Arable land (from the Latin : arabilis , "able to be ploughed") is any land capable of being ploughed and used to grow crops. Alternatively, for the purposes of agricultural statistics, the term often has a more precise definition:
Arable land is the land under temporary agricultural crops (multiple-cropped areas are counted only once), temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow (less than five years). The abandoned land resulting from shifting cultivation is not included in this category. Data for 'Arable land' are not meant to indicate the amount of land that is potentially cultivable.
A more concise definition appearing in the Eurostat glossary similarly refers to actual rather than potential uses: "land worked (ploughed or tilled) regularly, generally under a system of crop rotation".
In Britain, arable land has traditionally been contrasted with pasturable land such as heaths, which could be used for sheep-rearing but not as farmland.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in 2013, the world's arable land amounted to 1.407 billion hectares, out of a total of 4.924 billion hectares of land used for agriculture.
|Antigua and Barbuda||0.044|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||0.264|
|British Virgin Islands||0.034|
|Central African Republic||0.382|
|Congo, Dem. Rep.||0.098|
|Egypt, Arab Rep.||0.031|
|Hong Kong SAR, China||0.000|
|Iran, Islamic Rep.||0.193|
|Isle of Man||0.253|
|Korea, Dem. People's Rep.||0.094|
|Macao SAR, China|
|Micronesia, Fed. Sts.||0.019|
|Northern Mariana Islands||0.019|
|Papua New Guinea||0.041|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||0.048|
|Sint Maarten (Dutch part)|
|St. Kitts and Nevis||0.092|
|St. Martin (French part)|
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines||0.046|
|Syrian Arab Republic||0.241|
|Trinidad and Tobago||0.019|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||0.030|
|United Arab Emirates||0.004|
|Virgin Islands (US)||0.010|
|West Bank and Gaza||0.011|
This section needs additional citations for verification .(February 2014)
Agricultural land that is not arable according to the FAO definition above includes:
Other non-arable land includes land that is not suitable for any agricultural use. Land that is not arable, in the sense of lacking capability or suitability for cultivation for crop production, has one or more limitations –a lack of sufficient freshwater for irrigation, stoniness, steepness, adverse climate, excessive wetness with the impracticality of drainage, excessive salts, or a combination of these, among others. Although such limitations may preclude cultivation, and some will in some cases preclude any agricultural use, large areas unsuitable for cultivation may still be agriculturally productive. For example, United States NRCS statistics indicate that about 59 percent of US non-federal pasture and unforested rangeland is unsuitable for cultivation, yet such land has value for grazing of livestock. In British Columbia, Canada, 41 percent of the provincial Agricultural Land Reserve area is unsuitable for the production of cultivated crops, but is suitable for uncultivated production of forage usable by grazing livestock. Similar examples can be found in many rangeland areas elsewhere.
Land incapable of being cultivated for the production of crops can sometimes be converted to 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 non-arable land arable often involves digging new irrigation canals and new wells, aqueducts, 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 installing greenhouses with internal light and heat for protection against the cold outside and to provide light in cloudy areas. Such modifications are often prohibitively expensive. An alternative is the seawater greenhouse, which desalinates water through evaporation and condensation using solar energy as the only energy input. This technology is optimized to grow crops on desert land close to the sea.
The use of artifices does not make the land arable. Rock still remains rock, and shallow –less than 6 feet (1.8 metres) –turnable soil is still not considered toilable. The use of artifice is an open-air none recycled water hydroponics relationship.[ clarification needed ] The below described circumstances are not in perspective, have limited duration, and have a tendency to accumulate trace materials in soil that either there or elsewhere cause deoxygenation. The use of vast amounts of fertilizer may have unintended consequences for the environment by devastating rivers, waterways, and river endings through the accumulation of non-degradable toxins and nitrogen-bearing molecules that remove oxygen and cause non-aerobic processes to form.
Examples of infertile non-arable land being turned into fertile arable land include:
Examples of fertile arable land being turned into infertile land include:
Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs, sheep, goats, and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture.
Hydroponics is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydroculture which involves growing plants, usually crops or medicinal plants, without soil, by using water-based mineral nutrient solutions in aqueous solvents. Terrestrial or aquatic plants may grow with their roots exposed to the nutritious liquid or in addition, the roots may be mechanically supported by an inert medium such as perlite, gravel, or other substrates.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to agriculture:
Intensive agriculture, also known as intensive farming, conventional, or industrial agriculture, is a type of agriculture, both of crop plants and of animals, with higher levels of input and output per unit of agricultural land area. It is characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs such as capital and labour, and higher crop yields per unit land area.
The British Agricultural Revolution, or Second Agricultural Revolution, was an unprecedented increase in agricultural production in Britain arising from increases in labour and land productivity between the mid-17th and late 19th centuries. Agricultural output grew faster than the population over the hundred-year period ending in 1770, and thereafter productivity remained among the highest in the world. This increase in the food supply contributed to the rapid growth of population in England and Wales, from 5.5 million in 1700 to over 9 million by 1801, though domestic production gave way increasingly to food imports in the nineteenth century as the population more than tripled to over 35 million. Using 1700 as a base year (=100), agricultural output per agricultural worker in Britain steadily increased from about 50 in 1500, to around 65 in 1550, to 90 in 1600, to over 100 by 1650, to over 150 by 1750, rapidly increasing to over 250 by 1850. The rise in productivity accelerated the decline of the agricultural share of the labour force, adding to the urban workforce on which industrialization depended: the Agricultural Revolution has therefore been cited as a cause of the Industrial Revolution.
