmental and socio-economic benefits of such land use changes may be considerable, but are largely unknown. Alternatively, orientation towards sustainable agriculture with less emphasis on productivity increases, and agricultural protection policies will result in reduced changes (B1) Figure 3.6 Estimated changes in agricultural land use of crops for different SRES scenarios compared to the base-line year 2000 assuming a) no oversupply, b) 10 oversupply (B1 scenario) and c) oversupply is...

Guatemala methodology

A bibliographical review of published literature and unpublished (grey) material on these species in Guatemala was carried out in the USAC, the UVG, various governmental institutions (CONAP, INAB), international organizations (World Bank, Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre (CATIE), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)) and NGOs such as Fundacion Defensores de la Naturaleza, CECON and TNC. Information about each species in Guatemala was compiled and organized under the following headings taxonomy, habitat, distribution, management, conservation, threats, threat category and references. These species files will be incorporated into the IUCN Red List database, to ensure the information gathered is as widely available as possible.

The postrevolutionary decade 19171928

Many experts welcome the abundance and diversity of statistical data published in the first post-revolutionary decade. In fact, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Soviet Union published immense quantities of data about every possible subject. Its yearly plans contained the minutest details. Besides data on crop areas and harvests, experts could find in the Soviet reports of the 1920s statistical information about peasant budgets, the state provision of agricultural products, and food trade between regions. For the first time in history information on food consumption for different groups of the population, both rural and urban, at regional level were compiled and published in Russia. For example, the drought of 1921 was the subject of extensive analysis. A Soviet statistical report of 1924 contained precise data on the areas of different crops devastated by drought (Sbornik statisticheskix svedenii po Souzy SSR 1918-1923, 1924). Local statistical agencies were also productive. For...

Ecological and Environmental Issues

The ecological principles underlying different management practices must be understood in order to predict the impact they might have on natural resources. This is a key step towards an agriculture system that reconciles productivity with environmental conservation (Abbona et al. 2007). The intensification of agriculture has resulted in major ecological and environmental problems in recent decades, notably decreases in biodiversity of ecosystems and their associated food resources. This is likely to continue with more intensification dependent on the use of synthetic chemicals and genetically modified crops (Kleijn and Sutherland 2003). On the other hand, organic agriculture aims to preserve the integrity and stability of the biotic community, building or at least sustaining soil productivity and biological resources used in the production process of high-quality, safe food (McCann et al. 1997 Conacher and Conacher 1998 Lampkin and Measures 1999). This is achieved by exploiting...

Selfregulating Ability and System Stability

Agriculture is under pressure to reform towards a greater degree of sustainability (Oborn et al. 2003), which can be achieved by conversion from conventional to organic farming systems (Condron et al. 2000) that adopt approaches that stimulate the self-regulating capacity of the agroecosystem as much as possible (Lammerts-van-Bueren et al. 2002). Organically grown crops should have characteristics that fit and support those self-regulating capacities such as natural resistance, natural pest control and biotic regulation of soil fertility. Self-regulating ability of organic ecosystems can be defined as the capacity to resist the effects of small and large perturbations or as the presence of enough resilience to counter them without high external chemical inputs (Lammerts-van-Bueren et al. 2002). This self-regulating ability increases system stability and reduces risk of reduction in the agroecosystems' productivity. Organic agriculture bases its sustainable self-regulating production...

Taking Advantage of Research Spillovers

In many cases, agricultural researchers can benefit from spilloversoriginating in research conducted in other crops, other countries, or other areas of science. Biotechnology offers some immediate examples. The pace of biotechnology research has been rapid over the past decade, and repeated breakthroughs have taken place in techniques, tools, and scientific understandings. Although agricultural scientists have been at the forefront of some advances, it is not clear that agriculture can or should lead in the development of upstream biotechnologies. Possibly it makes greater sense for the agricultural sciences to borrow tools and techniques that are developed for other purposes. Similarly, there may be some RPAs where progress can be made effectively by borrowing from work done in other fields.

