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Importance of Soil Health for Sustainable Agriculture

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2397 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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 The importance of soil health, sustainable agriculture and agroecosystems, the best management practices are all things that people should do to help our future because it is the key to feeding the future population. Sustainable agriculture and soil health can benefit the little number of farms. Moving towards making all food sustainable is a major issue the world needs to solve. There are numerous ways of doing so to feed the 9 million population, but which one will be the right one.

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 Understanding how agroecosystems function and services they provide is very important. Agroecosystems are ecosystems in which humans have exercised a deliberate selectivity on the composition of living organisms (Article 1 page 1). Current farming methods have over-stretched water resources, high levels of erosion, and reduced soil fertility. Normal farming is just so scarce nowadays. An agroecosystem is profoundly manipulated by man, and subjected to some fuss, such as plowing, inter-cultivation, and treatment with pesticides. Agroecosystems are more prone to pest damage and outbreaks of lack of diversity in species or plants. Some services that agroecosystems provide evolution of crop and livestock production, support that is provided by the organism that make up the biodiversity of an agroecosystem (Article 1 page 1). Wider ecological functions by maintenance of soil fertility, water quality, and climate regulation (Article 1 page 1). Biodiversity is the assortment of life within a world or a specific habitat or ecosystem. All agroecosystems contain biodiversity at some level. Agroecosystems can benefit from both humans and the biodiversity of an ecosystem.

 The importance of soil health as the footing of a lively ecosystem is something that every conservationist should know. Soil is mostly a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms. Most soils have a dry bulk density. A lot of soils can effectively destroy impurities, demolish diseases, and degrade contaminants. That is why soil is very meaningful and nessesary for farming and agriculture. There are three types of soil; Sand, Silt, and Clay. Some areas have more sand than silt, more clay than sand. Soil is the main thing that helps make a farm run fluently, because it provides nutrients for the growing crops and plants, and it provides a habitat for many organic matters. Soil isn’t an inert growing medium, but rather is teaming with billions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that are the foundation of a symbiotic ecosystem (Article 3 page 1). Soil provides nutrients for plant growth, it holds rainwater for use during dryer periods, filters and buffers potential pollutants from our fields, provides habitats for microbes to flourish and diversify to keep an ecosystem running smoothly. Healthy soil gives us clean air and water, bountiful crops and forests, productive grazing lands, diverse wildlife, and beautiful landscapes. Soil health may not seem like a big deal, but it is a non-renewable resource and it provides for wildlife species and humans. Soil health also provides well for agriculture and sustainable farming (Article 3 page 1).

 Sustainable agriculture on large and small farm operations, as well as the indicators of sustainable farming is very important to know. Environmental sustainability in agriculture means good stewardship towards natural resources and systems. For the world to make everything sustainable, people need to realize the vitality of cleaning up after themselves, treating nature like it is their child, because not everyone cares about plants, animals, littering their trash. People need to have that sense of attitude towards the earth and how treating it good will benefit them in the future. Fourteen billion pounds of garbage is being thrown into the oceans every single year. That’s one and a half million pounds of trash per hour! So, if people change their aspect on the planet, then this world might be a better place. Building and maintaining healthy soils, managing water wisely, minimizing air, water, and climate pollution, and promoting biodiversity are all key concepts of having sustainable agriculture. Rotating crops and embracing biodiversity, Planting cover crops, reducing and eliminating tillage, and integrating livestock and crops are all sustainable practices (Article 4 page 1). Making sure that farms have sustainable agriculture is important to the future because our resources are limited.

 Sustainable and best management practices enhance and protect soil health, water quality and quantity, and biodiversity; as well as manage insects, pests, and diseases. Cover crops impart nitrogen for cash crops and they control pests and diseases (Baldwin & Creamer 2006). Establishing cover crops involves using a drill and cult packing the field. A cult packer is a piece of agricultural equipment that crushes dirt clods, removes air pockets, presses down small stones, forming a smooth, firm seedbed. Some other ways of managing soils are to increase organic matter input, reduce pesticides and provide habitat for beneficial organisms, rotate crops, manage nutrients, and much more. Cover crops effect the soil by preventing soil erosion. Soil erosion decreases topsoil, but cover crops helps prevent that from happening (Baldwin & Creamer 2006). Cover crops also improve soil structure. Soil structure is one of the characteristics that define soil horizon. Cover crops smother weeds so that they can’t get the air and light they need to grow, they also outcompete them for nutrients, and producing a toxic effect to all the weeds called allelopathy (Baldwin & Creamer 2006). By farmers using sustainable and best management practices, people can enhance soil, then in which can help make this world a lot cleaner and better.

 The differences of local, regional, and national food systems are vital to grow for the ever-increasing world population; and the significance of each food system. From small town farms to larger statewide farms, to the factories across the nation, food needs to be produced and kept sustainable. It makes more sense for people to eat grain instead of animals, because animals aren’t sustainable (Grist 2015). Animals aren’t going to be on this planet forever. But crops can be grown repeatedly. Soon enough the animal populations will be so low that people won’t be able to feed on them. Unless the world can unite for once and find the solution to making animals sustainable somehow. The world needs to find a solution for the population’s food struggles. The fact that 96.8% of the world’s population eats meat. The solution is going to be hard for scientists to find, but they will find it. The result of growing organic foods are that they require few petroleum products and produce very few CO2. Those that are moving towards homesteading-aiming to be self-sufficient by capturing rainwater, using renewable energy, and growing and preserving foods (Abrams 2018). Understanding that the world needs a solution to feeding the ever-growing population is very important.

