Environmental Science Quiz IV: 295-391; 518-519

Neolithic Revolution (297)

12000 yrs ago

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Major crops and domestic animals established

Development of Modern Industrialized Agriculture

Majority of US lived and worked on small farms

Regular crop rotations

Animal wastes returned to soil

Mid-1800s – Industrial Revolution

Transformation of Traditional Agriculture

Crop production doubles/triples yields



Cultivated land

Fertilizers and pesticides


High yields


Rural electrification

Road building

Agricultural college programs

Established markets

Efficient transportation

Banks and credit unions handling farm loans

Agricultural and soil extension services

Irrigation facilities

Farm coorperations

Price and income suport

Government subsidies










More land cultivation

More fossil fuel consumption

Land Cultivation

Increased crop yields

Less land converted to farmland

Erosion prone land removed from production

Cropland expansion destroys forests and wetlands

Conservation Reserve Program (298)

Reimburses farmers for retiring erosive land

Farmers plant trees or grasses

The Green Revolution (299)

Increased crop production

Rockefeller Foundation sends agricultural expert Norman Borlaug and three other agricultural scientists to Mexico

Improve traditional crops (esp. wheat)

Low yields; high response to fertilization

Dwarf hybrid with large head and thick stalk

Wheat sales increase

Nobel Effort

Research workers with Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)

Mexico work extended

Introduce modern high-yielding wheat and rice

Borlaug wins Nobel Peace


High-yields cultivated globally

Best on irrigated land

Constant fertilizer, pesticides and mechanized labor


CGIAR sponsered Green Revolution’s developing world impact

High-yeielding crop research continues

Research for disease, pest and climate resistance

Food production expands in Asia and Latin America

Later Africa and Middle East

Without Revolution, crops lower; food prices higher; mortality rate increase

Subsistence Farmers (300)

Traditional agriculture

Majority of rural populations

Small land parcels

Food for house and small cash crop


Marginally productive land

Problems in Africa

Low yields

rapid population



High child mortality

African Green Revolution needed

Need higher crop yields


World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development
Agriculture wil lift rural Africa from poverty
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

Rockefeller and Gates foundations

Appointed Kofi Annan (former secretary general) as chairman

Alliance will coordinate financial aid from wealthy countries

African crop scientists try conventional breeding techniques

Enable sub-Saharan Africans to grow enough food to sustain communities

Successes (301)

Subsistence agricultural practice varies with climate

Some areas: subsistence agriculture shifts cultivation within tropical forests

Slash and burn


Diverse ecosystems

Cleared land supports few years of crops, then creates agroforestry

Animal Farming and Its Consequences

Fourth of croplands feed domestic animals

People enjoy meat and dairy

Animals raised in huge numbers and confinement (CAFOs)

Rural societies in developing world: livestock and poultry raised on family farms or by pastoralist substinence farmers


Industrial animal farming

Manure wasted

Leak into surface water and kill fish, contiminate and proliferate algae

Bypasses or overwhelms inadequate treatments

Pollute waterways

EPA asserts animal agriculture = most widespread source of pollution

Avian Flu (303)

12 yrs ago

Virus devastates Asian poultry

Wild birds carry

Spread to humans



Animal feed antibiotic-heavy

Bacteria develops resistance

Rain Forest Crunched

Tropical rainforests converted to cattle pasture

Farmers produce diverse crops

Ranchers own most land

Government originally encouraged colonization of unoccupied land

Meat for domestic use

Now exported

Climate Change

UN’s intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Deforestation and other changes in tropic land use release 1.6 billion carbon tons

Cows and ruminant animals emit 100 mil methan tones through belching and flatulence


Good Cow

Heifer Project International distributes animals, beehives, fowl and fish fingerlings

Animal recipients trained on proper raising

Animals enhance soil, enable rural farmers

ANimal faring more likely sustainable

Biofuels and Food Production (304)

Biofuels (ethanol and oils derived from agricultural crops)

Biofuels burned to mitigate burnt fossil fuels

Biofuels and Food Production: Consequences

Observers accuse US and EU of diverting corn from hungry

Biofuel demands corn

High food prices caused by oil price (growing competition), bad weather and poor harvest, rising meat and animal product demand

Inernational Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Suggests 30% of grain price increases between 2000 and 2007 linked to biofuel production

Observers suggest limit put on corn ethanol production creates greater investment

Future Prospects

IFPRI expects jump in meat consumption

Rising economies

Shift from grains to feed grains and soybeans

40 mil more hectares converted to crops

Increases in grain yields slow

Rising demand for grains met by trade

IFPRI focusees on sub-Saharan Africa (hunger hot spot)



Global Picture (305)

Increase crop yields and grow food crops on land for feedstock, crops, biofuels or cash crops

Wheat yields tripled, rice and corn yields double

UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)

Yields from climate

Sustinability dependent on soil and water conservation

Less Meat and Biofuels

Converting land from cash crops to food crops = complex

Institutes land reform and trade change

More corn production at risk of marginal croplands and continuing shift of soybean production to corn

Doubly Green Revolution (306)

Gordon Conway (president of Rockefeller Foundation)

More productive than first Green Revolution

Conserve natural resources and environment

Equitable, sustainable and environmental friendly


From Green Revolution to Gene Revolution (306)

Genetic engineering combines characteristic from genetically different plants and incorporate desired traits into crop lines and animals

Trasgenic or GM

The Promise (306)

Cotton plants with built-in resistance to insects from genes from bacterium

Corn and soybeans resistant herbicide Roundup

Farmers emplyo no-till

Sorghum (African crop)

Resistant to parasitic plant witchweed


Biotech Crop Research (307)