Summary And Conclusions

Land into agricultural uses, often in marginally productive areas. This typically triggers the release of carbon currently sequestered by other land covers into the atmosphere. Hence, management options that enhance food security by increasing agricultural productivity of existing agricultural land also may ensure continued carbon sequestration. Policies that are explicitly directed at carbon sequestration and that conflict with food security in developing countries will likely sequester less carbon than expected because of the ensuing expansion of agricultural land. In general, improving agricultural productivity tends to reduce land devoted to agricultural production (Ianchovichina et al., 2001). However, technological progress that substitutes capital for labor in labor-intensive agricultural systems can have the opposite effect, if the displaced labor is expelled to an agricultural frontier and begins clearing land (Angelsen and Kaimowitz, 2000, as reported in McNeely and Scherr,...

High intensity rainfall and floods

A serious effect of floods is landslides, tte counter-measures as an aspect of large scale land use planning that have to be taken in advance demand for direct expenditures in civil engineering but may also compete with agricultural land. In such cases priority should be given to the engineering aspects although keeping enough good quality land for agricultural production has been recognized as a pri-oritypolicyissue (Stigter et al. 2000).

The Food Economy in 2030 Without Climate Change

The modern food economy is much like climate change itself global in scope, unprecedented in scale and constantly changing. The scale of modern agriculture is remarkable. Current production of cereals amounts to over 2 billion t of grain year, roughly 15 of which is traded internationally. There are roughly 1.4 billion head of cattle, 1.0 billion pigs (over half of which are in China) and 1.1 billion sheep in global agriculture, and a staggering 17 billion chickens (FAO, 2005). The added value of agricultural activity has been estimated as roughly

Science for Adaptation in Agricultural Systems

The ability of farmers and the food production, processing, and distribution system to adapt to climate change will to a large extent determine the impacts of climate change on food production. Proposed short-term adaptation strategies include changes in farming locations shifts in planting dates and crop varieties increasing storage capacity, irrigation and chemical application livestock management and broader-level efforts such as investments in agricultural research (see the companion report Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change NRC, 2010a ). However, not all farmers have access to these strategies. Small farms, farmers with substantial debt, and farmers without their own land are much more likely to suffer large negative impacts on their livelihoods.

Socio Economic Aspects of Traditional Agricultural Systems in Asia

Stability of farming through each production cycle has been guaranteed in rice farming. But, this system has been a subsistence farming without a marginal surplus that could have been invested for other local industries. Feudalistic land systems used to abide with the farming system. Villages provide a pool of landless farm laborers and unemployed laborers from city areas. There has been always a kind of vicious cycle Without local industries people flow into cities to get employment for them, food prices should be kept at a minimum but, then there is little opportunity for villages to develop new industries. The green revolution was one of the attempts to improve such stagnant rural structures in Asia.

Soil Microbial Biomass

Field and laboratory experiments have demonstrated that soil microbial activity can create soil conditions favourable to sustainable production (Andrade et al. 1998). Bolton et al. (1985) found that microbial activity and microbial biomass were higher under organic management systems. Soil microbial communities are strongly influenced by agricultural practices. Many farming practices such as intensive tillage, application of chemical pesticides and mineral fertilizers and monoculture are directly or indirectly harmful to soil microbes. Microbial population density and diversity are affected by the level of organic matter, which provides energy for soil micro-organisms. Peacock et al. (2001) reported that soil management practices that result in differential carbon inputs also affect the size and structural community of soil biomass. One such practice is the use of organic amendments and cover crops, which increase carbon availability to micro-organisms. Non-pathogenic and plant growth...

New Problems Which Were Outside of Targets of the Green Revolution

The emission of methane and 'green house effects', as well as salt accumulation in arid regions, are indicated as adverse factors from rice cultivation, although these aspects are not adequately studied. Fear of pollution by spraying insecticides, fungicides or herbicides has led a series of new ideas, such as organic farming, to the forefront.

Country Level Climate Results Present Day and for 207099

The present and future climate estimates are calculated at the level of each of the approximately 2,800 land-based cells in the standardized grid.3 Table 4.2 reports the result of averaging these estimates at the level of 116 individual countries (68), regions (10), or subzones for the seven largest countries (38). Definitions of the multicountry regions and large-country subzones are in appendix D. Development of the estimates for agricultural land and output within each subzone of the large countries is discussed in appendix E.

