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Mississippi Delta - Agriculture

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Francisco Gonçalves

on 9 October 2012

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Transcript of Mississippi Delta - Agriculture

Altering Human Activity Pesticides Agriculture Case scenario - Mississippi Delta? Case scenario - Mississippi Delta? Case scenario - Mississippi Delta? Eutrophication by Diogo A., Inês L., and Francisco G. Nitrates & Phosphates Introduction The Mississippi River Delta is the modern area of land (the river delta) built up by alluvium deposited by the Mississippi River as it slows down and enters the Gulf of Mexico. Delta = a nearly flat plain of alluvial deposit between diverging branches of the mouth of a river, often, though not necessarily, triangular; Alluvium= A deposit of sand, mud, etc. formed by flowing water. 2000 2010 2005 2002 March What exactly has happened in the Mississippi Delta over the course of human activities (w/ regards to Agricultural practices)? "Hot spot" for the production of cotton. this is a mass produced, agricultural, non-food commodity in the US; its industry accounts for the release of US$2 billion worth of chemical pesticides per year; of these, at least US$19 million worth are considered toxic enough to be classified as hazardous by WHO; 16% of global insecticide releases = about 1 kg of pesticide per hectare of cotton = 1-3% of agricultural workers suffer from acute pesticide poisoning; cotton production has risen dramatically since 1980s, doubling in the last 30 years; ALDICARB = a single drop of this pesticide, if absorbed through the skin, can kill a human adult; in 2003 almost 1 million kg were applied to cotton; as of 2009, ALDICARB is applied to cotton in 25 different countries; And people depend on it... The navigable waterways, including the Mississippi River, support shipping and transit. 1/2 of the population of Louisiana lives near the coast, including in the city of New Orleans = it's unique culture is made up of people whose way of life is tied to the bayous, including Acadians (Cajuns), American Indians and other peoples who have settled there from all over the world. Culturally Economically The coast has extremely productive commercial fisheries.
The wetlands and wildlife draw birders, hunters, anglers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts. The offshore oil fields and refineries provide numerous jobs. Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) = a measure of the amount of dissolved oxygen required to break down the organic material in a given volume of water through aerobic biological activity. = nutrient enrichment of streams, pond and groundwater, due to increased levels of nitrogen/ phosphorus in water bodies. Hypoxic = = It can cause algal blooms, oxygen starvation and eventually the decline of biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems. http://www.google.com/search?sugexp=chrome,mod%3D18&q=eutrophication&safe=active&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=pt-PT&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=MU5tUJryJceyhAfN5YCwBA&biw=1366&bih=667&sei=OE5tULPkJYu4hAeQvoH4CQ#q=eutrophication&um=1&hl=pt-PT&safe=active&tbm=isch&source=lnt&tbs=isz:l&sa=X&ei=OE5tUJaGOISBhQfMhoGgCg&ved=0CCEQpwUoAQ&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=8c25e4601fd5118f&biw=1366&bih=667 Involves =
Increase in nitrates and phosphates in water;
Rapid growth of algae;
Light blocked from submerged aquatic plants;
Accumulation of dead organic matter;
Increased removal of oxygen by decomposers;
Reduced oxygen kills fish and other organisms; Namely... condition in which dissolved oxygen is below the level necessary to sustain most animal life With reference to the ARC Strategies: Pollution Management Impacts = Excessive growth of algae; Farmers use NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) fertilizers because they increase crop growth, improve farmers' income and may help crop-sufficiency in a country; Loss of fertilizer is an economic loss to the farmer; Excessive growth of algae; Precipitation (treatment w/ a solution of aluminum or ferrous salt to precipitate phosphates); Removal of nutrient-enriched sediments; Removal of biomass and using it for fuel; Contribute towards nutrient enrichment and eutrophication; Do not apply nitrogen just before heavy rain is forecast. Regulating and Reducing Phosphate input can be reduced by 90% by carrying out phosphate stripping (sewage treatment); Reducing/Regulating Use zero- or low- phosphorus detergents; Wash only full loads in washing machines; Wash vehicles on porous surfaces away from drains or gutters; Reduce use of fertilizers on lawns and gardens; Compost garden and food waste; Collect and bury pet faeces (eutrophication source). Advantages and Disadvantages Costly relative to "altering" concept, but less "costly" than just "cleaning-up". Sewage treatments are particularly costly. Otherwise, the public campaign sections is mostly costly in terms of advertising and spreading awareness to people, pertaining to the throwing of phosphates and nitrates into sewers and other drains. Promotes healthier, less expensive habits of the populace. Altering Human Activity Giving preference to autumn grown-crops, and plant these as early as possible and mantain the crop cover; Avoid using nitrogen fertilizers between mid-September and mid-February; Don't plough up grass as this releases nitrogen; Altering Using split applications to obtain best match of nitrogen supply and demand by the crops and reduce the risk of nitrogen loss by leaching; For cereals: main application in Marc-April;
For grass: small application monthly throughout growing season, especially after cutting occurs (=reduces risk of loss); Use less nitrogen if the previous year was "dry"; Use steep slopes for permanent pasture grass/woodlands & flat land above slopes for arable crops (minimizes risk of wash from steep land); Incorporate straw (stray decay uses nitrogen and "locks it up", as well as phosphorus); Advantages and Disadvantages No major disadvantages = requires major planning of crop yield optimization. Doesn't yield maximum profits, as certain crops may only be cultivated at certain times. Not a costly process: the outline above described norms/rules/procedure to follow - no major equipment was mentioned (investments in the acquisition of capital are not necessary). Farmers claim to need to use fertilizers to improve food supply, whereas chemical companies argue they produce fertilizer to meet the farmer's demand. Moreover, water companies seek the gov't money to make eutrophic water safe to drink (there are multiple sidestories); Public campaigns (ex. Australia) can convince people to: Cleaning-Up Cleaning-Up Removal of fish to recover and control algae grwoth, as well as the removal of plants from aquatic systems can also be appropriate methods. Advantages and Disadvantages Most expensive of all;
Technical feasibility (more of a technical challenge);
Products (with reference to constructed wetlands, which may provide economic products such as fuel, compost, or thatching material - and this, on the other hand, won't);
Advantages? Only if eutrophication is already on going. Bibliography:
Environmental Systems and Societies for the IB Diploma. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2012. <http://www.abebooks.com/9780435032630/Environmental-Systems-Societies-IB-Diploma-0435032631/plp>.
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