Submitted to: Minnesota Academy of Science Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/25/2003
Publication Date: 4/25/2003
Citation: JOHNSON, J.M. SOLUTIONS FOR GROWING PROBLEMS: AGRICULTURE, CONSERVATION AND ENVIRONMENT. CD-ROM. ST. PAUL, MN: MINNESOTA ACADEMY OF SCIENCE. 2003. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: As a global society, we face many challenges: greenhouse gas emissions, global climate change, fossil fuel limitations, ecological diversity decline, food production/distribution and population growth-finite resources. Modern agriculture contributes to both the problems and the solutions. The green revolution resulted in dramatic increases in food production, but has not eliminated world hunger. Greenhouse gases reduce the earth's ability to lose energy to space. Natural gases that contribute to greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane and nitrous oxide. Carbon dioxide release from the burning and plowing of forests and annual tillage practices, methane release from rice paddies and cattle, nitrous oxide release from fertilized fields add to greenhouse gases, but production of biomass and conservation practices that build soil organic matter help to remove greenhouse gases. Research is being conducted to help balance the ecological impact, economical needs and goals of agriculture. Organic farming systems, alternative crops, and viable rotation options are receiving increased attention. Research to find the farming systems that maximize carbon storage and minimize the release of nitrous oxide are being established across the US. Biotechnology is being utilized to better understand crop physiology as well as the development of GMOs. Biobased products (biodiesel, ethanol, coproducts, methanol collection) can reduce dependence on petroleum-based products. Conscious efforts to reduce your waste, recycle, and conserve energy and natural resources is recommended.