Land Use agriculture

agroforestry
A system of land use in which harvestable trees or shrubs are grown among or around crops or on pastureland, as a means of preserving or enhancing the productivity of the land.
alley cropping
A method of planting in which rows of a crop are sown between rows or hedges of nitrogen-fixing plants, the roots of which enrich the soil.
aquaculture

  1. The science, art, and business of cultivating marine or freshwater food fish or shellfish, such as oysters, clams, salmon, and trout, under controlled conditions.
  2. Hydroponics.

chronic undernutrition
Inadequate nutrition resulting from lack of food or failure of the body to absorb or assimilate nutrients properly.
commercial inorganic fertilizer
Commercially prepared mixture of plant nutrients such as nitrates, phosphates, and potassium applied to the soil to restore fertility and increase crop yields. Compare organic fertilizer.
compost
Partially decomposed organic plant and animal matter used as a soil conditioner or fertilizer.
conservation tillage farming
Crop cultivation in which the soil is disturbed little (minimum-tillage farming) or not at all (no-till farming) to reduce soil erosion, lower labor costs, and save energy. Compare conventional-tillage farming.
crop rotation
Planting a field, or an area of a field, with different crops from year to year to reduce soil nutrient depletion. A plant such as corn, tobacco, or cotton, which removes large amounts of nitrogen from the soil, is planted one year. The next year a legume such as soybeans, which adds nitrogen to the soil, is planted.
desertification
Conversion of rangeland, rain-fed cropland, or irrigated cropland to desertlike land, with a drop in agricultural productivity of 10% or more. It usually is caused by a combination of overgrazing, soil erosion, prolonged drought, and climate change.
famine
Widespread malnutrition and starvation in a particular area because of a shortage of food, usually caused by drought, war, flood, earthquake, or other catastrophic events that disrupt food production and distribution.
feedlot
Confined outdoor or indoor space used to raise hundreds to thousands of domesticated livestock. Compare rangeland.
fertilizer
Substance that adds inorganic or organic plant nutrients to soil and improves its ability to grow crops, trees, or other vegetation. See commercial inorganic fertilizer, organic fertilizer.
food security
Every person in a given area has daily access to enough nutritious food to have an active and healthy life.
fungicide
Chemical that kills fungi.
green manure
Freshly cut or still-growing green vegetation that is plowed into the soil to increase the organic matter and humus available to support crop growth. Compare animal manure.
green revolution
Popular term for introduction of scientifically bred or selected varieties of grain (rice, wheat, maize) that, with high enough inputs of fertilizer and water, can greatly increase crop yields.
gully erosion
Occurs when rivulets of fast-flowing water join together to cut wider and deeper ditches or gullies.
herbicide
Chemical that kills a plant or inhibits its growth.
industrialized agriculture
Using large inputs of energy from fossil fuels (especially oil and natural gas), water, fertilizer, and pesticides to produce large quantities of crops and livestock for domestic and foreign sale. Compare subsistence farming.
insecticide
Chemical that kills insects.
IPM
Combined use of biological, chemical, and cultivation methods in proper sequence and timing to keep the size of a pest population below the size that causes economically unacceptable loss of a crop or livestock animal.
intercropping
Growing two or more different crops at the same time on a plot. For example, a carbohydrate-rich grain that depletes soil nitrogen and a protein-rich legume that adds nitrogen to the soil may be intercropped. Compare monoculture, polyculture, polyvarietal cultivation.
interplanting
Simultaneously growing a variety of crops on the same plot. See agroforestry, intercropping, polyculture, polyvarietal cultivation.
land degradation
Occurs when natural or human-induced processes decrease the future ability of land to support crops, livestock, or wild species.
malnutrition
Faulty nutrition, caused by a diet that does not supply an individual with enough protein, essential fats, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for good health. Compare overnutrition, undernutrition.
manure
See animal manure, green manure.
micronutrients
Chemical elements that organisms need in small or even trace amounts to live, grow, or reproduce. Examples are sodium, zinc, copper, chlorine, and iodine. Compare macronutrients.
