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From Wikipedia

Conservation agriculture

Conservation agriculture can best be thought of as by the statement given out by the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations) “CA is a concept for resource-saving agricultural crop production that strives to achieve acceptable profits together with high and sustained production levels while concurrently conserving the environment� (FAO 2007). With conservation agriculture (CA) there are two important elements that come with this process, two products that would seem unlikely put together. Agriculture and Conservation are two elements that seem unlikely but can coexist with each other. Agriculture according to the New Standard Encyclopedia is “one of the most important sectors in the economies of most nations� (New Standard 1992). At the same time conservation is the use of resources in a manner that safely maintains a resource that can be used by humans. Conservation has become critical on the fact that the world population has increased over the years and more food needs to be produced every year (New Standard 1992). Sometimes referred to as "agricultural environmental management", conservation agriculture may be sanctioned and funded through conservation programs promulgated through agricultural legislation, such as the U.S. Farm Bill.

Key principles

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has determined that CA has three key principles that producers (farmers) can proceed through in order to do the process of CA. These three principles outline what conservationists and producers believe can be done to conserve what we use for a longer period of time.

The first key principle in CA is practicing minimum mechanical soil disturbance which is essential to maintaining minerals within the soil, stopping erosion, and preventing water loss from occurring within the soil. In the past agriculture has looked at soil tillage as a main process in the introduction of new crops to an area. It was believed that tilling the soil would increase fertility within the soil through mineralization* that takes place in the soil. Also tilling of soil can cause severe erosion and crusting of soils which will lead to a decrease in soil fertility. Today tillage is seen as a way as destroying organic matter that can be provided within the soil cover. No-till farming has caught on as a process that can save soils organic levels for a longer period of time, and still allow the soil to be productive for longer periods of time (FAO 2007). Also with the process of tilling cause the time and labor for producing that crop. If no-till practices were being done then the producer would see a reduction in production cost for a certain crop because they no longer are tilling the ground. Tillage of the ground would require the farmer more money due to the fact of fuel for tractors or feed for the animals pulling the plough in order to till the ground. Also the producer would see a reduction in labor; this would be because the producer does not have to be in the fields as long as they would if he/she was a conventional farmer.

The second key principle in CA is much like the first principle in dealing with protecting the soil. The principle of managing the top soil to create a permanent organic soil cover can allow for growth of organisms within the soil structure. This growth will break down the mulch that is left on the soil surface. The breaking down of this mulch will produce a high organic matter level which will act as a fertilizer for the soil surface. If the practices of CA were being done for many years and enough organic matter was being built up at the surface, then a layer of mulch would start to form. This layer would help in preventing soil erosion from taking place and ruining the soils profile or layout. In the article “The role of conservation agriculture and sustainable agriculture� the layer of mulch that is built up over time will start to become like a buffer zone between soil and mulch that will help reduce wind and water erosion. Also, with this, comes the protection of a soils surface when rain is in the process of falling to the ground. Rainfall on land that is not protected by a layer of mulch is left open to the elements of being impacted directly by the rain. But when soils are covered under a layer of mulch, the ground is protected in a way so that the ground is not directly impacted by rainfall (Hobbs et al. 2007). This type of ground cover would also help in keeping both the temperature and moisture levels of the soil at a higher level rather than if it was tilled every year (FAO 2007).

The third and final principle that is exercised by the FAO is the practice of crop rotation with more than two crop species. According to an article published in the Physiological Transactions of the Royal Society called “The role of conservation agriculture and sustainable agriculture� crop rotation can be used best as a “disease control� against other preferred crops (Hobbs et al. 2007). This process will not allow pests such as insects and weeds to be set into a rotation with specific crops. Rotational crops will act as a natural insecticide and herbicide against specific crops. Not allowing insects or weeds to establish a pattern within fields will help to eliminate problems with yield reduction and infestations within fields (FAO 2007). Crop rotation can also help build up a soils infrastructure. Establishing crops in a rotation allows for an extensive build up of rooting zones which will allow for better water infiltration (Hobbs et al. 2007).

