Scientific Advancements in Agriculture

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Scientific Advancements in Agriculture by Mind Map: Scientific Advancements in Agriculture

1. Crops and Livestock

1.1. Better crops and livestock results in population growth, for not only the developed nations, but for the developing nations too. This resulted in extreme population growth for those regions who can barely sustain and control it.

1.2. Advancements allowed for high yield seeds and better crops overall. However, these crops needed more fertilizers and higher maintenance. This leads to the cycle of debt in lower developed countries, borrowing to get the technology needed.

1.3. Higher productivity and lower prices has led to smaller farms being closed, and bigger commercial farms being the norm.

1.3.1. GMO's are used more by commercial farms, and so they are used more. Although are better overall, they also became vulnerable through monocultures, where there is little diversity to the certain seeds that are used. This can result in government instability, when the crops fail due weather or disease. Crops and livestock are more suspestivle to disease, and the diseases from livestock can transfer over to humans more easily, like Swine Flu or SARS.

2. People

2.1. Before agriculture, all members of a tribe would have to partake in hunting or gathering. In the modern world, scientific advancements have increased productivity and allowed the vast majority of the population to diversify into other fields, advancing humanity as a whole.

2.1.1. Without agriculture and the changes made to agriculture, society would be entirely different. Large and powerful empires would not be able to exist, and neither would the world today.

2.2. Rapid population growth has been a direct result of agriculture.

2.2.1. East and Southeast Asia have been heavily populated for most of the past millennia because of their ability to produce large amounts of food, especially rice.

2.2.2. As the UN projects for the global population to grow to 11 billion by 2100, food insecurity has the potential increase in severity if food production remains similar.

2.2.3. Already, food resources are distributed unequally around the globe. Generally, developed countries have access to a stable supply of food, but many developing countries are struggling. Food insecurity is a problem even for wealthy countries. Those in lower economic levels are more likely to be malnourished.

2.3. Different populations consume different foods.

2.3.1. Advancements in genetic sciences have greatly increased the supply of food in developed countries. However, it has also resulted in a rise of people starting to buy from organic and/or non-GMO sources. This is because many consumers perceive that non-GMO foods are healthier and more eco-friendly. According to USDA, sales of organic food products in the US have increased from $28.4 billion in 2012 to $35 billion in 2014.

2.3.2. Often times, cultural history determines whether a specific food is tolerated or avoided.

2.3.3. Geographic location affects foods available in areas lacking transportation infrastructure. In developed countries, there is a variety of foods available because of international trade. Rice is the main cereal grain of eastern and southern parts of Asia because the climate suits sawahs (rice paddys).

3. Land

3.1. Scientific discovery and experimentation allowed for further understanding of the most efficient ways to utilize land.

3.1.1. Overuse of marginally arable land can lead to desertification. Once a plot of land is no longer healthy enough for crops to grow due to desertification, new areas are cleared for continued agricultural practices. This then leads to deforestation.

3.2. Scientific advancements dramatically altered traditional agricultural practices.

3.2.1. Fertilizers and other chemical breakthroughs changed how certain cultures practice agriculture. For example, before fertilizers were heavily used in the United States, Americans first depended on the native peoples' knowledge of nutrition in compost. With the use of fertilizers and new technology, most farms in the United States became large commercial farms that have the ability to support the nation as well as other regions of the world. Increased crop yields through the use of fertilizers lead to a rise in population in both developed and developing countries. In developing nations, increased population is a major issue when considering their population pyramids.

3.3. The environmental impact that advancements in agriculture cause can be detrimental over a long period of time.

3.3.1. Chemical fertilizers do not only affect the soil in which they are incorporated. With rain and irrigation systems, the runoff water can carry chemicals into the ocean and other water sources.

3.3.2. Desertification drains the soil of its nutrients, leaving the overall environment damaged.

3.3.3. New technology, such as tools, vehicles, GPS, and machinery, can cause damage to the environment at a faster rate. Tractors and other land-clearing machinery causes faster deforestation, which prevents time for natural regrowth of forests.

4. Technology

4.1. As hunter gathers and foragers began to practice agriculture, they began to think of new ideas to make agriculture more efficient and be more productive.

4.1.1. Fertilizers were created to artificially restore the nutrients to the soil and allow more crops to stronger and healthier. Overuse of fertilizers contaminates nearby water sources with nitrates and phosphates.

4.1.2. Pesticides and herbicides were used to easily eliminate pests that would destroy the crops. Several pesticides and herbicides are detrimental to the environment and various non targeted organisms. Excessive usage of pesticides and herbicides can end up leading to insects building up resistance to the chemicals which in turn leads to increased usage of pesticides and herbicides.

4.1.3. Different kinds of machinery were created to reduce the amount of manpower required such as seed drills which planted the seeds in neat, orderly rows GPS is now being implemented in agriculture to help farmers find out where weed patches are, accurately planting crops, and decide where and how much pesticide to use.

4.2. Different methods for farming were created to best utilize the land they had available.

4.2.1. Farmers began to rotate fields or wouldn't plant anything at all to help prevent the land from losing too much nutrients.

4.2.2. Growing several different kinds of crops helps improve resilience against drought and disease. Biodiversity has decreased and has led to issues with monoculture. Due to the lack of diversity, entire fields run the risk of being wiped out by a single pathogen.

4.2.3. Some farmers created a method called swidden which involved slashing and burning vegetation which would restore nutrients to the soil and clear land for farming.

4.3. Farmers began to selectively breed plants and animals to enhance desired traits such as a higher resistance to changes in climate and a longer storage life.

4.3.1. Farmers have started inserting genes from one species into another. GMOs have several benefits such as higher yields and increased nutrition but have the potential to eliminate biodiversity and have unknown long-term effects on health.