Incorporate resistnace to diseases and pests attacking important tropical crops

Increase tolerance to environmental conditions

improve nutritional value of common crops

Produce pharmaceutical products in ordinary crop plants


Resistant to pests

Less erosion

Marker-Assisted Breeding (307)

Identifies desirable traits in crop plants or wild ancestors and locates genes with DNA sequencing

Plants with desired gene crossbred with modern crop breeding line

DNA screening of seedlings for desired gene bypasses growing plants to maturity


The Problems: Environmental Concerns (307-308)

Pests resist plant toxins

Pollen from Bt corn spread by wind to adjacent areas where beneficial insects killed

Super weeds (resistant to pesticide)

The Problems: Safety Concerns (308)

Proteins from different organimssm trigger allergies

Antibiotic resistance genes incroporated into transgenic organisms

Resistance to antibiotics to pathogens or prevent antibiotic effectiveness

USDA field tests and UCS examines biotech risks (halt outdoor production)

Pharma crops contaminate ordinary food

The Problems: Access in the Developing World (308)

Farmers forbidden from propagating seeds

Purchase seeds annually

Farmers in developing countries less able to afford new seeds

Modded seeds through seed piracy

In State of Food and Agriculture, qualifies biotechnology, bu t concludes alleviating global hunger and improving well-being more theory than reality


The Policies (309)

EPA, USDA and FDA regulate oversight of biotech

National Academy of Sceinces’ National Research COuncil report Genetically Modified Pest-Protected Plants: Science and Regulation

Determine transgic crops adeqautely tested for environmental and health efefcts

Report enorses science and technology

More environmental and safety research

Cartagena Protocol

UN Convention on Biodiversity sponsers key conference in Montreal

Deals trade in genetically modified organisms

Technology regulations

Poroof GMOs safe before allowed into countries

Suspected dangers proven befor DMOs denied overseas markets

Precautionary Principle

Countires allowed to deny GMOs on sound science

Threats of serious or irreversible damage, not lack of scientific certainty determine actions preventing potential damage

EU lifted GMO ban


Food Distribution and Trade (310)

Self sufficiency (blight climate or war interrupts agriculture; famine and death)

New World colonies return new resources to Old World

Old World exports manufactured goods transforming colonies into Euro societies

Patterns in Food Trade (310)

Excess foodstuffs produced

aids exporter and feeds importer

Cash for food (earned through exporting raw materials, fuel, manufactured goods or special commodities)

Grain on the Move (310)

High and middle income countries satisfy rising demand for animal protein

If developing countries import twice as much grain, exporting countries will either increase domestic production or use less grain

Global Food Crisis (311)

Food commodity price rises

Supply unable to meet demand when:

1. High production costs because of rising petroleum and fertilizer costs

2. Diversion of corn and other commodities to biofuel production

3. Strong demand for higher-quality diets in Asia’s emerging economy

4. Weather-related shortfalls of harvests in key exporters

5. Background of declining carryover stocks of many commodities

Consequences of high commodity prices (312)

Farmers receive higher prices for crops

Farmers in developing countries disconnected from world markets (benefit little)


Food Security (312)

Bread for World’s Hunger Institute

Assured access for everyone to nutririous food for active and healthy life


Nation Globe

Sociopolitical ecosystem

Market Economy

Food flows in direction of economic demand

Opportunity to purchase food, but not food

Family Level

Family = Most significant level of responsibility

Nutritional needs meet family

Freedom from hunger and malnutirition

Purchase, raise, father or find provided food

Safety net

National policies or programs

National Level

Safety-net policies and programs from official policies represented by welfare measures (food stamp program)

Supplemental Security Income progam

Voluntary aid through hunger-relief programs

Over 25 mill Americans receive emergency food help

Charity Aid Recovery and Empowerment Act of 2003 (Care Act) allows family farmers, ranchers and restaurant owners to deduct food costs donated to agencies

Self-Sufficiency in Food

Enough food to satisfy nutritional needs of country

Nation produces all food or buys from world market

Policies eliminate chronic hunger and malnutrition


Global Level

Substantional food aid from rich to poor

More food imported and paid by developing countries

WTO governs international trade

Wealthy developed nations maintain policies protective of agricultural sectors

Tariff (taxes developed countries set on imported agriculture)

Subsidies (given to agriculture)

Other Needs

Relieve developing countries’ debt

Trade imbalance between industrial and developing nations (developing export raw goods and import sophisticated goods)

Increasing labor in developing countries offsets


Hunger Malnutrition and Famine

UN hold World Food Summit

Address food crisis responsible for increased hunger

MDGs cut world hunger in half by 2015

Malnutrition v. Hunger (314)

Hunger refers to lacking basic foods for energy and nutrition

Malnutrition lacks essential nutrients

Undernourishment lacks adequate food energy

Over nourishment = overeating and overweight

Extent and Consequences of Hunger: Where (315)

Two thirds undernourished live in Asia and Pacific

World Bank’s Voices of Poor

Extent and Consequences of Hunger: Consequences

Hunger prevents normal growth

Thin, stunted, mentally and physically impaired

Undernutrition limits growth and intellectual development

Sickness and death

Root Cause of Hunger (315-316)




Famine (316)

Severe food shortage with increased death rate

Society either unable or unwilling to distribute food

Dought and conflict

Warning Systems (317)

Prevent droughts from leading to familes:

GAO’s Global Info and Early Warning System (GIEWS)

monitors food supply and demand throughout world

Frequents reports and alerts

Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET)

Satellite operation in sub-Saharan Africa

Measures rainfall and agricultural conditions

Hunger Hot Spots (317)

If farmers own land, will care more effectively

Somalia worst humanitarian disaster