 To feed the 9 billion population of the planet, the world needs to invent new technologies to help find a sustainable solution. The U.S Government’s global hunger and food insecurity initiative, feed the future works to give families and communities in some of the poorest countries the freedom to lift themselves out of food insecurities (Gritzmacher 2018). Genetic modification has been used for decades to figure out whether it can change the way we grow and feed. GMO stands for genetically modified organism. The organism had its genetic codes changed or tweaked to some degree. For example, if a scientist took a certain gene from a fish and implanted it in a strawberry, the strawberry now has that gene. That is all genetic modification is! GMO’s use fewer pesticides and chemicals to grow crops. Herbicide tolerant crops allow farmers to use methods that require few to none tillage methods. The methods help prevent soil erosion and nutrient runoff. GMO’s have a potential to cure this so-called problem, world hunger. The fact that GM foods can be grown in bigger bulks and faster than the traditional way of farming. Maybe scientists can genetically modify some foods that make them last longer, so people won’t have to throw them away so quickly. That’s the main issue the world has is the fact that people throw away more food than they eat. If people didn’t do that then world hunger wouldn’t be an issue anymore. That is why scientist and biotechnologists are working together to make sure that GMO’s are going to be safe to eat by 2050 when the population is so increasingly high, and people are starving. But some consumers don’t like the idea of different things being put in their foods that they eat. But the other half of the people don’t mind having their foods genetically modified. Most genetically modified foods are in packaged foods. They contain ingredients like corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet. Most of those crops that are grown in North America have been genetically modified for the most part. One of the only issues with GMO’s is the fact that they take jobs away from the organic farmers. GM foods are much bigger and better than growing organically. But most people become scared of what is being put in their foods. Indoor farming is another way of growing good, healthy crops without using herbicides, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals. The person in charge of an indoor farm has the most control over the environment rather than traditional, soil-based farming. The traditional way of farming, a person can’t control the weather and insects ruining their crops and plants. But when indoor farming comes in to play, the person can control everything. The world absolutely needs to find the solution to feeding the future 9 billion people. New technology is the key to finding our solution to feed the world’s population. GMO’s have been experimented on for decades now, they might be the solution to the starving population of 9 billion. In most developed countries, a robust or cold chain- which means controlled temperatures throughout the supply chain. Some delivery trucks that carry food are refrigerated to help make the food last longer. But the only problem with that is the fact that it is expensive and not everyone can afford having such an amazing technology. The fact that the world already develops enough food to feed 10 billion people is insane, but majority of that food is either lost or withered. Technology really plays a major role in finding the solution to world hunger.

 There is only a limited amount of options the world can use to feed the population. Someone needs to find that solution fast because the population is ever-growing. Working towards sustainable agriculture is extremely important for everyone to do. Developing new technologies that might help save world hunger is also crucial for people to invent. By understanding that sustainable farming and best management practices are very vital to the globe, then world hunger may not be an issue anymore if everyone chose to conserve what they have. Millions of pounds of food are continually being thrown out each day across America. The amount of food that goes to waste in just this one country, it could feed the entire world’s population. The world is growing at a rapid pace, and it is almost like a race between the population, scientists, farmers, and conservationists to find the most sustainable and healthy result to feeding the world.

Works Cited

  • Abrams, Amanda. “Urban Agriculture Could Potentially Produce a Tenth of the World’s Food. Is Grass Really the Best Use of Your Yard?” Envirothon, 25 Apr. 2018, www.envirothon.org/images/2019/Urban-Agriculture-Could-Potentially-Produce-a-Tenth-of-the-Worlds-Food.-Is-Grass-Really-the-Best-Use-for-Your-Yard.pdf. Accessed 11 Jan. 2019.
  • Baldwin, Keith R., and Nancy G. Creamer. “Cover Crops for Organic Farms.” Envirothon, www.envirothon.org/images/2019/Cover-Crops-for-Organic-Farms.pdf.
  • Johnson, Nathanael. “Can Meat Actually Be Eco-Friendly?” Envirothon, 15 July 2015, www.envirothon.org/images/2019/Can-meat-actually-be-eco-friendly.pdf. Accessed 11 Jan. 2019.
  • Scherr, Sarah J., and Jeffery A. Mcneely. “Biodiversity Conservation and Agricultural Sustainability: Towards a New Paradigm of ‘Eco agriculture’ Landscapes.” Envirothon, 25 July 2007, www.envirothon.org/images/2019/Biodiversity-Conservation-and-Agricultural-Sustainability.pdf. Accessed 11 Jan. 2019.

Body Paragraph #1

  • http://www.fao.org/docrep/pdf/010/i0112e/i0112e02.pdf
  • https://www.envirothon.org/images/2019/Biodiversity-Conservation-and-Agricultural-Sustainability.pdf

Body Paragraph #2

  • https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/soils/health/

Body Paragraph #3

  • https://www.ucsusa.org/food-agriculture/advance-sustainable-agriculture/what-is-sustainable-agriculture#.XDYNPFxKjIU

Body Paragraph #4

  • https://www.envirothon.org/images/2019/Cover-Crops-for-Organic-Farms.pdf

Body Paragraph #5

  • https://www.envirothon.org/images/2019/Can-meat-actually-be-eco-friendly.pdf
  • https://www.envirothon.org/images/2019/Urban-Agriculture-Could-Potentially-Produce-a-Tenth-of-the-Worlds-Food.-Is-Grass-Really-the-Best-Use-for-Your-Yard.pdf

Body Paragraph #6

  • https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/agriculture-and-food-security/increasing-food-security-through-feed-future
  • https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/future-of-food-introduction/

Body Paragraph #7

  • https://www.theguardian.com/preparing-for-9-billion/2017/sep/13/population-feed-planet-2050-cold-chain-environment


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