Food Quality Safety and Environmental Impacts

Food quality and safety in agricultural products is another important issue irrespective of the production system - organic or conventional. Food quality is the suitability of the particular foodstuff for its intended purpose and characterized by quantitative and qualitative characteristics that may differ between markets, e.g. fresh and processed, consumers and regions and influence the prices received by producers and paid by the customers. One aspect of food quality that is becoming more important is the way that the food has been produced in relation to techniques and inputs used, environmental impacts, energy demands and animal welfare standards. In this respect, consumers have choices, e.g. between food produced by conventional, low-input or organic production systems. Food safety on the other hand is defined as the assurance that food will not cause harm to the consumer when it is prepared and or consumed according to its intended use (Brandt 2007). It is regulated by national...

Food and Agrochemicals

The harmful short- and long-term effects of application of agrochemicals on human health have been proven. Several pesticides have been shown to produce complex chronic effects such as change in endocrine functions and immune systems (Woese et al. 1997 Soil Association Organic Standards 2001). Increased uterine weights, reduced pregnancy rates, decreased litter size, interference with development of the reproductive tract or related sexual behaviour are symptoms that are coupled with endocrine disruption (Lundegardh and Martensson 2003). In addition to the short-term direct effects of chemicals on the immune and the endocrine systems, application of several types of agrochemicals during the growing season, typical of conventional systems, will give accumulated and combined effects on living organisms in the ecosystems. Farmers and farm workers are at greatest risk, in particular in countries with less efficient enforcement of safety procedures. Prevention of serious exposure to...

Agrometeorological Advisory Service AAS

Tte major challenge to coping strategies is the development of well differentiated and sufficiently scaled up operational services supporting preparedness strategies (e.g. Stigter et al. 2007). In India, the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting has for example developed an AAS in close collaboration with the India Meteorological Department, the Indian Council for Agricultural Research and the State Agricultural Universities. General Circulation Models (T-80 and T-170) constitute the basic tool for preparing location specific forecasts in the medium range, tte model output is subjected to statistical (Perfect Prog. Model) and synoptic interpretation for improving the skill of weather forecasts. In relation to the forecasts currently available, progress is expected by users on enhancing the skill and range of meteorological variables. It would be necessary to obtain information not only on the average values, but also on the extreme values (for example, for rainfall or...

Prospects For The Future

Of trees on abandoned agricultural land is the most plausible cause of a carbon sink in the terrestrial biosphere of the temperate zone. A large amount of land in the eastern U.S. has reverted to forest since agricultural abandonment in the past century (Delcourt & Harris, 1980 Hart, 1968). These lands now support growing forests, which are accumulating CO2 from the atmosphere. While reforestation of these lands may be helpful in mediating the rise of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, it offers no long-term solution to the greenhouse-warming problem. It would require reforestation of all the once-forested land on Earth, including all the land that is now used for agriculture or covered by urban areas, to store 6 Pg C year - the amount emitted each year from fossil fuel combustion (Vitousek, 1991). House, Prentice, and Le Quere (2002) conclude that the ''maximum feasible reforestation and afforestation activities over the next 50 years would result in a reduction in CO2 concentration...

Ground Surface Aspects

The major concerns relate to the potential for the contamination of surface vegetation or off-site runoff, as the persistence of bacteria or viruses on plant surfaces could then infect people or animals if the plants were consumed raw. To eliminate these risks, it is generally recommended in the United States that agricultural land treatment sites not be used to grow vegetables that may be eaten raw. The major risk is then to grazing animals on a pasture irrigated with wastewater. Typical criteria specify a period ranging from 1 to 3 weeks after sprinkling undisinfected effluent before allowing animals to graze. Systems of this type are divided into relatively small paddocks, and the animals are moved in rotation around the site. Control of runoff is a design requirement of SR and SAT land treatment systems (as described in Chapter 8), so these sources should present no pathogenic hazard. Runoff of the treated effluent is the design intention of overland flow systems, which typically...

Soil Carbon Sequestration Options

For forests, carbon sequestration options include the increase of soil carbon stocks through afforestation, reforestation, improved forest management or revegetation. For croplands, options include zero or reduced tillage, set-aside or Conservation Reserve Program, conversion to permanent or deep-rooting crops, improved efficiency of animal manure use, improved efficiency of crop residue use, agricultural use of sewage sludge, application of compost to land, rotational changes, fertilizer use, irrigation, bioenergy crops, extensification or de-intensification of farming, organic farming (a combination of many different individual practices), conversion of cropland to grassland and management to reduce wind and water erosion. For grazing lands, soil carbon sequestration measures include improved efficiency of animal manure use, improved efficiency of crop residue use, improved livestock management to reduce soil disturbance, improved livestock management to maximize manure carbon...

