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The Pros and Cons of Monoculture

An overview of monoculture in modern society.

Thomas Krarup

on 4 September 2012

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Transcript of The Pros and Cons of Monoculture

Is it Sustainable? Monoculture: photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli What is Monoculture? Mass production of one crop type
Generally crops that are commercially successful (IE: Russet Burbank Potatoes or Monsanto Soybeans) Cheaper, or mechanized labor
High productivity of commercially successful crops
Market driven
Cheap production Pros of Monoculture Depletes nitrogen levels in soils
Diseases - no genetic variance between plants
Reliance on fossil fuels, chemicals, and technology
Environmental damage
Less actual food being produced per acre of land
Displacement of local crops Cons of Monoculture http://macteeninterpreters.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/mono1.jpg http://conservingbiodiversity.yolasite.com/resources/soy_monoculture__Brazil.jpg Catastrophic crop failure unlikely due to genetic variance
Rotation of crops replaces nitrogen in soil
Pesticides and fertilizers not as necessary as different plant species and animals perform these functions
Multiple crops and markets
Short, Medium and Long term crops grown Polyculture More knowledge intensive
More difficult to mechanize, and therefor more 'expensive' Downsides Very commercially successful soybean crop in Argentina has led to:
Increase in toxicity of local environment
Displacement of indigenous people
Violent conflicts over land ownership Monsanto Approved Soy Monoculture in Argentina http://nature.berkeley.edu/~miguel-alt/modern_agriculture.html
http://macteeninterpreters.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/mono1.jpg Sources:
Full transcript