Principles of Environmental Science Inquiry and Appications7

Food Security
The ability of individuals to obtain sufficient food on a day-to-day basis.
Famines
Acute food shortages characterized by large-scale loss of life, social disruption, and economic chaos.
Malnourishment
A nutritional imbalance caused by lack of specific dietary components or inability to absorb or utilize essential nutrients.
Obese
Pathologically overweight, having a body mass greater than 30 kg/m2, or roughly 30 pounds above normal for an average person.
Confined Animal Feeding Operation
Feeding large numbers of livestock at a high density in pens or barns.
Surface Soil
The A horizon in a soil profile; the soil just below the litter layer.
Subsoil
A layer of soil beneath the topsoil that has lower organic content and higher concentrations of fine minerals particles; often contains soluble compounds and clay particles carried down by percolating water.
Sheet Erosion
Peeling off thin layers of soil from the land surface; accomplished primarily by wind and water.
Rill Erosion
The removing of thin layers of soil as little rivulets of running water gather and cut small channels in the soil.
Gully Erosion
Removal of layer of soil, creating channels or ravines too large to be removed by normal tillage operations.
Desertification
Denuding and degrading a once fertile land, initiation a desert-producing cycle that feeds on itself and causes long-term changes in soil, climate, and biota of an area.
Waterlogging
Water saturation of soil that fills all air spaces and causes plant roots to die from lack of oxygen; a result of overirrigation.
Salinization
A process in which mineral salts accumulate in the soil, killing plants; occurs when soils in dry climates are irrigated profusely.
Organophosphates
Organic molecules to which a phosphate group is attached.  A group of highly toxic pesticides that are primarily neurotoxin.
Chlorinated Hydrocarbons
Hydrocarbon molecules to which chlorine atoms are attached.  Often used as pesticides and are both highly toxic and long-lasting in the environment.
Green Revolution
Dramatically increased agricultural production brought about by “miracle” strains of grain; usually requires high inputs of water, plant nutrients, and pesticides.
Genetic Engineering
Laboratory manipulation of genetic material using molecular biology.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Organisms created by combining natural or synthetic genes using the techniques of molecular biology.
Sustainable Agriculture (Regenerative Farming)
Ecological sound, economically viable, socially just agricultural system.  Stewardship, soil conservation, and integrated pest management are essential for sustainability.
Regenerative Farming
Farming techniques and land stewardship that restore the health and productivity of the soil by rotating crops, planting ground cover, protecting the surface with crop residue, and reducing synthetic chemical inputs and mechanical compaction.
Contour Plowing
Plowing along hill contours; reduces erosion.
Strip-Farming
Planting different kinds of crops in alternating strips along land contours; when one crop is harvested, the other crop remains to protect the soil and prevent water from running straight down a hill.
Terracing
Shaping the land to create level shelves of earth to hold water and soil; requires extensive hand labor or expensive machinery, but it enables farmers to farm very steep hillsides.
Cover Crops
Plants, such as rye, alfalfa, or clover, that can be planted immediately after harvest to hold and protect the soil.
Reduced Tillage Systems
Farming methods that preserve soil and save energy and water through reduced cultivation; includes minimum till, conserve-till, and no-till systems.