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EESC 3310 (12)
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Lecture 11

EESC 3310 Lecture 11: Week 11

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Earth & Environmental Sciences
EESC 3310

The Role of Animals in Agroecosystems ● Mismanagement and Use of Animals ○ Air and water pollution ○ Arable land used to feed livestock ○ Meat is energetically expensive ○ Meat is higher in fat ○ Animal treatment ○ Disease that can spread to humans ● Gliessman’s Perspective ○ Sustainability depends on reintegration of animals into crop agroecosystems ○ There are synergies from mixing animals and crops ● Roles ○ Can transfer material that we cannot consume into something we can (i.e. cellulose → meat) ■ Labor ● We eat mostly herbivores ● Herbivores play a critical role in cycling nutrients and transferring energy in ecosystems ● Changes role of predators ● Transformer Role ● Traction ● Alternative tillage ● Can be less destructive than tractor tillage ■ Manure ○ Fold Course System in England and later, New England ■ Animals grazed on fallow ● Replenishing field ● Making use of what we are not using ■ Improved Four course system ● Root crops i.e. turnips which fed sheep which increased manure which increased productivity of grain crops ○ Manure ■ Fuels soil food webs (unlike synthetic fertilizers) ■ I.e. overall nematodes were higher in manure and nitrogen+manure treatments than in control and N fertilizer treatments ○ Innovative composting ■ Use animals to turn compost ○ Weeding ■ Geese can be used to weed out some species in between crop rows ■ No compaction ■ Fertilizing as well ■ Goats can do this too → can rent them out ● Used for restoration ● Simultaneously adding manure ■ Pastured poultry ● Weeding ● Consume insects/pests ● Gradual deposition of manure → high in N and P ● Pastoral Nomadism ○ Africa/Asia ○ Where arable crops cannot grow well ○ Knowledge of the landscape ○ And seasonal and geographical variations ○ Social structure around care of the animals ● Desertification ○ The process by which natural or human causes reduce the biological productivity of arid lands ○ Seen with: population pressure, expansion of villages, over grazing ● Holistic Management ○ System: ■ Mimicking herds of large herbivores ■ High stocking rates w
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