Source The photograph that has become known as "Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made in February or March of in Nipomo, California. Lange was concluding a month's trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration.
Significantly reduces use of fossil fuels farm machines and transport of crops Makes use of abandoned or unused properties No weather related crop failures Offers the possibility of sustainability for urban centers Converts black and gray water to drinking water Adds energy back to the grid via methane generation Creates new urban employment opportunities Reduces the risk of infection from agents transmitted at the agricultural interface Returns farmland to nature, helping to restore ecosystem functions and services Controls vermin by using restaurant waste for methane generation No-cost restoration of ecosystems: The best reason to consider converting most food production to vertical farming is the promise of restoring ecosystem services and functions This belief stems, in part, from numerous anecdotal observations as to the current biological state of some territories that were once severely damaged either by now-extinct civilizations or over-farming, and, in part, from data derived from National Science Foundation-sponsored long-term ecological research program LTERbegun inon a wide variety of fragmented ecosystems purposely set aside subsequent to an extended period of encroachment The following case studies will serve to illustrate these points.
Deforestation of vast tracts of tropical rainforest throughout Mesoamerica took place over several thousand years It is estimated that there were as many as 50 million people living in this region, with some 17 million in Mexico, alone, when the conquistadores arrived in the s.
Re-forestation of deserted regions previously inhabited by pre-Colombian civilizations e. Regions that remained populated continued to suffer the ecological consequences of deforestation ibidbut in the abandoned areas the re-growth of the rainforests in some parts of Central America was so complete that by nearly all of the major ancient cities and monuments lying between Panama and southern Mexico had been canopied under them.
Today, archaeological expeditions routinely discover previously unknown settlements and the life and times of the peoples that lived there, but they are hard-won victories, accompanied by much difficulty in navigating the dense growth that protect these treasures of the past from open view.
New finds are now often aided by sophisticated remote sensing technologies Along the northern border of the Brazilian jungle live the Yanomami.
These people have never been conquered by European colonialists. Left to evolve on their own without interference from the outside, they have formed a series of loosely knit tribes that have developed shifting agricultural methods to live off the land, mostly by hunting bush meat and subsistence farming, without causing permanent damage to the environment in which they must live Their farming methods do not include fire as a forest clearing mechanism.
Instead, they cut down the trees, creating large open circles. Then they burn the trees to get enough minerals to fertilize the cleared zone. They farm the nutrient-poor soils for several years, raising sweet potatoes, plantains, sugar cane, and tobacco, and then they move on.
By the time the Yanomami return to the same farming locale, some years later, the area has re-grown to its former state. Without fire as a confounding factor, the Yanomami have achieved a rare a balance with the land in which crops are produced and forestland is repaired by a natural cycle that favors the survival of both sets of life forms.
Many other cultures living close to the land were not as fortunate as the Yanomami to have conceived and implemented sustainable relationships with their surroundings and have paid the ultimate price, that of extinction They attracted thousands of hopeful immigrants from the eastern United States and Europe to that area of the west.
Over the next 20 years, rainfall was above average and farming flourished. However, the next years saw some of the worst droughts in recorded history for that region. The result was a systematic erosion of millions of tons of topsoil The situation intensified from with increasingly devastating results The weather patterns had conspired to defeat these early settlers in their quest to re-shape the landscape into productive farmland.
Lesions learned, no one returned to the dust bowl region for some 15 years. During the intervening period, nurturing precipitation regimens returned, and the assemblages of wildlife long absent re-populated the region. Tall and short grasses re-built the soil enough to attract back the kit fox, antelope, prairie dog, and a wide variety of endemic birds and other support plants, reclaiming their niches and restoring the region to a mixed grasslands prairie.
Seeds of native plants that had lain dormant germinated and thrived when competition with cash crop species for limited resources ceased.
Following WWII, the area once again suffered ecological loss from the impacts of farming. This time that activity was supported by groundwater pumped from the Ogallala aquifer for irrigation of wheat, which requires additional water to achieve maximum yield 'Country Doctor' was an instant classic when first published in LIFE in , establishing W.
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