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With the environment deteriorating at an alarming rate, all agricultural practitioners should collectively transition towards sustainable agriculture practices. Sustainable practices inculcate environment preservation, economic well-being as well as social prosperity. These methods focusing on the long term are nothing but farming that reduces the use of chemicals, conserves energy, water, and other resources, is not too harsh on the ecosystems, and affects the GDP and quality of life of the farmers.
Permaculture is adopting a design system that inculcates the principles of nature into developing human settlements. These techniques include herb spirals, sheet mulching, no-till growth, etc. The main focus is on producing food in a smarter way to reduce waste and use resources efficiently, leading to improved production capacity. Permaculture practice can be applied to different areas such as local economies, energy resources, water supplies, and, most importantly, food production. It focuses on using crops such as fruit trees, nut trees, and shrubs to mimic how plants in a natural ecosystem would work.
The basis of this technique is growing different types of crops on the same fields in different seasons. This is the most significant and effective way of retaining the fertility of the soil. Crop rotation aids in the degeneration of the pests as growing different types of crops end the development cycle of problems. Due to this, there is a reduced need for pesticides, which improves soil health and replenishes plant nutrients. Planting the same crops makes the land more prone to erosion; crop rotation helps farmers negate this problem.
The philosophy behind Biodynamics is practicing holistic and ecological farming methods. The idea is that all living species on the farms should cultivate and support each other. It includes composting, animal manure application from farmed animals, cover cropping, or rotating complementary crops. One of the main ideas of Biodynamics are the high biodiversity of plants, animals, and beneficial insects.
This involves growing trees and shrubs on grazing land and in between crops. Agroforestry helps retain soil moisture and improve fertility. The trees grown reduce erosion during rains and winds. It combines agriculture and forestry practices for healthier land and produces, making farming sustainable. Trees have another vital role in maintaining the favorable temperature, stabilizing soils and soil humidity, minimizing nutrient runoff, and protecting crops from wind or heavy rain. Besides healthier food crops, agroforestry also increases the availability of wood and fruits, helping farmers diversify.
This is when multiple crops are grown in one field. The species chosen are often complementary; they aim at greater diversity while using the given resources efficiently. High biodiversity makes the environment more resistant to changes in weather, promotes a balanced diet, and applies natural techniques to preserve soil fertility. Simultaneously growing a diversity of crops maintains food security, reduces the need for chemical pesticides and herbicides, increases soil fertility, moisture retention, and nutrient content, Creates a self-sustainable ecosystem, and encourages pest management.
These are a few, of the most commonly used practices for sustainable agriculture, there are many more such as pest management, no-tillage farming, etc.BACK