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AECL Lecture 1

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Information about AECL Lecture 1
Education

Published on December 5, 2008

Author: micah.humphreys

Source: slideshare.net

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Agroecology

Agroecology Why is there a course in agroecology?

Agroecology Why is there a course in agroecology? Sustainability

Agroecology Why is there a course in agroecology? Sustainability Threatened by conventional agricultural principles

Agroecology Why is there a course in agroecology? Sustainability Threatened by conventional agricultural principles What are those principles?

Agroecology Why is there a course in agroecology? Sustainability Threatened by conventional agricultural principles What are those principles? Let’s discuss the Wendell Berry essay

Conventional Agriculture

Conventional Agriculture Central ideas: Maximize production Maximize profits

Conventional Agriculture Central ideas: Maximize production Maximize profits Intensive Tillage Chemical pest control Inorganic fertilizers Irrigation Monoculture Genetic manipulation of crop plants

Conventional Agriculture

Conventional Agriculture Is conventional agriculture bad?

Conventional Agriculture Is conventional agriculture bad? What got us to where we are?

Conventional Agriculture

Conventional Agriculture Intensive Tillage

Conventional Agriculture Intensive Tillage Seedbed prep, drainage, root growth, weed control

Conventional Agriculture Intensive Tillage Seedbed prep, drainage, root growth, weed control ...but erosion tends to increase, soil organic matter decreases, compaction is increased, structure may be impacted

Conventional Agriculture

Conventional Agriculture Monoculture

Conventional Agriculture Monoculture Efficiency, weed control, pest control, ease of harvest

Conventional Agriculture Monoculture Efficiency, weed control, pest control, ease of harvest ...but now you have a whole field of food for a pest

Conventional Agriculture

Conventional Agriculture Synthetic Fertilizer

Conventional Agriculture Synthetic Fertilizer High yield increases, uniform application, rapid uptake/use

Conventional Agriculture Synthetic Fertilizer High yield increases, uniform application, rapid uptake/use ...but in large quantities can be leached from the soil and cause damage through groundwater contamination, collection in larger bodies of water, variable costs

Conventional Agriculture Synthetic Fertilizer High yield increases, uniform application, rapid uptake/use ...but in large quantities can be leached from the soil and cause damage through groundwater contamination, collection in larger bodies of water, variable costs Did you know that the worldwide average Nitrogen Use Efficiency is 33%?

Conventional Agriculture

Conventional Agriculture Irrigation

Conventional Agriculture Irrigation Yield increases (water is a limiting factor)

Conventional Agriculture Irrigation Yield increases (water is a limiting factor) 16% of the world’s ag land is irrigated

Conventional Agriculture Irrigation Yield increases (water is a limiting factor) 16% of the world’s ag land is irrigated ...and it produces 40% of the world’s food

Conventional Agriculture Irrigation Yield increases (water is a limiting factor) 16% of the world’s ag land is irrigated ...and it produces 40% of the world’s food What are problems with heavy irrigation?

Conventional Agriculture Irrigation Yield increases (water is a limiting factor) 16% of the world’s ag land is irrigated ...and it produces 40% of the world’s food What are problems with heavy irrigation? Replenishment, ecological effects of dams, increases fertilizer leaching

Conventional Agriculture

Conventional Agriculture Pest & Weed Control with Chemicals

Conventional Agriculture Pest & Weed Control with Chemicals Short-term pest removal

Conventional Agriculture Pest & Weed Control with Chemicals Short-term pest removal ...but what happens to food chains? Resistance? Leaching? Human health?

Conventional Agriculture

Conventional Agriculture Plant Gene Manipulation

Conventional Agriculture Plant Gene Manipulation Selection has been practiced a long time, but here we’re talking about genetic manipulation

Conventional Agriculture Plant Gene Manipulation Selection has been practiced a long time, but here we’re talking about genetic manipulation High-yielding hybrids, pesticide use reduced

Conventional Agriculture Plant Gene Manipulation Selection has been practiced a long time, but here we’re talking about genetic manipulation High-yielding hybrids, pesticide use reduced ...and hybrids require optimal conditions (fertilizer & water), seed is dissimilar to the parent (why is this important?)

