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Encyclopedia > Arable land
Modern arable agriculture typically uses large fields like this one in Dorset, England.
Modern arable agriculture typically uses large fields like this one in Dorset, England.
Percentage of arable land by country, from CIA figures
Percentage of arable land by country, from CIA figures

In geography, arable land (from Latin arare, to plough) is a form of agricultural land use, meaning land that can be (and is) used for growing crops. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... A green field or paddock In agriculture, a field refers generally to an area of land enclosed or otherwise and used for agricultural purposes such as: Cultivating crops Usage as a paddock or generally an enclosure of livestock Land left to lie fallow or as arable land See also Pasture... For other uses, see Dorset (disambiguation). ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1357x628, 52 KB) [edit] Summary Arable land percentage by country, as listed on CIA factbook, accessed June 2006. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1357x628, 52 KB) [edit] Summary Arable land percentage by country, as listed on CIA factbook, accessed June 2006. ... The World Factbook is an annual publication by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States with basic almanac-style information about the various countries of the world. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... It has been suggested that Mouldboard Plough be merged into this article or section. ... Land use is the pattern of construction and activity land is used for. ... In economics, land comprises all naturally occurring resources, such as geographical locations, mineral deposits, and even portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. ... Agriculture (a term which encompasses farming) is the art, science or practice of producing food, feed, fiber and many other desired goods by the systematic raising of plants and animals. ...


Of the earth's 57 million square miles (148,000,000 km²) of land, approximately 12 million square miles[citation needed] (31,000,000 km²) are arable; however, arable land is being lost at the rate of over 100,000 km² (38,610 square miles) per year[citation needed].


Most of the arable land on earth is around the largest rivers on earth;[citation needed] for example, the Nile River, the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the Yellow River, the Amazon River, the Ganges and the Rhine River. These rivers flood regularly, overspilling their banks.[citation needed] When the flood is over, the rivers recede, leaving behind rich silt. This silt is excellent fertilizer for crops. Even if the land is overfarmed, and all the nutrients are depleted from the soil, the land renews its fertility when the next flood comes. Thus, flood control projects such as levees may increase human comfort, but cause substantial adverse impact to the quantity and quality of arable land[citation needed]. The Nile (Arabic: النيل an-nÄ«l, Egyptian iteru) is a river in Africa, often regarded as the longest river on Earth, although some sources claim the Amazon in South America is longer. ... The Tigris River (Arabic: دجلة Dijla, Hebrew: חדקל ḥiddeqel, Kurdish: Dîjle, Pahlavi: Tigr, Old Persian: Tigrā-, Syriac: ܕܩܠܬ Deqlath, Turkish: Dicle, Akkadian: Idiqlat) is the eastern member of the pair of great rivers that define Mesopotamia, along with the Euphrates, which flows from the mountains of Anatolia through Iraq (the name Mesopotamia... The Euphrates (the traditional Greek name, Arabic: الفرات; Al-Furat, Hebrew: פְּרָת Perath, Kurdish: Firat, Turkish: Fırat, Old Persian: Ufrat, Syriac: ܦܪܘܬ or ܦܪܬ; Frot or Prâth, Akkadian: Pu-rat-tu) is the westernmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia (the other being the Tigris). ... For other Yellow Rivers, see Yellow River (disambiguation). ... A satellite image of the mouth of the Amazon River, looking south The Amazon River or River Amazon; Spanish: Río Amazonas, Portuguese: Rio Amazonas) of South America is the second largest, most voluminous river on earth, having a greater total flow than the next six largest rivers combined. ... Early morning on the Ganges The River Ganges (Ganga in Indian languages) (Devanagiri गंगा) is a major river in northern India. ... Loreley At 1,320 kilometres (820 miles) and an average discharge of more than 2,000 cubic meters per second, the Rhine (Dutch Rijn, French Rhin, German Rhein, Italian: Reno, Romansch: Rein, ) is one of the longest and most important rivers in Europe. ... Silt refers to soil or rock particles of a certain very small size range (see grain size). ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... // Nutrients and the body A nutrient is any element or compound necessary for or contributing to an organisms metabolism, growth, or other functioning. ... A flood (in Old English flod, a word common to Teutonic languages; compare German Flut, Dutch vloed from the same root as is seen in flow, float) is an overflow of water, an expanse of water submerging land, a deluge. ... A levee, levée (from the feminine past participle of the French verb lever, to raise), floodbank or stopbank is a natural or artificial embankment or dike, usually earthen, which parallels the course of a river. ...