Agriculture and poverty alleviation

Cheap corn imports from the US disappeared from Mexican markets. However, it is important to point out that the problem did not start with bioenergy, but with forced agricultural market liberalization and the integration of agriculture within global markets. Countries became net food-importing countries and have lost their food sovereignty resulting from this, not because of bioenergy. Only ten years ago, before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), there was no US corn on the Mexican market. Cheap subsidized US corn exports destroyed the livelihood of many Mexican farmers. The small-scale agricultural sector in many developing countries has been destroyed or negatively affected by the dumping of subsidized agricultural products from European countries and the US. Small-scale farmers were and continue to be driven out of business, leading, in turn, to the migration of rural communities into urban areas. The dumping rates into other markets for some agricultural products...

Other Sequestration Methods

Based on a report in Environmental News Network, a company called Carbon Sciences has developed a relatively simple technology that puts the mixture under pressure and temperature to create precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC). PCC is a common component of many products used everyday such as paper, plastic, wallboard, food additives, pharmaceuticals, vinyl siding, fencing, agricultural products, and fertilizer.

The lesson from the past

The ongoing rapid increase in atmospheric N2O, which started during the 19th century, is mainly attributed to the increase of agricultural activities (Kroeze et al, 1999 Ishijima et al, 2007), which in turn was caused by the expansion of agricultural land and industrialization that came along with the increasing availability of agricultural fertilizers triggered by the development of the Haber-Bosch process (see Chapters 4 and 5). A potential indirect contribution by oceanic sources (for example increased N2O emissions as a result of eutrophication of coastal areas) has not been quantified yet.

Metal Removal in Hyacinth Ponds

Removal of metals in land treatment systems can involve both uptake by any vegetation and adsorption, ion exchange, precipitation, and complexation in or on the soil. As explained in Chapter 9, zinc, copper, and nickel are toxic to vegetation long before they reach a concentration in the plant tissue that would represent a risk to human or animal food chains. Cadmium, however, can accumulate in many plants without toxic effects and may represent some health risk. As a result, cadmium is the major limiting factor for application of sludge on agricultural land.

Roots Of Conservation

Destruction from poor farming practices matched the damage from over-cutting of timber. Repeated cultivation of tobacco depleted the rich soils of the Virginia Piedmont during the 1700s, followed later by other areas of the south leached by cotton. Throughout the country, thousands of tons of top-soil were blown or washed away from poorly managed farms. The soil fouled streams, caused flooding, and killed wildlife. The worst example of wind erosion occurred during the prolonged drought of the mid-1930s, when the Dust Bowl clouded skies across the country with precious soils stripped from the midwestern wheat belt.

Box 27 SRESbased landuse and landcover characterisations

Future land use was estimated by most of the lAMs used to characterise the SRES storylines, but estimates for any one storyline are model-dependent, and therefore vary widely. For example, under the B2 storyline, the change in the global area of grassland between 1990 and 2050 varies between -49 and +628 million ha (Mha), with the marker scenario giving a change of +167 Mha (Nakicenovic et al., 2000). The IAM used to characterise the A2 marker scenario did not include landcover change, so changes under the A1 scenario were assumed to apply also to A2. Given the differences in socio-economic drivers between A1 and A2 that can affect land-use change, this assumption is not appropriate. Nor do the SRES land-cover scenarios include the effect of climate change on future land cover. This lack of internal consistency will especially affect the representation of agricultural land use, where changes in crop productivity play an important role (Ewert et al., 2005 Audsley et al., 2006). A...

The Effects Of Global Warming On Agriculture

Warming is indeed occurring and that ecosystems worldwide are already feeling the effects and having to adapt, the protection of agricultural resources is critical. Without the successful adaptation of agriculture and livestock to the long-term changes of climate due to global warming, future adaptation for anything would be difficult. Agricultural systems are influenced by several environmental factors especially weather and climate. Agriculture and livestock depend on the health and well-being of soil conditions such as the presence and quality of organic matter and availability of adequate moisture. If the progression of global warming upsets the balance of any of these biophysical properties (precipitation, temperature, soil moisture, and organic matter), agriculture and livestock will be negatively affected.