Conventional v. Sustainable

Conventional v. Sustainable Present v. Future

Conventional v. Sustainable Present v. Future

Conventional v. Sustainable Present v. Future The Green Revolution

Conventional v. Sustainable Present v. Future The Green Revolution Dr. Norman Borlaug

kg/Ha 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 1961 3000 1964 1967 1970 1973 1976 1979 1982 1985 1988 1991 1994 1997 2000 2003 2006 Maize Barley Wheat Conventional v. Sustainable

Conventional v. Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Soil Degradation

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Soil Degradation erosion

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Soil Degradation erosion waterlogging

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Soil Degradation erosion waterlogging compaction

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Soil Degradation erosion waterlogging compaction contamination

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Soil Degradation erosion waterlogging compaction contamination structure problems

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Soil Degradation erosion waterlogging compaction contamination structure problems Erosion

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Soil Degradation erosion waterlogging compaction contamination structure problems Erosion 4 T/A/Yr can be “acceptable”

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Soil Degradation erosion waterlogging compaction contamination structure problems Erosion 4 T/A/Yr can be “acceptable” Conventional Ag often leaves soil bare

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Erosion

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Erosion Where is the soil lost from?

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Erosion Where is the soil lost from? Organic matter & Fertility lost

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Erosion Where is the soil lost from? Organic matter & Fertility lost makes farmers rely on inputs

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Erosion Where is the soil lost from? Organic matter & Fertility lost makes farmers rely on inputs unsustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Water Use

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Water Use Water rights are a big deal

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Water Use Water rights are a big deal Agriculture accounts for 2/3 of worldwide water use

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Water Use Water rights are a big deal Agriculture accounts for 2/3 of worldwide water use Plant water use efficiency is around 50%!

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Water Use Water rights are a big deal Agriculture accounts for 2/3 of worldwide water use Plant water use efficiency is around 50%! Ag water use has a broader ecological effect

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Water Use Water rights are a big deal Agriculture accounts for 2/3 of worldwide water use Plant water use efficiency is around 50%! Ag water use has a broader ecological effect Microclimate effects

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Environmental Pollution

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Environmental Pollution Are all nutrient and pesticide additions 100% efficient?

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Environmental Pollution Are all nutrient and pesticide additions 100% efficient? And the unused stuff?

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Environmental Pollution Are all nutrient and pesticide additions 100% efficient? And the unused stuff?

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Dependence on External Inputs

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Dependence on External Inputs Now, think about this. Do people who practice organic agriculture use inputs?

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Dependence on External Inputs Now, think about this. Do people who practice organic agriculture use inputs? irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides cost energy that is not renewable (fossil fuels)

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Dependence on External Inputs Now, think about this. Do people who practice organic agriculture use inputs? irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides cost energy that is not renewable (fossil fuels) Now, think again. Is it morally wrong to use something that is not renewable?

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Dependence on External Inputs Now, think about this. Do people who practice organic agriculture use inputs? irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides cost energy that is not renewable (fossil fuels) Now, think again. Is it morally wrong to use something that is not renewable? The inputs come from outside the relative ecosystem, so now you depend on an uncontrollable resource. The longer they are used, the more you depend on them

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity In the past, agriculture has relied on local diversity (adapted traits) and recruiting wild species into the gene pool

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity In the past, agriculture has relied on local diversity (adapted traits) and recruiting wild species into the gene pool We know that now only around six varieties of corn account for 70% of the world’s corn crop

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity In the past, agriculture has relied on local diversity (adapted traits) and recruiting wild species into the gene pool We know that now only around six varieties of corn account for 70% of the world’s corn crop About half the wheat varieties in the US are descendants of lines produced by Norman Borlaug and collegues

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity In the past, agriculture has relied on local diversity (adapted traits) and recruiting wild species into the gene pool We know that now only around six varieties of corn account for 70% of the world’s corn crop About half the wheat varieties in the US are descendants of lines produced by Norman Borlaug and collegues Anything wrong with that?

