Ecological impact of African citiesDecember 02, 2008
African cities are growing faster than anywhere else in the world. This is having a major impact, but few ecologists are studying the urban environment and effect of cities on rural areas. One of the most important ecological changes in Africa's history is being over-looked.
Joy Clancy from the University of Twente has reviewed the problem in the current issue of the African Journal of Ecology. She says "A hundred years ago 95% of the African population was rural, today 38% live in cities with about half the population expected to be urban by 2010." This rapid growth is resulting in huge changes in natural resource use, but the effects are highly controversial. "Some environmentalists say that demand for fuel wood and charcoal from cities are causing deforestation, but in fact it is change in land use that is the main driver" continues Joy. "The real change is around cities - the 'peri-urban' areas - where woodlands are cleared for agriculture to feed the new centres of population." She points out "When this is added to the effect on water demand and waste disposal on aquatic ecosystems, then African cities can have an ecological footprint much larger than their actual extent."
But there is little research on the ecology of cities "Africa is famous for its wildlife and the ecology of places such as the Serengeti are familiar to people all over the world, but remarkably few ecologists are studying urban environments" says Jon Lovett, associate editor of the African Journal of Ecology. "Although we know a lot about lions and wildebeest, the real ecological challenges are in the cities and these are being ignored" he continues. "We need a massive shift in focus to tackle the most urgent environmental issues".
Related Agriculture Articles:
'Buy local' sounds like a great environmental slogan, epitomized for city dwellers by urban agriculture.
Scientists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture evaluated the impacts of row-crop agriculture, including the traditional use of pesticides, on honey bee health.
'Food production must double by 2050 to feed the world's growing population.' This truism has been repeated so often in recent years that it has become widely accepted among academics, policymakers and farmers, but now researchers are challenging this assertion and suggesting a new vision for the future of agriculture.
A new round of grants from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is designed to promote careers in agriculture and natural resource management, and educators with the University of Tennessee Departments of Plant Sciences and Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications (ALEC) are among the grant recipients.
Researchers use a 16 year field-experiment dataset to show the ability of a model to fine-tune optimal nitrogen fertilizer rates, and identify five ways it can inform nitrogen management guidelines.
An extensive study led by a researcher at Lund University in Sweden has mapped the effects of small farmers on the rain forests of Southeast Asia for the first time.
New frontiers of soil and plant sciences may grow crops in space.
What's good for crops is not always good for the environment.
Invasive insects and pathogens could be a multi-billion- dollar threat to global agriculture and developing countries may be the biggest target, according to a team of international researchers.
The emergence of agriculture is suggested to have driven extensive human population growth.
Related Agriculture Reading:
by Mark Shepard (Author)
Around the globe most people get their calories from annual agriculture - plants that grow fast for one season, produce lots of seeds, then die. Every single human society that has relied on annual crops for staple foods has collapsed. Restoration Agriculture explains how we can have all of the benefits of natural, perennial ecosystems and create agricultural systems that imitate nature in form and function while still providing for our food, building, fuel and many other needs - in your own backyard, farm or ranch. This book, based on real-world practices, presents an alternative to... View Details
A Revolution Down on the Farm: The Transformation of American Agriculture since 1929
by Paul K. Conkin (Author)
At a time when food is becoming increasingly scarce in many parts of the world and food prices are skyrocketing, no industry is more important than agriculture. Humans have been farming for thousands of years, and yet agriculture has undergone more fundamental changes in the past 80 years than in the previous several centuries. In 1900, 30 million American farmers tilled the soil or tended livestock; today there are fewer than 4.5 million farmers who feed a population four times larger than it was at the beginning of the century. Fifty years ago, the planet could not have sustained a... View Details
Science in Agriculture: Advanced Methods for Sustainable Farming
by Arden B. Andersen (Author)
By ignoring the truth, ag-chemical enthusiasts are able to claim that pesticides and herbicides are necessary to feed the world. But science points out that low-to-mediocre crop production, weed, disease, and insect pressures are all symptoms of nutritional imbalances and inadequacies in the soil. Science in Agriculture is a concise recap of the main schools of thought that make up eco-agriculture - all clearly explained. Gain a working knowledge of chemistry, physics, and plant biology as applied to agriculture. Discover what weeds are trying to tell you about your soil's fertility needs.... View Details
The Agriculture Manifesto: Ten Key Drivers that Will Shape Agriculture in the Next Decade
by Robert Saik (Author)
How to Stay Informed About the Future of Agriculture... Whether you are; - a farmer who wants to stay connected with consumer trends - an agribusiness person interested in where our industry is headed - or a consumer trying to separate hype from truth. I am willing to share what I see out in the field every day. The good news is, I am profoundly optimistic about the ability of agriculture to feed our planet, despite the population growth, because I see what science and technology are doing to improve our food production and because every day I work with dedicated, passionate people who care... View Details
Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate
by Laura Lengnick (Author)
Climate change presents an unprecedented challenge to the productivity and profitability of agriculture in North America. More variable weather, drought, and flooding create the most obvious damage, but hot summer nights, warmer winters, longer growing seasons, and other environmental changes have more subtle but far-reaching effects on plant and livestock growth and development.