Heatwaves and droughts

By studying weather and climate data gathered from all over the world, and transmitted from orbiting satellites, scientists can compare it with past records to work out how much the world has warmed up. But for many people, the evidence of climate change is much more obvious. They are suffering heatwaves that can raise temperatures to lethal levels, and living with droughts that make drinking water scarce, kill their crops and farm animals, and turn fertile land to desert. Some of the droughts may be caused by natural cycles, and deserts can be partly created by poor farming methods such as overgrazing by livestock. But there is little doubt that periods of seriously hot or dry weather are getting more frequent. If there is not enough rain to make up for the evaporation of water from the ground, the soil can gradually turn to dust. This process can be accelerated or even caused by poor farming methods, as happened in the Great Plains states in the 1930s, or more recently in the Sahel...

Predicting Seasonal Rainfall

Historically, there has been a tendency in agricultural research to assume that drought is an unknowable risk. But new understanding of ocean-atmosphere interactions has led to increasingly powerful predictive models for seasonal climatic trends. Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate Prediction is a leader in this area. They use predicted global sea surface temperatures (SSTs) to drive a suite of atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs). Statistical corrections and optimal combinations of GCMs improve these predictions. By downscaling with dynamic regional climate models (RCMs) and statistical methods, the resolution of these predictions is increased (Hansen and Indeje 2004 Indeje et al. 2000). They have been remarkably accurate, for example in the retrospective prediction of the July-to-September rainfall in the West African Sahel over recent decades, including prediction of the drought years of 1972, 1983, 1987, and 1997. ICRISAT and its partners...

Agriculture in the Semi Arid Tropics

Despite the harsh environmental conditions, the rate of population increase has been high in the past and will be kept high(er) in the near future. To feed the growing population, more foods should be produced, by improving productivity of the lands and crops and by developing more sophisticated and sustainable ways of resource management. Due to the unpredictable weather and to poor accessibility of agricultural resources such as fertilizers, the cropping options for farmers are restricted to low input farming systems. High rainfall, which often comes at the onset of each growing season, greatly reduces the efficiency of fertilizer for crop uptake. The fear of a fatal crop failure due to drought makes the farmers reluctant to apply sufficient fertilizer for crop growth. Most crops in the region are grown with no fertilizer or insufficient amounts of fertilizer, due to the consideration of safe investment.

Implications for Other Practices

Perhaps the most obvious is the urgency of accounting for all GHGs in assessing how well a proposed practice might reduce emissions (Robertson and Grace, 2004 Mosier et al., 2005). Although much of the early focus, justifiably, was on soil carbon sequestration, agriculture is a major contributor of N2O and CH4, both potent GHGs. Because of the high GWPs of these gases, small shifts in their emissions can substantially augment or offset the benefits from any soil carbon gain. So we cannot consider only the soil carbon accrual from reduced tillage we have to estimate the effects on N2O emission. We cannot limit our attention only to the SOC gains from planting grasses we have to think about the CH4 emitted when those grasses are fed to livestock. We cannot examine only the SOC benefits of practices that favour higher yields we have to quan-tiffy the N2O emitted from higher fertilizer rates needed to support those yields and the energy consumed in making...

Rural Sustainable Development Efforts

The promotion of sustainability as an instrument to reconcile economic development with the conservation of natural resources was first advanced in earnest at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The main document emerging from the historic meeting, Agenda 21, underscores the intimate relationship between poverty and environmental degradation in developing countries, along with the unsustainable pattern of consumption in developed countries (United Nations 1992). A major conclusion of the Agenda authors was the need to maintain and improve the capacity of the most productive agricultural land to support an expanding population, while at the same time to implement measures towards conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources (land, water, forests) on less productive lands. Many scholars argue that a primary means to achieving this outcome is through the promotion of sustainable intensification techniques (Tisdell, 1988 Tisdell, 1999 Lee and Barrett, 2000). However, as...

Effects of Organic Matter Amendments

A long-term experimental platform exists at the TO site in close proximity of the MESCOSAGR experiment, where organic fertilizers are tested. This platform was intended to evaluate management options of livestock farming in terms of crop production, soil quality, and environment impact. Different maize-based cropping systems are fertilized with bovine farmyard manure or slurry, in comparison to urea. It was therein found that tested organic fertilizers made N available to crops to the same extent as urea and were better retained in the soil leading to minor losses (Zavattaro et al. 2011). Grignani et al. (2007) showed a lower N efficiency of farmyard manure than that of slurry when supplied at low rates, probably because the available N in farmyard manure was not sufficient at early growth stages. On the contrary, farmyard manure was utilized as well as slurry or even more efficiently (depending on cropping systems) when applied at high rates. An investigation on chemical and...