  • mineralization - The break down of organic mollecules in the soil into phosphates, nitrates and all the other "ates" which are then in a form which plants can utilize. Plowing increases the amount of oxygen in the soil and increases the aerobic processes, hastening the break down of organic material. Thus more nutrients are available for the next crop but at the same time, the soil is depleted more quickly of its nutrient reserves.

Examples

In Conservation Agriculture there are many examples that can be looked towards as a way of farming but at the same time conserving. These practices that are done now are known well by most producers. The process of no-till is one that follows the first principle of CA, with doing minimal mechanical soil disturbance. But no-till also brings other benefits to the producer who does no-till. According to the FAO tillage is one of the most “energy consuming� processes that can be done, in other words it takes a lot of labor, time, and fuel to do the process of tillage. Producers can save 30% to 40% of time and labor by practicing the no-till process. (FAO 2007)

Besides conserving the soil, there are also other examples of how CA is used in the world today. According to an article in Science called “Farming and the Fate of Wild Nature� there are also two more kinds of CA that can be used. The practice of Wildlife-Friendly Farming and Land Sparing are ideas that can be used if a producer is looking to be more conservative towards biodiversity (Green, et al. 2005).

The idea of Wildlife-Friendly Farming is a practice of setting aside land that will not be developed by the producer (farmer). This land will be set aside so that biodiversity has a chance to establish itself within areas along with agricultural fields. At the same time inside the fields the producer is taking attempts to lower the amount of fertilizer and pesticides used within the fields so that organisms and microbial activity have a chance to establish themselves in the soil and habitat as a whole (Green, et al. 2005). But as in all systems, not all can be perfect. In order to create a habitat su


From Yahoo Answers

Question:WHAT ARE WATER AND MINERAL RESOURCES AND WHAT ARE ITS CAUSES AND EFFECTS ,HOW THEY ARE FORMED ETC

Answers:Water resources: These are rivers, freshwater lakes, glaciers (as the case may be) and ground water. The primary source is precipitation(rainfall & snowing). It provides drinking water to the population and (bulk of it) for irrigation for agricultural purpose. Also needed for industrial purposes and thermal power generation. Where there is a favourable combination of water at a height, the water is made to fall on hydraulic turbines (water wheels) to generate hydroelectric power. Height in meters and flow in cubic meters per second is the direct measure of power generated. This product when multiplied with 9.81 (meter/sec^2, being the acceleartion due to gravity) will almost give the capacity in watts. Mineral resources: A country's economic strength and prosperity depends on its mineral riches too. These are Coal and petroleum resources for fuelling energy (petrol/diesel for cars, trains and ATF for Airplanes); Iron ore, Bauxite (Al ore), Uranium ore, Copper ore are the principal ones. Gold, Silver,Zinc, Lead, Manganese, Chrome and Tin whereas Calcium ores like Limestone (for Cement industry) and Dolomite (for Iron extraction), Sodium (bulk of it extracted from Sea Water in the form of Sodium Chloride called 'Common Salt'), Potassium ore, Sulphur (also Sulphur compounds as byproducts in the extraction of other metals) are important. There are countries with good deposits of Diamonds like Souh Africa, D R Congo (former 'Zaire') and Russia. Varius stone sheets like Marble, Granite andcertain local ones like red 'Sandstone' near Delhi, Jaipur and Agra are also have commercial worth as buiding material and associated decoratives. Silicon (Sand is the raw material) has assumed lot of importance as Electronics material, though extracting Silicon metal is costly. Formation of these is based on various geological process not unlike the Chemistry lab procedures. Coal, Petroleum and Shale are the remnants of forests, animal life forms resepectively, formed in the bygone geological eras of 'Carbonaceous' and 'Tertiary' periods. Diamonds are pure Carbon that was subjected to intense heat and pressure,after passing the Graphite stage, in the Earth's crust.

