System Stability and Change

Ecosystems maintain themselves over time and have the ability to recover from natural disturbances such as a fire or a hurricane. In agricultural ecosystems, disturbance from cultivation, weeding, harvest, and other agricultural activities is much more intense and frequent. It is difficult to maintain any equilibrium in the system with this disturbance, requiring constant outside interference in the form of human labor and external human inputs. By incorporating ecosystem qualities such as...

Bonsai

Bonsai is a Japanese word formed by two ideogram characters, the first meaning pot or container and the second to cultivate. It is a term that can be applied to any plant grown in a pot. Today it is applied to a tree or shrub grown usually in a ceramic pot, trained or styled by clipping or wiring or both. But it is so much more. Bonsai is an ancient art form with its origins in China at least as far back as the fourth century. Soon the art spread to Korea and was found in Japan by the sixth and...

Features of Organic Farming

Organic farming is widespread throughout the world and is growing rapidly. In Germany alone there are about eight thousand organic farms occupying about 2 percent of the total arable land. In Italy organic farms number around eighteen thousand, and in Austria about twenty thousand organic farms account for 10 percent of total agricultural output. In 1980 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that there were at least eleven thousand organic farms in the United States and at least...

Basic Practices of Modern Agricultural Systems

Modern agricultural systems have been developed with two related goals in mind to obtain the highest yields possible and to get the highest economic profit possible. In pursuit of these goals, six basic practices have come to form the backbone of production intensive tillage, monoculture, application of inorganic fertilizer, irrigation, chemical pest control, and genetic manipulation of crop plants. Each practice is used for its individual contribution to productivity, but when they are all...