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity (continued)

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity (continued) This loss is a result of the desire for short-term productivity gains

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity (continued) This loss is a result of the desire for short-term productivity gains The plants that are replaced could have really desirable or potentially desirable traits

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity (continued) This loss is a result of the desire for short-term productivity gains The plants that are replaced could have really desirable or potentially desirable traits Homogeneous crop ‘germplasm’ (parentage) are now more vulnerable...vulnerable to what?

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity (continued) This loss is a result of the desire for short-term productivity gains The plants that are replaced could have really desirable or potentially desirable traits Homogeneous crop ‘germplasm’ (parentage) are now more vulnerable...vulnerable to what? It is important to have a large genetic reservoir as we look to possible future problems or diseases

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity (some more)

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity (some more) Greenbug (aphid) and sorghum example

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity (some more) Greenbug (aphid) and sorghum example $100 million in damages $50 million in pesticides the following year

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity (some more) Greenbug (aphid) and sorghum example $100 million in damages Sorghum variety was $50 million discovered with in pesticides tolerance the following year

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Genetic Diversity (some more) Greenbug (aphid) and sorghum example $100 million in damages Sorghum variety was $50 million discovered with in pesticides tolerance the following year BOOM

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Local Control over Ag Production

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Local Control over Ag Production Everybody knows that there’s fewer farmers farming bigger fields now

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Local Control over Ag Production Everybody knows that there’s fewer farmers farming bigger fields now Business-farming often does not take part in local place- based knowledge

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Loss of Local Control over Ag Production Everybody knows that there’s fewer farmers farming bigger fields now Business-farming often does not take part in local place- based knowledge But, with the rise of Organic Foods, there is a parallel rise in niche producers

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Global Inequality

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Global Inequality People are still starving

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Global Inequality People are still starving

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Global Inequality People are still starving Developing countries tend to become satellite producers for the developed world, relying on high-yielding varieties and non-renewable inputs

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Having said all that...

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Having said all that... High-yielding agriculture has done real good in the world

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Having said all that... High-yielding agriculture has done real good in the world But, it can’t be relied on for the long-term

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Having said all that... High-yielding agriculture has done real good in the world But, it can’t be relied on for the long-term Oh, and we don’t have a lot more land to develop

Why Conventional isn’t Sustainable Having said all that... High-yielding agriculture has done real good in the world But, it can’t be relied on for the long-term Oh, and we don’t have a lot more land to develop ...But a lot of this topic used to be in the context of a huge increase in population worldwide, which according to Albert Gore won’t actually happen

Sustainability

Sustainability What are we shooting for?

Sustainability What are we shooting for? Long-term productivity of the land

Sustainability What are we shooting for? Long-term productivity of the land For us that means doing things different

Sustainability What are we shooting for? Long-term productivity of the land For us that means doing things different System renewal

Sustainability

Sustainability Can you define it?

Sustainability Can you define it? Minimal negative effects on the environment & local ecology

Sustainability Can you define it? Minimal negative effects on the environment & local ecology Preserve and rebuild soil fertility, prevent erosion

Sustainability Can you define it? Minimal negative effects on the environment & local ecology Preserve and rebuild soil fertility, prevent erosion Use water so that aquifers are restored and other water needs are met

Sustainability Can you define it? Minimal negative effects on the environment & local ecology Preserve and rebuild soil fertility, prevent erosion Use water so that aquifers are restored and other water needs are met Rely on resources within the agroecosystem

Sustainability Can you define it? Minimal negative effects on the environment & local ecology Preserve and rebuild soil fertility, prevent erosion Use water so that aquifers are restored and other water needs are met Rely on resources within the agroecosystem Work to conserve biodiversity

Agroecology

Agroecology A fancy word for wise agriculture

Agroecology A fancy word for wise agriculture We cannot ignore the problems of conventional ag, but we cannot just abandon it

Agroecology A fancy word for wise agriculture We cannot ignore the problems of conventional ag, but we cannot just abandon it Traditional (old), resource-conserving, local, small-scale

Agroecology A fancy word for wise agriculture We cannot ignore the problems of conventional ag, but we cannot just abandon it Traditional (old), resource-conserving, local, small-scale Definition: The application of ecological concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agricultural systems

Thought Questions

Thought Questions What are the issues of greatest importance that threaten the sustainability of agriculture in the town or region in which you live?

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