Strategies for Mitigating the Climaterelated Effects of Pests and Diseases on Crop Yields

Sound crop husbandry principles and do not fundamentally differ from existing integrated crop management practices, the basis for sustainable agriculture (Oerke and Dehne, 2004). More specific interventions relate to limiting the movement of trans-boundary pathogens and pests, evolving germplasm improvement priorities in given geographical areas, optimizing control practices and encouraging modelling and forecasting systems. When the enemies and drivers of changes to host-pathogen interactions are known, preventing potential epidemics requires working against evolutionary forces and minimizing inoculum sources while remaining environment friendly. In this context, breeding for host resistance will continue to have a pivotal role among the different options.

Direct Effects Of Climate Change

Rising sea levels increase the risk of coastal flooding. The largest flood risk and saltwater intrusion potential is in south and Southeast Asia. Vegetable production, aquaculture below sea-level, and coastal fisheries are going to be most severely affected. The effects from rising sea levels are amplified by increased anticipated short periods of extreme rainfall, as well as on and offshore storm episodes. Rising sea levels will negatively impact food security in south Asia, coastal zones in Africa, as well as island-states worldwide. Major affected food production centers in delta regions are found in Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, and Thailand. In some areas, coastal land can be replaced by converting upland areas with increased temperatures to agricultural land, although population movement towards urban centers at coasts and in delta regions may result in large negative impacts for the small farm production sector. Saltwater intrusion may further negatively impact irrigation systems...

Agricultures Role in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The above Canadian statistics are not without uncertainties, N2O has the highest and CO2 lowest uncertainty. Nevertheless they serve as a reference point for showing trends. Future emissions will depend on changes in farming practices that are hard to predict. Livestock numbers, crops that are grown, fertilization patterns, and manure management techniques can all change quickly, throwing off the current best projections (Janzen et al., 1998).

Biodiversity of Beneficials in Insect Pest Control Systems

Additionally, sustainable agriculture initiatives stimulated efforts to increase and maintain greater biodiversity through landscape protection of fauna and flora, e.g., introduction of grassland meadows in place of arable land (Petr and Dlouhy, 1992). Diversity, its support and enhancement through species richness, rotations, intercropping, cover crops, etc., is one of the basic principles of agroecology in sustainable agriculture systems (Thrupp, 1996).

Adaptation Strategies

Erosion in the Great Plains was reduced after devastating losses of valuable topsoil during the dust bowl years of the 1930s by planting shelterbelts of trees to reduce wind erosion. Reduction of summer fallow practice and move to minimum or zero tillage are management practices which have reduced erosion and promoted higher soil organic matter (McRay et al., 2000, Chapter 7). Other means of alternative agriculture included systematically incorporating natural processes, such as nutrient cycles, nitrogen fixation, and pest-predator relationships into the agricultural production process reducing the use of chemicals and fertilizers making greater use of the biological and genetic potential of plant and animal species improving the match between cropping patterns and the productive potential and physical limitations of agricultural lands in order to ensure the long-term sustain-ability of the land and, emphasizing improved farm management and conservation of the soil, water, and...

An Integrated Environmentaleconomic Modelling Framework

A comprehensive analysis of the world food system can draw upon a substantial volume of existing research in the area of integrated assessment and modelling. Issues of climate change and agricultural land use have been covered in the IMAGE1 project and the ICLIPS2 project (Toth et al., 2003), where greenhouse gas emissions of different land use patterns as well as the potential of bio-fuel production on agricultural land as an alternative energy source have been analysed (Sands and Leimbach, 2003). The US Department of Agriculture maintains its FARM3 model, a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model with a focus on the interaction between climate change, economic growth, agricultural production and environmental resource use. The GTAP4 consortium has developed a CGE modelling framework as well as a database for global economic analysis, and is also extending its focus towards agricultural resource use, especially land use issues. The International Institute for Applied Systems...

Summary and Conclusion

Rapid shifts in the agricultural land base brought about by extreme climatic variability can have a major disruptive effect on rural communities and associated infrastructures. It is essential that proactive mitigation measures be developed to cope with these changes and preserve the all-important agricultural and forest systems.