monoculture
Cultivation of a single crop, usually on a large area of land. Compare polyculture, polyvarietal cultivation.
no-till farming
See conservation-tillage farming.
organic farming
Producing crops and livestock naturally by using organic fertilizer (manure, legumes, compost) and natural pest control (bugs that eat harmful bugs, plants that repel bugs, and environmental controls such as crop rotation) instead of using commercial inorganic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides and herbicides. See sustainable agriculture.
organic fertilizer
Organic material such as animal manure, green manure, and compost, applied to cropland as a source of plant nutrients. Compare commercial inorganic fertilizer.
overnutrition
Diet so high in calories, saturated (animal) fats, salt, sugar, and processed foods and so low in vegetables and fruits that the consumer runs high risks of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and other health hazards. Compare malnutrition, undernutrition.
pest
Unwanted organism that directly or indirectly interferes with human activities.
pesticide
Any chemical designed to kill or inhibit the growth of an organism that people consider undesirable. See fungicide, herbicide, insecticide.
plantation agriculture
Growing specialized crops such as bananas, coffee, and cacao in tropical developing countries, primarily for sale to developed countries.
polyculture
Complex form of intercropping in which a large number of different plants maturing at different times are planted together. See also intercropping. Compare monoculture, polyvarietal cultivation.
polyvarietal cultivation
Planting a plot of land with several varieties of the same crop. Compare intercropping, monoculture, polyculture.
salinization
Accumulation of salts in soil that can eventually make the soil unable to support plant growth.
sheet erosion
Occurs when surface water or wind peel off fairly thin sheets or layers of soil.
shifting cultivation
Clearing a plot of ground in a forest, especially in tropical areas, and planting crops on it for a few years (typically 2[[endash]]5 years) until the soil is depleted of nutrients or the plot has been invaded by a dense growth of vegetation from the surrounding forest. Then a new plot is cleared and the process is repeated. The abandoned plot cannot successfully grow crops for 10[[endash]]30 years. See also slash-and-burn cultivation.
slash and burn cultivation
Cutting down trees and other vegetation in a patch of forest, leaving the cut vegetation on the ground to dry, and then burning it. The ashes that are left add nutrients to the nutrient-poor soils found in most tropical forest areas. Crops are planted between tree stumps. Plots must be abandoned after a few years (typically 2[[endash]]5 years) because of loss of soil fertility or invasion of vegetation from the surrounding forest. See also shifting cultivation.
strip cropping
Planting regular crops and close-growing plants, such as hay or nitrogen-fixing legumes, in alternating rows or bands to help reduce depletion of soil nutrients.
subsistence farming
Supplementing solar energy with energy from human labor and draft animals to produce enough food to feed oneself and family members; in good years enough food may be left over to sell or put aside for hard times. Compare industrialized agriculture.
subsistence agriculture
Method of growing crops and raising livestock based on organic fertilizers, soil conservation, water conservation, biological pest control, and minimal use of nonrenewable fossil-fuel energy.
terracing
Planting crops on a long, steep slope that has been converted into a series of broad, nearly level terraces with short vertical drops from one to another that run along the contour of the land to retain water and reduce soil erosion.
traditional intensive farming
Producing enough food for a farm family’s survival and perhaps a surplus that can be sold. This type of agriculture uses higher inputs of labor, fertilizer, and water than traditional subsistence agriculture. See traditional subsistence agriculture. Compare industrialized agriculture.
undernutrition
Consuming insufficient food to meet one’s minimum daily energy needs for a long enough time to cause harmful effects. Compare malnutrition, overnutrition.
water logging
Saturation of soil with irrigation water or excessive precipitation so that the water table rises close to the surface.
windbreak
Row of trees or hedges planted to partially block wind flow and reduce soil erosion on cultivated land.