Resilient Agriculture recognizes the critical role that sustainable agriculture will play in the coming decades and beyond. The latest science on climate risk, resilience, and climate change... View Details
The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century
by Dr. Dickson Despommier (Author), Majora Carter (Foreword)
"The vertical farm is a world-changing innovation whose time has come. Dickson Despommier's visionary book provides a blueprint for securing the world's food supply and at the same time solving one of the gravest environmental crises facing us today."--Sting
Imagine a world where every town has their own local food source, grown in the safest way possible, where no drop of water or particle of light is wasted, and where a simple elevator ride can transport you to nature's grocery store - imagine the world of the vertical farm.
When Columbia professor Dickson Despommier set out... View Details
Agriculture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Paul Brassley (Author), Richard Soffe (Author)
Agriculture, one of the oldest human occupations, is practised all over the world, using techniques ranging from the profoundly traditional to the most scientifically advanced. Without it we would starve. Yet how many of us understand what is happening in the fields that we see as we drive through the countryside? How often do we think about the origins of the food in our trolley?
In this Very Short Introduction Paul Brassley and Richard Soffe explain what farmers do and why they do it. Beginning with the most basic resource, the soil, they show why it is important, and how... View Details
Agriculture: Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture
by Rudolf Steiner (Author), Catherine E. Creeger (Author)
With this remarkable series of lectures presented in Koberwitz, Silesia, June 7-16, 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded biodynamic agriculture. They contain profound insights into farming, the plant and animal world, the nature of organic chemistry, and the influences of heavenly bodies. This translation from the original German by Catherine E. Creeger and Malcolm Gardner is a fundamental text for many intermediate and advanced students of biodynamic agriculture ― one to which the biodynamic practitioner will refer again and again over the years. In addition to the eight lectures, this version... View Details
Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible
by Ellen F. Davis (Author)
This book examines the theology and ethics of land use, especially the practices of modern industrialized agriculture, in light of critical biblical exegesis. Nine interrelated essays explore the biblical writers' pervasive concern for the care of arable land against the background of the geography, social structures, and religious thought of ancient Israel. This approach consistently brings out neglected aspects of texts, both poetry and prose, that are central to Jewish and Christian traditions. Rather than seeking solutions from the past, Davis creates a conversation between ancient texts... View Details
History of Nebraska Agriculture, A: A Life Worth Living (American Heritage)
by Jody L. Lamp & Melody Dobson (Author)
Once known as the "Great American Desert," Nebraska's plains and native grasslands today make it a domestic leader in producing food, feed and fuel. From Omaha to Ogallala, Nebraska's founding farmers, ranchers and agribusiness leaders endured hardships while fostering kinships that have lasted generations. While many continued on the trails leading west, others from around the world stayed, seeking a home and land to cultivate. American Doorstop Project co-founders and authors Jody L. Lamp and Melody Dobson celebrate the state's forgotten and untold agricultural history, highlighting more... View Details