Paraquat and sustainable agriculture

Paraquat and sustainable agriculture

Description

Management and conservation of the natural resource base and the use of technological and organizational change in a manner that ensures continued agricultural production from the land for present and future generations. Such practices conserve land, water, and plant and animal genetic resources. They are environmentally non-degrading, technically appropriate, economically viable, and socially acceptable. Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Therefore, stewardship of both natural and human resources is of prime importance.

Authoritative On-line References and Resources

www.nal.usda.gov Information from the USDA's Alternative Agricultural Systems Information Center.
, by Richard H. Bromilow
In his paper “Paraquat and sustainable agriculture,” author Richard H. Bromilow studies the role paraquat plays in supporting sustainable agriculture around the world. Abstract: Sustainable agriculture is essential for man's survival, especially given our rapidly increasing population. Expansion of agriculture into remaining areas of natural vegetation is undesirable, as this would reduce biodiversity

Description

The variety of life in all its forms, levels and combinations. Includes ecosystem diversity, species diversity, and genetic diversity (IUCN, UNEP and WWF, 1991).

Authoritative On-line References and Resources

http://earthtrends.wri.org/ EarthTrends is a comprehensive online database, maintained by the World Resources Institute, that focuses on environmental, social, and economic trends. Statistics on biodiversity indicators are available.
on the planet. Maintaining or indeed improving crop yields on existing farmed land, whether on a smallholder scale or on larger farms, is thus necessary.
One of the limiting factors is often weed control; biological control of weeds is generally of limited use and mechanical control is either often difficult with machinery or very laborious by hand. Thus the use of herbicides has become very important. Minimum cultivation can also be important, as it reduces the power required to work the soil, limits erosion and helps to maintain the organic matter content of the soil. This last aspect helps preserve both the structure of soil and its populations of organisms, and also sustains the Earth's soil as a massive sink for carbon, an important consideration in the light of global warming. The introduction of the bipyridinium herbicide paraquat in the early 1960s greatly facilitated weed control in many crops. Paraquat has the unusual property of being active only by direct spray onto plants and not by uptake from soil in which strong binding deactivates it. Together with its rapid action in light in killing green plant tissue, such properties allow paraquat to be used in many crops, including those grown by low-tillage methods. This paper reviews the ways in which agricultural systems have been and are being developed to make use of these properties, and provides a risk/benefit analysis of the world-wide use of paraquat over nearly 40 years. Copyright © 2004 Society of Chemical Industry Click here to read full paper.