Human use of the landscape and resources to produce food and fiber has impacts on a variety of other ecosystem services: regulating services such as waste decomposition, water quality, soil formation, and nutrient cycling; habitat preservation for wildlife species including pollinators and plants that attract other beneficial insects. Centuries of human modification of the land to produce an ever-increasing abundance of food and fiber for human consumption have led to an array of ecological consequences that threaten to undermine many important natural processes necessary for continued functioning of the earth's biophysical systems.
Paradoxically, the alarming evidence of the deterioration of the natural environment – in large part a consequence of human agriculture – leads to an emerging new conception of agriculture in which it serves as a source of habitat conservation, preservation, and creation. There are indications of a shift from an industrial model of agriculture – which depends on fossil fuel-based inputs, creates an assortment of waste streams that pollute air, land, and water, and engages in practices that alter natural landscape and destroy soil, habitat and biodiversity – to a more eco-friendly model that consumes far less fossil-fuel energy, produces much less harmful residual materials, and implements farm management practices that impose less damage to natural habitat and soil.
Due to economic and environmental forces at work in the larger society, regional resource trends, local cultural and political factors, and availability of new information and increased understanding of the threats to wildlife habitat from traditional agricultural practices, portions of the agricultural enterprise that is the dominant economic activity in Yolo County, California, appear to be adopting more wildlife- and habitat-friendly farming practices. Examination of the extent, causes, and consequences of changes in agricultural practices in Yolo County will allow characterization of such changes and will create a baseline for future analysis of the trajectory along which agricultural practice in this locale is moving. Such an analysis may have implications for other communities that are struggling with similar efforts to incorporate a more sustainable vision into their futures.
|Advisor:||Elliott-Fisk, Deborah L.|
|Commitee:||Greco, Steven E., Gutstein, Joyce|
|School:||University of California, Davis|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Geography, Agriculture, Natural Resource Management, Sustainability|
|Keywords:||Biodiversity, Conservation, Ecoagriculture, Farmers, Habitat-friendly, Ranchers|
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