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Unarable land

On unarable land, farming is not possible. Unarable land usually has at least one of the following defiencies: no source of fresh water; too hot (desert); too cold (arctic); too rocky; too mountainous; too salty; too rainy; too snowy; too polluted; or too nutrient poor. Clouds may block the sunlight plants need for photosynthesis (making sunlight into food), reducing productivity. Plants can starve without light. Starvation and nomadism often exists on marginally arable land. Unarable land is sometimes called 'wastes', 'badlands', 'worthless' or 'no man's land'. The leaf is the primary site of photosynthesis in plants. ... A female child during the Nigerian-Biafran war of the late 1960s, shown suffering the effects of severe hunger and malnutrition. ... Kazakh nomads in the steppes of the Russian Empire, ca. ...


In rare cases, unarable land can be converted into arable land. New arable land makes more food, and can reduce starvation. This outcome also makes a country more self-sufficient and politically independent, because food importation is reduced. Making unarable land arable often involves digging new irrigation canals and new wells, aquaducts, desalination plants, planting trees for shade in the desert, hydroponics, fertilizer, nitrogen fertilizer, pesticides, reverse osmosis water processors, PET film insulation or other insulation against heat and cold, digging ditches and hills for protection against the wind, and greenhouses with internal light and heat for protection against the cold outside and to provide light in cloudy areas. This process is often extremely expensive. A female child during the Nigerian-Biafran war of the late 1960s, shown suffering the effects of severe hunger and malnutrition. ... Autonomy is the condition of something that does not depend on anything else. ... Desalination or desalinization refers to any of several processes that remove the excess salt and other minerals from water in order to obtain fresh water suitable for animal consumption or irrigation, and if almost all of the salt is removed, for human consumption, sometimes producing table salt as a by... Hydroponics is the growing of plants without soil. ... A cropduster spreading pesticide. ... The term reverse osmosis comes from the process of osmosis, the natural movement of solvent from an area of low solute concentration, through a membrane, to an area of high solute concentration if no external pressure is applied. ... Biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate (boPET) polyester film is used for its high tensile strength, chemical and dimensional stability, transparency, gas and aroma barrier properties and electrical insulation. ...


Some examples of infertile unarable land being turned into fertile arable land are:

  • Aran Island: This island off the west coast of Ireland, (not to be confused with the Isle of Arran in Scotland's Firth of Clyde), was unarable because it was too rocky. The people covered the island with a shallow layer of seaweed and sand from the ocean. This made it arable. Today, crops are grown there.[citation needed]
  • Israel: Israel was mostly unarable desert until desalination plants were built on the coast.[citation needed] The plants turn salt water into fresh water for farming, drinking, and washing. They created their own large fresh water source.

Some examples of fertile arable land being turned into infertile unarable land are: Arran shown within Argyll The Isle of Arran (Scots Gaelic: Eilean Arainn) is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde (430 km2). ... Motto: (Latin for No one provokes me with impunity)1 Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official language(s) English, Gaelic, Scots2 Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen of the UK Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair MP  - First Minister Jack McConnell MSP Unification    - by... Map of the Firth of Clyde and area The Firth of Clyde forms a large area of coastal water, sheltered from the Atlantic ocean by the Kintyre peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, Scotland. ... Desalination or desalinization refers to any of several processes that remove the excess salt and other minerals from water in order to obtain fresh water suitable for animal consumption or irrigation, and if almost all of the salt is removed, for human consumption, sometimes producing table salt as a by...

