• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Impact of Monoculture and the Removal of Hedgerows on the Environment.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Impact of Monoculture and the Removal of Hedgerows on the Environment Modern developments in agriculture have had far-reaching effects on both economics of farming and the environment. I am going to focus on a discussion of monoculture and removal of hedgerows, and the impact these actions have on the environment. Monoculture is the devotion of a crop to a single plant species year after year. Monoculture was designed to increase the productivity of farmland by growing only the best variety of crop, allowing more than one crop per year and reducing labour costs. Monoculture however is a threat to a part of our environment. Worldwide, monocultures have increased dramatically. Fields which in the past have had a number of crops growing, or the only crop had a high degree of genetic diversity, are now devoted to a single crop where there is no genetic variation. ...read more.

Middle

This is expensive and can pollute surrounding groundwater due to leaching. When rich nitrates reach the rivers, lakes etc. they cause eutrophication. Hedgerows have been a part of farmland since Anglo-Saxon times to mark boundaries and enclose livestock. Since the Second World War much hedgerow has been removed because of many reasons. Mixed farms have been converted to arable farms so hedgerows are not needed to contain animals. Hedgerows reduce space available for planted crops and their roots compete for nutrients in the soil; inter specific competition. Hedgerows harbour pests and are a reservoir for disease and weeds. The hedgerows also have to be maintained which costs money and takes time. Diverse hedgerows provide habitats for at least 30 species of trees and shrubs, 65 species of nesting birds, 1500 species of insects and 600 species of wildflowers. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore loss of topsoil causes loss of valuable nutrients. The hedgerows provide habitats for pollinating insects; so removing them can indirectly reduce the populations of other local plant species. Conclusion The importance of hedgerows is now being recognised, and farmers can now receive grants to plant hedgerows. However it takes hundreds of years for new hedgerows to mature and develop the same diversity as the old ones. Some farmers are now returning to traditional crop rotations, where different crops are grown in a field each year. This breaks the life cycles of pests (since their host is changing); improves soil texture (since different crops have different root structures and methods of cultivation); and can increase soil nitrogen (by planting nitrogen-fixing legumes). Diversity of crops above ground as well as diversity of soil life below ground provide protection against the weather, as well as outbreaks of diseases or insect pests. Sarah English ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Living Things in their Environment section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Living Things in their Environment essays

  1. What Factors are responsible for the success of Insects?

    These abilities enhance species survival, but wings also allow insects to reach new habitats by dispersal across a barrier resulting in speciation and hence diversification. The success of flying animals can also be seen in the vertebrates, where a similar parallel exists.

  2. How Do Fishing Methods Harm The Environment?

    The fish caught by cyanide fishing for aquarists can die in transit because of their drowsy effects of the cyanide. Fish are approximately one thousand more sensitive to cyanide than humans. As you can see this man is cyanide fishing, spraying cyanide on the coral.

  1. Soil erosion

    These include, grazing too many livestock (cattle/sheep) than the land can cope with, four wheel off road driving, the introduced European rabbit, which graze the vegetation right down to the top soil, and eat the seedlings, preventing any regenerate taking place.

  2. Estimating the population of non-grass plants on the school fields.

    I found the the calculator generates three digital numbers and I need four digital once. To solve this I rought the number generated in a line and toke thes figures in fours. This is the firs part of the numbers, the quardinates that did not suit the feild were just left out.

  1. An Investigation of the Diversity and Abundance of Ground Flora in Coppices of Different ...

    The growth of plant species may also be affected in case of high wind speeds in which the plant cannot tolerate. I expect this factor to be different in both coppices for the reason that being more trees in the old coppice, then this will therefore reduce wind speed.

  2. Human activities can impose far-reaching effects on the environment

    Soil organisms, flying insects - which may feed on the plants, and disease-causing pathogens are killed by pesticides. Thus, humans radically alter natural ecosystems to produce agro-systems. This alters the nature and number of plant and animal species, the flow of energy and the cycling of nutrients.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work