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All Languages. More filters. Sort order. Aree rated it it was amazing Oct 24, Peter Dorey rated it it was amazing Feb 11, Micah rated it really liked it Mar 23, Libby is currently reading it Nov 29, Shannon marked it as to-read Apr 11, Dessie marked it as to-read Mar 06, Mamta marked it as to-read Dec 07, Vivek Tiwari marked it as to-read Jan 15, Steven Sevillano rios marked it as to-read Jan 20, Kady Maser marked it as to-read Apr 09, Suzanne marked it as to-read Apr 27, Three of the main areas that agroecologists would look at in farms, would be: the environmental impacts, animal welfare issues, and the social aspects.

Environmental impacts caused by organic and non-organic milk production can vary significantly.


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For both cases, there are positive and negative environmental consequences. Compared to conventional milk production, organic milk production tends to have lower eutrophication potential per ton of milk or per hectare of farmland, because it potentially reduces leaching of nitrates NO3 and phosphates PO4 due to lower fertilizer application rates. Because organic milk production reduces pesticides utilization, it increases land use per ton of milk due to decreased crop yields per hectare.

Mainly due to the lower level of concentrates given to cows in organic herds, organic dairy farms generally produce less milk per cow than conventional dairy farms. Because of the increased use of roughage and the, on-average, lower milk production level per cow, some research has connected organic milk production with increases in the emission of methane.

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Animal welfare issues vary among dairy farms and are not necessarily related to the way of producing milk organically or conventionally. A key component of animal welfare is freedom to perform their innate natural behavior, and this is stated in one of the basic principles of organic agriculture.

Also, there are other aspects of animal welfare to be considered - such as freedom from hunger, thirst, discomfort, injury, fear, distress, disease and pain. Because organic standards require loose housing systems, adequate bedding, restrictions on the area of slatted floors, a minimum forage proportion in the ruminant diets, and tend to limit stocking densities both on pasture and in housing for dairy cows, they potentially promote good foot and hoof health.

Some studies show lower incidence of placenta retention, milk fever, abomasums displacement and other diseases in organic than in conventional dairy herds. However, the level of infections by parasites in organically managed herds is generally higher than in conventional herds.

Social aspects of dairy enterprises include life quality of farmers, of farm labor, of rural and urban communities, and also includes public health. Both organic and non-organic farms can have good and bad implications for the life quality of all the different people involved in that food chain. As for the public health or food safety concern, organic foods are intended to be healthy, free of contaminations and free from agents that could cause human diseases. Organic milk is meant to have no chemical residues to consumers, and the restrictions on the use of antibiotics and chemicals in organic food production has the purpose to accomplish this goal.

What is Agroecology?

But dairy cows in organic farms, as in conventional farms, indeed do get exposed to virus, parasites and bacteria that can contaminate milk and hence humans, so the risks of transmitting diseases are not eliminated just because the production is organic. Can the farm minimize environmental impacts and increase its level of sustainability, for instance by efficiently increasing the productivity of the animals to minimize waste of feed and of land use? Are there ways to improve the health status of the herd in the case of organics, by using biological controls, for instance?

Does this way of farming sustain good quality of life for the farmers, their families, rural labor and communities involved? Views on no-till farming[edit]. No-tillage is one of the components of conservation agriculture practices and is considered more environmental friendly than complete tillage. Due to this belief, it could be expected that agroecologists would not recommend the use of complete tillage and would rather recommend no-till farming, but this is not always the case. In fact, there is a general consensus that no-till can increase soils capacity of acting as a carbon sink, especially when combined with cover crops.

No-till can contribute to higher soil organic matter and organic carbon content in soils, though reports of no-effects of no-tillage in organic matter and organic carbon soil contents also exist, depending on environmental and crop conditions. In addition, no-till can indirectly reduce CO2 emissions by decreasing the use of fossil fuels. Most crops can benefit from the practice of no-till, but not all crops are suitable for complete no-till agriculture. Crops that do not perform well when competing with other plants that grow in untilled soil in their early stages can be best grown by using other conservation tillage practices, like a combination of strip-till with no-till areas.

Also, crops which harvestable portion grows underground can have better results with strip-tillage, mainly in soils which are hard for plant roots to penetrate into deeper layers to access water and nutrients.


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The benefits provided by no-tillage to predators may lead to larger predator populations, which is a good way to control pests biological control , but also can facilitate predation of the crop itself. In corn crops, for instance, predation by caterpillars can be higher in no-till than in conventional tillage fields. In places with rigorous winter, untilled soil can take longer to warm and dry in spring, which may delay planting to less ideal dates.