Scenarios And Selected Model Results

With the described modelling framework we want to simulate agricultural land use changes, driven by stylised economic and environmental forces. These driving forces can be analysed separately or in combination, and we can compare the magnitude of their economic and environmental effects. As a reference scenario we chose the situation in Germany in the year 2000, i.e. climate conditions, yields, the fraction of arable land and pasture in total area, and cost structures in agricultural production are taken for this point in time. Then we look at 4 different scenarios which are either driven by climate change through LPJ or by stylised socio-economic changes through MAgPIE. In a fifth scenario we combine all separate scenarios into one.

An Ultraviolet Radiation Monitoring and Research Program for Agriculture

Abstract The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ultraviolet-B Monitoring and Research Program (UVMRP) was initiated in 1992 through a grant to Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO, USA), authorized by Congress under the USDA Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service (CSREES) Special Research Grant authority, to provide the agricultural science research community with the information necessary to determine if changing levels of UV-B radiation would threaten food and fiber production in the United States. The UVMRP consists of three major components (1) monitoring solar radiation with an emphasis on UV-B radiation (2) research to determine the effects of UV radiation on specific plants and crops and (3) crop growth and production assessment modeling to assess the impact of climate change scenarios on crop production. The monitoring network, consisting of UV and visible solar radiation measurement instrumentation installed at 37 climatological sites,...

Sequestration The Case of British Columbia

The Regional Integrated Silvopastoral Ecosystem Management Project (RISEMP) is a GEF-funded project implemented by the World Bank in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. The project pays farmers directly for the provision of biodiversity services. Silvopastoral systems combine trees with pasture. They provide a range of benefits to farmers (1) additional production from trees (2) maintaining and or improving pasture productivity and (3) contributing to the overall farming system. Furthermore, the trees provide shade that may enhance livestock productivity, especially milk production. In terms of biodiversity, silvopas-toral systems support much higher species' diversity than traditional pastures. They also help to connect protected areas. Other benefits include carbon sequestration (additional carbon is sequestered by the trees found in sil-vopastoral systems) and watershed services.

Impact of rice cultivation systems

The available database indicates that the CH4 emission per unit area and season follows the order continuously flooded irrigated rice > intermittently flooded irrigated rice > deepwater rice > regular (flood-prone) rainfed rice > drought-prone rainfed rice (Table 8.1). Upland rice is not a source of CH4, since it is grown in aerated soils that never become flooded for any significant period of time. However, this ranking only provides an initial assessment of the emission potentials that can locally be superseded by crop management favouring or lowering actual emission rates (Wassmann et al, 2000a, 2000b). The flooding pattern before the cultivation period significantly influences the emission rates (Fitzgerald et al, 2000 Cai et al, 2003). Differences in residue recycling, organic amendments, scheduled short aeration periods, soils, fertilization and rice cultivars are major additional causes for variations of CH4 fluxes in rice fields. Various organic amendments incorporated...

State of the Global Agriculture and Forest Sectors

Much of the optimism for future growth in agricultural production hinges on anticipated technological progress that increases crop yields. Rosegrant and Ringler (1997) argue that considerable unexploited capacity to raise crop yields exists in current crop varieties. Other analysts (e.g., Pingali, 1994 Tweeten, 1998) argue that the declining supply of new agricultural land combined with large-scale degradation of soil and water resources will slow the increase in global agricultural output, which may slow or negate the expected decline in real food prices. Approximately 50 of cereal production in developing countries is irrigated and, although it accounts only for 16 of the world's crop land, irrigated land produces 40 of the world's food. It appears that the rate of expansion of irrigation is slowing and 10 to 15 of irrigated land is degraded to some extent by waterlogging and salinization (Alexandratos, 1995). It is questionable whether or not the irrigation water supplies necessary...

Challenges of Agricultural Systems

To meet the challenge, both national governments and international bodies must collaborate in increasing productivity on all available agricultural land while employing environmental safeguards to protect natural resources for the future. Of these natural resources (i.e., soil, water, plant genetic resources), genetic resources offer us the greatest benefits in terms of return on scientific, technological and economic inputs and therefore require the most focused attention of researchers.

