Friday, August 20, 2010


fFor a total change of pace, lets move to other prairies, not necessarily greener, but not your daily ration of gardening beyond the hole in dirt.

Earth may be the Ocean Planet, but most terrestrial creatures-including humans-depend for food on plants irrigated by freshwater from rainfall, rivers, lakes, springs and streams.  None of the top five plants eaten by people-wheat, corn, rice, potatoes and soybeans-can tolerate salt: expose them to sea water, and they droop, shrivel and die within days.

One of the most urgent global problems is finding enough water and land to support the world's food needs. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that an additional 200 million hectares(494.2 million acres) of new cropland-an area the size of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Idaho,
Wyoming and Montana combined-will be needed  over the next 30 years just to feed the burgeoning populations of the tropics and subtropics.  Yet only 93 million hectares are available in these nations for farms to expand-and much of that land is forested and should be preserved.  Clearly we need alternative sources of water and land on which to grow crops. 

With help from our colleagues, we have tested the feasibility of seawater agriculture and have found that it works well in the sandy soils of desert environments.  Seawater agriculture is defined as growing salt-tolerant crops on land using water pumped from the ocean for irrigation.  There is no shortage of sea water. 97 percent of the water on earth is in the oceans.  Desert land is also plentiful:43 percent of the earth's total land surface is arid or semiarid, but only a small fraction is close enough to the sea to make seawater farming feasible.  We estimate that 15 percent of undeveloped land in the world's coastal and inland salt deserts could be suitable for growing crops using saltwater agriculture.  

To be continued... If you can not wait check the link, this article is only 12 years old. Apaga i vamonoh.

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