Another factor to be considered is that organic residue from the prior year's crops lying on the surface of untilled fields can provide a favorable environment to pathogens, helping to increase the risk of transmitting diseases to the future crop. And because no-till farming provides good environment for pathogens, insects and weeds, it can lead farmers to a more intensive use of chemicals for pest control.

Other disadvantages of no-till include underground rot, low soil temperatures and high moisture.

Based on the balance of these factors, and because each farm has different problems, agroecologists will not atest that only no-till or complete tillage is the right way of farming. Yet, these are not the only possible choices regarding soil preparation, since there are intermediate practices such as strip-till, mulch-till and ridge-till, all of them - just as no-till - categorized as conservation tillage. Agroecologists, then, will evaluate the need of different practices for the contexts in which each farm is inserted.

Can the farm minimize environmental impacts and increase its level of sustainability; for instance by efficiently increasing the productivity of the crops to minimize land use? Does this way of farming sustain good quality of life for the farmers, their families, rural labor and rural communities involved? The notions and ideas relating to crop ecology have been around since at least when F. King released Farmers of Forty Centuries.

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King was one of the pioneers as a proponent of more quantitative methods for characterization of water relations and physical properties of soils. In the late s the attempt to merge agronomy and ecology was born with the development of the field of crop ecology. Actually, it was only in that agronomy and ecology were formally linked by Klages. The first mention of the term agroecology was in , with the publication of the term by Bensin in He analysed the different components plants, animals, soils and climate and their interactions within an agroecosystem as well as the impact of human agricultural management on these components.

Gliessman mentions that post-WWII, groups of scientists with ecologists gave more focus to experiments in the natural environment, while agronomists dedicated their attention to the cultivated systems in agriculture. According to Gliessman, the two groups kept their research and interest apart until books and articles using the concept of agroecosystems and the word agroecology started to appear in Dalgaard explains the different points of view in ecology schools, and the fundamental differences, which set the basis for the development of agroecology.

The early ecology school of Henry Gleason investigated plant populations focusing in the hierarchical levels of the organism under study. However, the ecological schools where the roots of agroecology lie are even broader in nature. The ecology school of Tansley, whose view included both the biotic organism and their environment, is the one from which the concept of agroecosystems emerged in with Harper. In the s and s the increasing awareness of how humans manage the landscape and its consequences set the stage for the necessary cross between agronomy and ecology.

Even though, in many ways the environmental movement in the US was a product of the times, the Green Decade spread an environmental awareness of the unintended consequences of changing ecological processes.

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Works such as Silent Spring, and The Limits to Growth, and changes in legislation such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act caused the public to be aware of societal growth patterns, agricultural production, and the overall capacity of the system. Fusion with ecology[edit]. After the s, when agronomists saw the value of ecology and ecologists began to use the agricultural systems as study plots, studies in agroecology grew more rapidly. Gliessman describes that the innovative work of Prof.

Efraim Hernandez X. In Prof. The acknowledgement that the socio-economic interactions are indeed one of the fundamental components of any agroecosystems came to light in , with the article Agroecologia del Tropico Americano by Montaldo. The author argues that the socio-economic context cannot be separated from the agricultural systems when designing agricultural practices. In Edens et al. Actually, ended up being a fertile and creative year for the new discipline. For instance in the same year, Miguel Altieri integrated how consolidation of the farms, and cropping systems impact pest populations.

In addition, Gliessman highlighted that socio-economic, technological, and ecological components give rise to producer choices of food production systems. These pioneering agroecologists have helped to frame the foundation of what we today consider the interdisciplinary field of agroecology. Agroecology as a science, a movement or a practice.

A review By region[edit]. The principles of agroecology are expressed differently depending on local ecological and social contexts. Latin America's experiences with North American Green Revolution agricultural techniques have opened space for agroecologists. Traditional or indigenous knowledge represents a wealth of possibility for agroecologists, including "exchange of wisdoms. Madagascar[edit] Main article: Agroecology in Madagascar. Most of the historical farming in Madagascar has been conducted by indigenous peoples. The French colonial period disturbed a very small percentage of land area, and even included some useful experiments in Sustainable forestry.

Slash-and-burn techniques, a component of some shifting cultivation systems have been practised by natives in Madagascar for centuries. Noureddine Benkeblia. Manuel Gonzalez De Molina. Stephen R. Thomas Gitau. David Pimentel. Gloria Isabel Guzman Casado. Luo Shiming. Louise E.