Question:I need to write about two pages on the topic, "Quality and quantity decline of mineral resources" for my CBSE Class X EVS Project. Please tell me what I should write and send URL links to the information if you can.

Answers:well, mineral resources are quantitatively diminishing because us humans are taking more minerals out of the ground than they can re-grow, so less are growing back, so there are less overall. an example of this is how we are chopping down trees faster than they can grow back, causing habitat destruction in the rain forests of Brazil and all over the world. how mineral resources are qualitatively declining is that because the soil of the earth is not as rich as it used to be, which makes a weaker concentration of minerals in the soil/earth/rock. hope this helps!

Question:Their ideology is big on protecting traditions and freedom so there is a legacy carried on to future generations. But when it comes to the natural wealth of the world, they want to plunder until there are no fish left to catch, no trees to cut down, no oil to drill or clean air to breath. Ignore science, that's just to far in the future to worry about now. How ironic they call themselves "conservative" when the last thing they want to do is conserve.

Answers:The Republican Party has a very long tradition of supporting industry. This goes back to the civil war, when the North was dominated by (then liberal) Republican party and it needed to support its industries to win the war. Since the, it has socially shifted to the conservative side, but retains its support of industries and corporations. And laws that would protect resources and the environment would (at least at first) financially weaken those corporations, which support Republican politicians. Oh, and kpk02, where exactly have you read that Global Warming is caused primarily by the Sun? As a reader of multiple science publications, I have not seen any serious theory saying anything that rejects the current theory. I would like to see your source please.

Question:What are the most important resources we need to conserve?

Answers:http://www.ehow.com/how_2163917_conserve-natural-resources.html http://www.buzzle.com/articles/10-ways-to-conserve-soil.html http://www.groundwater.org/kc/easywaystoconserve.html Check the indicated websites for conserving natural resources.

From Youtube

How to Conserve Water Indoors :Expand the description and view the text of the steps for this how-to video. Check out Howcast for other do-it-yourself videos from jamiep and more videos in the Energy and Resource Conservation category. You can contribute too! Create your own DIY guide at www.howcast.com or produce your own Howcast spots with the Howcast Filmmakers Program at www.howcast.com WH Auden wrote, "Thousands have lived without love, not one without water." Indeed, the average American home uses 140 to 170 gallons of water every day. Cut that in half with some water-saving tips. To complete this How-To you will need: A water-efficient toilet A little food coloring A low-flow showerhead Faucet aerators A dishwasher that uses water efficiently A water-saving washer And to change a few old habits A brick Step 1: Replace your old water guzzler with a low-flow toilet. By law, new toilets must use 1.6 gallons of water per flush or less to get the job done, compared to 5 to 7 gallons in the old days. Step 2: If you can't get a new toilet, make sure yours doesn't have a leak, which can waste up to 100 gallons a day. Put some food coloring in the tank and watch to see if the color spreads to the bowl without flushing. Tip: Save even more water by not flushing every single time. Think: If it's brown, flush it down. If it's yellow, let is mellow." Step 3: Don't linger in the shower, and maximize shower efficiency by installing a water-saving showerhead. These use only 2.5 gallons per minute. Step 4: Put ...

A Culture of Conservation: Iowan to Iowan :A Culture of Conservation encourages us to more fully appreciate our environmental and natural resources--not take them for granted. The overall goal of the ILF project is to increase the understanding between individual farm-level decisions and the aggregate impact on the environment. This includes proven practices such as residue management, reduced tillage, buffer strips, cover crops and stream bank stabilization. Adoption of these practices is dependent upon increased producer understanding of the connection between their individual practices and how they contribute to improved sustainability statewide. Created to accompany the video series, these two publications serve as additional resources for educating youth about the importance of our natural resources. Enhancement Activities for 6-9th grade students: www.extension.iastate.edu Enhancement Activities for high school/junior college students: www.extension.iastate.edu For more information contact the Iowa Learning Farm at (515) 294-8912, Email: ilf@iastate.edu, Web: www.extension.iastate.edu