  • Droughts like the 'dust bowl' of the Great Depression in the U.S. turned farmland into desert.
  • Rainforest Deforestation: The fertile tropical forests turn into infertile desert land. For example, Madagascar's central highland plateau has become virtually totally barren (about ten percent of the country), as a result of slash-and-burn deforestation, an element of shifting cultivation practised by many natives.
  • Romans' destruction of Carthage: At the end of the Punic Wars, legend has it that the victorious Romans sowed the earth with salt, to symbolize total victory. The Roman symbol meant that Carthage would never grow back - their civilization ended. (Whether this actually happened is debatable due to the logistics involved. Salt was very valuable and was used as money at the time, and it would have taken a lot of salt to ruin the whole area.) Crops won't generally grow in highly saline soil. This is why salt water from the ocean can't be used to water crops.
  • Each year more arable land is lost to desertification and erosion from human industrial activities. Improper irrigation of farm land can wick the sodium, calcium, and magnesium from the soil and water to the surface. This process steadily concentrates salt in the root zone, decreasing productivity for crops that are not salt-tolerant.
  • Urban sprawl: In the United States, about 2.2 million acres (8,900 km²) of land was added to urban areas between 1992 and 2002, much of it farm land now paved.
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Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas, in 1935. ... The Great Depression redirects here. ... The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia. ... Assarting in Finland in 1892 Slash and burn (a specific practice that may be part of shifting cultivation or swidden-fallow agriculture) is an agricultural procedure widely used in forested areas. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Slash and burn. ... This article is becoming very long. ... Ruins of Carthage Carthaginian settlements in the western Mediterranean in the early 3rd century BC. The term Carthage refers both to an ancient city in North Africa — located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the center of modern Tunis in Tunisia — and to the civilization which developed... History -- Military History -- War The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and the Phoenician city of Carthage. ... Salting the earth refers to the practice of spreading salt on fields to make them incapable of being used for crop-growing. ... Ruins of Carthage Carthaginian settlements in the western Mediterranean in the early 3rd century BC. The term Carthage refers both to an ancient city in North Africa — located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the center of modern Tunis in Tunisia — and to the civilization which developed... Severe soil erosion in a wheat field near Washington State University, USA. Erosion is the displacement of solids (soil, mud, rock and other particles) by the agents of wind, water or ice, by downward or down-slope movement in response to gravity or by living organisms (in the case of... General Name, Symbol, Number sodium, Na, 11 Chemical series alkali metals Group, Period, Block 1, 3, s Appearance silvery white Atomic mass 22. ... General Name, Symbol, Number calcium, Ca, 20 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, Period, Block 2, 4, s Appearance silvery white Atomic mass 40. ... General Name, Symbol, Number magnesium, Mg, 12 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, Period, Block 2, 3, s Appearance silvery white Atomic mass 24. ... Urban sprawl (also: suburban sprawl), a term with pejorative implication, refers to the rapid and expansive growth of a greater metropolitan area, traditionally suburbs (or exurbs) over a large area. ...

See also

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This page aims to list articles related to the natural environment. ... Fertile soil or Soil fertility is soil that can support abundant plant life, in particular the term is used to describe agricultural and garden soil. ...

References

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    External links

    • Surface Area of the Earth
    • Conserving Land: Population and Sustainable Food Production

      Results from FactBites:
     
    Brownfield land - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (736 words)
    In city planning, brownfield land (or simply a brownfield) is land previously used for industrial purposes, or certain commercial uses, and that may be contaminated by hazardous waste or pollution.
    Some governments restrict development of such land to particular uses in order to minimize exposure to contamination, others legally require that such areas are reused for housing or for new commercial use in order not to destroy further arable land.
    Contaminated land is dealt as a separate issue, both through the development control system (concerned to ensure contaminated land is made suitable for its new use) and by Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (which looks at land in the context of its current use).
    Arable land - definition of Arable land in Encyclopedia (613 words)
    In geography, arable land is a form of agricultural land use, meaning land that can be (and is) used for growing crops.
    Even if the land is overfarmed, and all the nutrients are depleted from the soil, the land renews its fertility when the next flood comes.
    Each year more arable land is lost to desertification and erosion from human industrial activities.
      More results at FactBites »

     
     

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