Favorable and Marginal Agricultural Areas

Favorable agricultural areas have accounted for most of the food production increases. They are well suited to large scale agricultural enterprises, fertile soils and level terrain amenable to agricultural activities. The farming system is one requiring high inputs of energy and depends largely on mechanization, irrigation and major crop species. Favorable agricultural areas tend to have good access to markets and export facilities with resulting options for diversification. Marginal agricultural areas, on the other hand, are characterized by a range of factors which serve to limit their capacity for agricultural production. These may include infertile soil, adverse climatic conditions, hilly terrain, wetlands, difficulty of transportation, distance from markets, poor infrastructure and unfavorable output input ratios which make large scale investment in agriculture unattractive. Many of these marginal areas occur in developing countries where resources for developing agricultural...

Agriculture Economic Policy Change And Food Security

These farmers enter the 21st century at a considerable disadvantage. They tend to have been subject to considerable past state intervention and protectionism. In many countries, smallholders were also unable to benefit directly from the technological advances of the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, and since that period have often been ignored in national agricultural research and development programs in favor of more modern farming subsectors. However, to be adaptive a system needs to be flexible, and in order to respond proactively, it also needs to have a certain amount of stability. Instability and volatility tend to inhibit capacities for future planning. Perhaps most important, adaptation depends on having access to resources financial, human, social, physical, natural in order to accommodate changing demands on land's productive capacity. Although many smallholders are capable of finding niches in today's more open markets, they do not have access to investments in...

Adaptation in agriculture observed

This result is common throughout the world. In Canada, most individual farmers respond primarily to extreme events such as prolonged drought and unseasonal or excessive rainfall. In a survey in Ontario, 80 of respondent farmers judged extreme events to be the most significant impact to which adaptation was required, rather than changing growing season length or heat stress (Smit et al., 1996). However, in some parts of Canada, adaptation programmes are quite advanced, such as in Alberta, where the provincial government has established the Alberta Climate Change Adaptation Team, which initiated province-wide and multi-sectoral assessments of vulnerability and adaptation strategies. In many cases, significant adaptation could be achieved and supported with adjustments to existing programmes and policy mechanisms (Lemmen et al., 2008).

Productivity Of Agriculture

Future increases in the production of cereals and non-cereal agricultural commodities will have to be achieved mainly through increases in productivity, as the possibilities of expansion of area and livestock population are minimal. Average yields of most crops in India are still rather low (Singh, 2002a). To meet the projected demand in 2020, the Indian Agricultural Research Institute estimates that yields must attain per hectare levels of 2.7 tons for rice, 3.1 tons for wheat, 2.1 tons for maize, 1.3 tons for coarse cereals, 2.4 tons for cereal, 1.3 tons for pulses, 22.3 tons for potato, 25.7 for vegetables, and 24.1 tons for fruits. The production of livestock and poultry products must be improved by 61 for milk, 76 for meat, 91 for fish, and 169 for eggs relative to 1997-9 yields.

Sources of Diversity in Genepools

An important feature of genetic diversity within traditional farming systems is that it allows for geneflow between crops and their wild relatives. One way of conceptualizing the geneflow within a crop genepool is as a plant genetic resources (PGR) system with interactions and flows between the three sources of genetic variation. Each of the three sources of diversity, wild relatives, landraces and formal breeding, are characterized by an increasing degree of human control over the process of exchange of genes, and by the reduction of complex environmental factors in the selection process.

Existing Systems for Conserving Improving and Using PGR

In both favorable and marginal agricultural areas, we have seen that sustainable agriculture is under threat from genetic erosion. The causes of these losses are traced in large measure to human intervention and can only be corrected by reverse intervention. Where genepools are narrowed, some food crops forgotten and crop varieties lost, actions can be taken to monitor and measure agro-biodiversity, conserve it and promote its sustainable use. Both favorable and marginal agricultural areas have systems in place for ensuring these actions.

Favorable Agricultural Production Area Systems

To support favorable agricultural areas, germplasm is stored in ex situ genebanks where diversity can be conserved under controlled conditions and protected from the stresses and pressures encountered in their native habitats. The germplasm stored in genebanks also provides the raw material for breeders to use in developing crop varieties with traits selected for their adaptive value to specific biotic and abiotic conditions and market needs. There are more than 1300 genebanks worldwide, with total germplasm accessions numbering more than 5.5 million.9 The Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) maintains approximately 500,000 accessions in trust for the world community. Agricultural Research Systems Methods and technologies for the conservation and use of genetic resources are being developed and improved by a range of agricultural research systems on both national and international levels. In favorable agricultural areas, the national agricultural...

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