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GGR287 W2 Lec.doc

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Pierre Desrochers

GGR287 Week 2 Lecture - Historical Perspective Human • have eaten almost anything that flies in the air, swims in the sea, moves on the land • but can digest - 20,000 plants out of > 400,000 Agriculture: >>>% usable species plants & animals Traditional Agriculture "Subsistence Agriculture" or "Globally-important Ingenious Agricultural Heritage System" Characteristics of Traditional Agriculture • small farm size & continuous production • diversified production base on mistures of crops, trees & animals • maximum use of local resources • low dependecnce on off-farm inputs • net energy yield high because energy inputs relatively low • labor drawn largely from household or community • nutrients and other materials regularly Modern Agriculture • 1838 • "practice with science" Main Features • monocultures - annual plantings of the same crops • synthetic chemicals - fertilizers, pesticides • fossil fuels • mechanization History of Agriculture = History of Intensification Major changes over time - cropping practices, cultivated varieties Advancing intensification resulting from... • Partial replacement of human labor by • animal, wind, awater, fossil fuels • Irrigation & Fertilization moderated/removed • water shortages & lack of nutrients • Growing (new) variety of crops, either by • multi-cropping & rotations (cereals & leguminous crops) Results over time (crops) Productions: • New architecture (dwarf wheat) • < length growing season • resistance to pests and disease • > size of seeds and fruits Consumption: • fewer toxings • easier digestions • better nitrition • longer shelf life • enhanced freshness Modern Monoculture VS Traditional Polyculture South Chinese Polyculture • >>>intensive 'organic' faming history • recycling & feeding of human & animal waste • carp ponds • green manure & cyanobacterial N fixation • Modern agricutlure - 45 people/hectare 1. Fir
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