question: what are small farms, how do they contribute to society, and what challenges are they faced with?

Producing a vast amount of the world's food, small farms are valuable assets that contribute to long-term economic sustainability and food security. What actually constitutes a small farm is hard to specify as there are extreme variations in societal structure, ergo many definitions exist. In the United States, a small farm is defined as any …

5 ways that humans impact ecosystems

Excluding the beaver, no other animal on the planet alters its environment as much as humans. As a result, the impact of the actions of humans is widespread, even if the effects are not overtly noticeable. Some ways that we affect our ecosystems include: Habitat fragmentation: This occurs when an organism's favored environment is disrupted …

ecology defined + a description of the components of an ecosystem

Ecology is the study of environmental systems, i.e. ecosystems, and how each of the different parts of a given ecosystem interact. It is sometimes known as the economics of nature. Aldo Leopold is often considered the grandfather of ecology because of his passion for understanding how each of the various parts of the natural world interact. …

buffer zones & buffer strips – what they are and why we need them

Buffer zones and buffer strips are the areas between aquatic and terrestrial zones.  The best-known buffer strips are wetlands and riparian zones.  They can consist of natural or planted vegetation and serve as a place for water and matter storage.   The two types of limitations that impact buffer zones are internal limitations and external …

biological control via entomophatogenic viruses: baculovirus

Entomopathogenic viruses are those that infect and kill insects.  They are superior to regular pesticides because they are not harmful to humans or other vertebrates. Furthermore, each viral strain attacks only a limited number of insect species which helps to mitigate unpredicted damage. There are two types of entomopathogenic viruses: Baculoviridae (ds DNA) Nucleopolyhedrovirus Granulovirus …

an introduction to integrated pest management (IPM)

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a long-term pest prevention program that focuses on ecosystem-based strategies for the control of pest related issues. This is accomplished through a combination of techniques including biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices and the use of resistant cultivars. The use of chemical pesticides is then restricted to applications only …

the importance of annual grasses: poaceae

The family Poaceae is considered the most economically important plant family due to the fact that they produce the world’s food staples including domesticated cereal crops such as maize [corn], wheat, rice, barley, and millet.  Poaceae plants also provide forage, building materials [bamboo, thatch, straw] and fuel [ethanol].   Agricultural grasses grown for their edible …