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TOPIC: MEANING AND IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTUAL ECOLOGY
CLASS: S. S. 1
SUB TOPIC: MEANING OF AGRICULTURE ECOLOGY AND ECO-SYSTEM
The goal of agriculture is to provide food for the nation.
The business of agriculture is carried out within the ecosystem.
Therefore, the environment is very important because it constitutes all the physical surrounding around us. All the living organisms that have been domesticated by man in agriculture are all the components of the environment.
These domesticated plant and animal species interact together in the environment to form the agro-ecological system.
Meaning of Agro-ecology and Ecosystem
Ecology is the study of the relationship between organisms and their environment. The study of an individual organisms or a single species is termed autecology while the study of groups of organisms is called synecology. Human activities have interfered with the complex ecological relationships. Such human activities include agricultural activities like:
- Large scale farming that involves the use of pesticides, herbicide, insecticides etc.
- Expansive land clearing
- Oil exploration.
These have seriously disturbed the natural balance in the ecosystems.
Agricultural ecology is the study of agricultural ecosystems and their biotic and abiotic components as they function within themselves and in the context of the landscapes that contain them.
Application of this knowledge can lead to development of more sustainable agricultural ecosystems that are in harmony with their larger ecosystem and eco-region.
COMPONENTS OF FARM ECOSYSTEM
The agricultural ecosystem is made up of both living (biotic) and non living (abiotic) component and together they constitute the ecosystem structure.
The non-living matter constitutes the abiotic factors while the different living organisms such as the plants and animals in their environment are called the biotic factors.
The abiotic factors are also known as the physical factors of the environment and they consist of: (i) The climatic factors (ii) The physiographic factors (land shape form) (iii) The edaphic (soil) factors.
- The climate is made up to the weather factors such as the rainfall, humidity temperature wind and sunshine as they affect the living components.
- The physiographic factors consist of the topography and other features that relate to the shape
- Bush burning
- Clean clearing
- Grazing/ over grazing
BIOTIC COMPONENT OF THE ECOSYSTEM
The biotic or the living components of the ecosystem are divided into two categories (i) The autotrophs (ii) The heterotrophs
AUTOTROPHS (Food Producers)
These are the organisms that are capable of synthesizing their own food from in organic material such as nitrogen phosphorus and potassium taken from the medium in which they grow whether soil or water using the solar energy from the sun by a process known as photosynthesis.
Autotrophs are self-feeding or self-sustaining members of the ecosystem. They synthesize complex organic compounds such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats from simple inorganic molecules with the help of sunlight energy or by inorganic chemical reactions (chemosynthesis). This phenomena is referred to as autotorphism depending on the method by which they synthesis their food autotrophs are further classified into two categories (i) Phototrophs (ii) Chemoautotrophs.
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