Agro ecology can be defined as the use of ecology to manage agriculture systems, including; ecological, economic and social factors. In order for this to be successful, the soils have to be fertile and well aerated. This aeration and soil fertility is due the presence of micro-organisms in the soil. There are various organisms and micro-organisms present in the soil.
Micro-organisms present in the soil have a variety of functions. One of the functions is helping in the breakdown of organic waste that makes up the humus of the soil, some are pathogenic.
Some also help in the fixation of nitrogen in the soil. In addition, the microorganisms breakdown and hold together in-organic compounds found in the soil thus, help in cleaning up the polluted soils. However, bigger organisms in the soil help in proper soil aeration and formation of a good soil structure hence, improving on the water retention abilities of the soil.
The humus formed by the microorganisms helps in the absorption of minerals by plants because of its soluble form and they increase the water retention ability of the soil. They also assist in stabilizing the soil ph and because of its dark color; they help in absorption of energy (Board of Agriculture 195).
Earthworms, beetles and termites facilitate to put dead organic matter into the soils by excretion of nutrients into the soils. Bacteria in the soils and root nodules of some plants aid in fixing of nitrogen in the earth. Fungi present help in the decomposition of the more resistant materials. Fungi thrive well in sandy, acidic soils and organic matters. The bigger organisms such as moles help in the turning of the soil by making tunnels and furrows in the ground.
Soil has a variety of functions in the ecosystem. They serve as a medium where plants grow and help in water filtration to the earth. In addition, it is a medium where heat, water and chemicals are absorbed. For the soil to be able to serve all it functions, soil productivity and quality is fundamental.
This is important because of the use of soil in the regulation of water flow in lakes and rivers, control of greenhouse effects and maintenance of air and water quality. Soil quality can be degraded due to many factors hence altering the proper functioning of the soil. Soil is degraded through soil erosion, acidification, pollution, and compaction, accumulation of sodium and loss of biological activities in the soils.
All these activities that degrade the soil can be protected by proper soil management methods that do not only focus on improving the soil productivity but’ also on improving the quality of soil. There are various farming methods that help improve the soil quality, by increasing the organic matter through crop rotations, manure application and, the correct and controlled use of farming chemicals, agriculture machinery and other farming systems.
A variety of farming methods affect the soil quality positively or negatively. Most environmental pollutions are caused by the over use of chemicals in farming. Most of the people around, use chemical based convectional farming methods that are based on application of chemicals and fertilizers.
This is done due to nutrient deficiency in crops on a field and application of pesticides when crops show signs of attacks by disease or insects. This over dependence on chemicals in farming has made people forget the factor that all living things are interdependent. Farmers all over the world have lost sight of the possible natural cycles and principles that can provide the plants with a lot of nutrients and help in suppressing the pathogenic insects and diseases (Teuro, 2).
To improve the quality of soil in the fields, there has to be a shift from chemical based convectional farming towards organic alternative low input farming or natural farming. Agro ecology tries to make a good transition by trying to control the micro-organisms present in the soil those that either, directly or indirectly affect the growth of crops.
In conclusion, a crop like the pumpkins grows in the Pacific Northwest. Since agro ecology is a holistic approach to agriculture systems based on the natural farming methods, that inter relates all factors of the environment, pumpkins are well favored by the soils in that part. Agro ecology helps in soil management by improving both the soil quality and soil productivity. Pumpkins are therefore well grown as a food in that part of the world. The effects of agro ecology in the pacific, is a good condition to the plant..
Board of Agriculture. “Soil And Water Quality: An Agenda For Agriculture. USA.” National Academy Press. USA. 1993. 184-197.
Teuro, Higo.” Effective Microorganisms: A New Dimension For Nature Farming.”Japan University of the Ryukyus.Japan.1997.2-8.