The open-field system was the prevalent agricultural system in much of Europe during the Middle Ages and lasted into the 20th century in Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Each manor or village had two or three large fields, usually several hundred acres each, which were divided into many narrow strips of land. The strips or selions were cultivated by peasants, often called tenants or serfs. The holdings of a manor also included woodland and pasture areas for common usage and fields belonging to the lord of the manor and the religious authorities, usually Roman Catholics in medieval Western Europe. The farmers customarily lived in separate houses in a nucleated village with a much larger manor house and church nearby. The open-field system necessitated co-operation among the residents of the manor.
Soil fertility refers to the ability of soil to sustain agricultural plant growth, i.e. to provide plant habitat and result in sustained and consistent yields of high quality. A fertile soil has the following properties:
Center pivot irrigation in Saudi Arabia is typical of many isolated irrigation projects scattered throughout the arid and hyper-arid regions of the Earth. Nonrenewable fossil water is mined from depths as great as 1 km (3,000 ft), pumped to the surface, and distributed via large center pivot irrigation feeds. The circles of green irrigated vegetation may comprise a variety of agricultural commodities from alfalfa to wheat. Diameters of the normally circular fields range from a few hundred meters to as much as 3 km (1.9 mi).
Pastoral farming is aimed at producing livestock, rather than growing crops. Examples include dairy farming, raising beef cattle, and raising sheep for wool. In contrast, arable farming concentrates on crops rather than livestock. Finally, mixed farming incorporates livestock and crops on a single farm. Some mixed farmers grow crops purely as fodder for their livestock; some crop farmers grow fodder and sell it. In some cases pastoral farmers are known as graziers, and in some cases pastoralists. Pastoral farming is a non-nomadic form of pastoralism in which the livestock farmer has some form of ownership of the land used, giving the farmer more economic incentive to improve the land. Unlike other pastoral systems, pastoral farmers are sedentary and do not change locations in search of fresh resources. Rather, pastoral farmers adjust their pastures to fit the needs of their animals. Improvements include drainage, stock tanks, irrigation and sowing clover.
Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers. It often incorporates controlled-environment agriculture, which aims to optimize plant growth, and soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics. Some common choices of structures to house vertical farming systems include buildings, shipping containers, tunnels, and abandoned mine shafts. As of 2020, there is the equivalent of about 30 ha of operational vertical farmland in the world.
The Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT) website disseminates statistical data collected and maintained by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAOSTAT data are provided as a time-series from 1961 in most domains for 245 countries in English, Spanish and French.
Agriculture in Central Asia provides a brief regional overview of agriculture in the five contiguous states of former Soviet Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Two other countries that are sometimes classified as Central Asian – Afghanistan and Mongolia – are included in this overview because of their substantially different background.
Intensive crop farming is a modern industrialized form of crop farming. Intensive crop farming's methods include innovation in agricultural machinery, farming methods, genetic engineering technology, techniques for achieving economies of scale in production, the creation of new markets for consumption, patent protection of genetic information, and global trade. These methods are widespread in developed nations.
Incan agriculture was the culmination of thousands of years of farming and herding in the high-elevation Andes mountains of South America, the coastal deserts, and the rainforests of the Amazon basin. These three radically different environments were all part of the Inca Empire and required different technologies for agriculture. Inca agriculture was also characterized by the variety of crops grown, the lack of a market system and money, and the unique mechanisms by which the Incas organized their society. Andean civilization was "pristine"—one of five civilizations worldwide which were indigenous and not derivative from other civilizations. Most Andean crops and domestic animals were likewise pristine—not known to other civilizations. Potatoes, tomatoes, chile peppers, and quinoa were among the many unique crops; Camelids and guinea pigs were the unique domesticated animals.
Agricultural land is typically land devoted to agriculture, the systematic and controlled use of other forms of life—particularly the rearing of livestock and production of crops—to produce food for humans. It is generally synonymous with both farmland or cropland, as well as pasture or rangeland.
Agriculture in Jordan contributed substantially to the economy at the time of Jordan's independence, but it subsequently suffered a decades-long steady decline. In the early 1950s, agriculture constituted almost 40 percent of GNP; on the eve of the Six-Day War, it was 17 percent.
Desert greening is the process of man-made reclamation of deserts for ecological reasons (biodiversity), farming and forestry, but also for reclamation of natural water systems and other ecological systems that support life. The term "desert greening" is intended to apply to both cold and hot arid and semi-arid deserts. It does not apply to ice capped or permafrost regions. Desert greening has the potential to help solve global water, energy, and food crises. It pertains to roughly 32 million square kilometres of land.
Soil management is the application of operations, practices, and treatments to protect soil and enhance its performance. It includes soil conservation, soil amendment, and optimal soil health. In agriculture, some amount of soil management is needed both in nonorganic and organic types to prevent agricultural land from becoming poorly productive over decades. Organic farming in particular emphasizes optimal soil management, because it uses soil health as the exclusive or nearly exclusive source of its fertilization and pest control.
Convertible husbandry, also known as alternate husbandry or up-and-down husbandry, is a method of farming whereby strips of arable farmland were temporarily converted into grass pasture, known as leys. These remained under grass for up to 10 years before being ploughed under again, while some eventually became permanent pasturage. It was a process used during the 16th century through the 19th century by "which a higher proportion of land was used to support increasing numbers of livestock in many parts of England." Its adoption was an important component of the British Agricultural Revolution.
This glossary of agriculture is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in agriculture, its sub-disciplines, and related fields. For other glossaries relevant to agricultural science, see Glossary of biology, Glossary of ecology, Glossary of environmental science, and Glossary of botany.