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Unit 5

5.15 Sustainable Agriculture

2 min readmay 1, 2020

Mark Little


To make all resources more sustainable for the future, human beings must reduce the environmental impact on the use and extraction of these renewable and non-renewable resources.  With agriculture, one of the objectives would be to reduce or prevent soil erosion as much as possible. You can do this in several ways.

One way includes contour plowing. Contour plowing, follows the natural contours of the land when plowing to reduce environmental impact. No-till agriculture is a type of farming that is used in soils that are dryer and have more sand.  Using this strategy, very little soil preparation or tilling is done and reduces the erosion from this type of farming.

Windbreaks or shelterbelts is another strategy used for improving sustainable agriculture. Using this technique, farmers would plant several rows of trees or shrubs intermixed with the crops to reduce erosion from the wind.  Sometimes these rows of trees or bushes are planted on the outside of the farmland and are called hedgerows. 

https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/11/08/05/49/asia-1807574_960_720.jpg

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Terracing is a farming practice used to cut out flat sections within hilly areas.  If you see this type of farming from the air, it will look like a series of steps. This practice helps reduce soil loss and erosion in hilly areas. Strip farming is done when a series of long rows that are alternated with areas that are not planted. This is a technique used in crop rotation.

A way to improve the health of the soil and fertility is to add green manure. In this strategy, farmers allow last year’s crop parts to decompose and help provide nutrients to the soil.  Rotating crops also helps improve the health of the soil, and adding limestone helps add important minerals like Calcium (Ca) and increases the pH.

Like rotating crops, rotating pastures for grazing animals or livestock helps prevent overgrazing.  This keeps the pasture land healthier and more sustainable for the future.

🎥 Watch: AP Environmental Science - Agricultural Practices I

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