Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Proper Systems of Land Use: Farming


Global Consequences of Land Use
Jonathan A. Foley et al. Science 309, 570 (2005);
DOI: 10.1126/science.1111772 

When thinking about Land Use, the general population tends to think more on a scale of deforestation, habitat destruction, logging, and farming. Things that are relatively brought up or seen in your daily activities. In this study about Land Use, it is concluded that "subsistence agriculture, clearing tropical forests, intensifying farm production and expanding urban centers" is changing the makeup of the worlds landscapes and at the expense of the environment. 

An example of this is found through comparing different types of land and the trade offs of human activity on these land types. 

In these diagrams we find that while maintaining a Natural Ecosystem is beneficial to the ecosystem, we clash with the ecosystem as we do not benefit financially and do not benefit from the land we considered to be "not used". In an Intensive Cropland, we essentially destroy the natural landscape and soil makeup. There is no natural regulation other than possibly restarting a new crop every year. If you look at the Cropland with Restored  Ecosystem Services, it is depicted that there is a mutual abundance of natural and human based eco-services. 

While food and crop production has been beneficial in supporting the human population, particularly in the U.S, there is a correlation with intensified farming and environmental damage. eg: Increased use of fertilizer correlates to poor water quality, soil erosion and overgrazing leads to complete loss of arable land. 

The continuance of uninformed farmers, ranchers, and land owners not practicing sustainability with the land the practice on will ultimately result in a more widespread disaster of climate change. 

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