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Natural resources and land use

Natural resources and land use
Main article: Natural resource

The Earth provides resources that are exploitable by humans for useful purposes. Some of these are non-renewable resources, such as mineral fuels, that are difficult to replenish on a short time scale.

Large deposits of fossil fuels are obtained from the Earth's crust, consisting of coal, petroleum, natural gas and methane clathrate. These deposits are used by humans both for energy production and as feedstock for chemical production. Mineral ore bodies have also been formed in Earth's crust through a process of Ore genesis, resulting from actions of erosion and plate tectonics.[142] These bodies form concentrated sources for many metals and other useful elements.

The Earth's biosphere produces many useful biological products for humans, including (but far from limited to) food, wood, pharmaceuticals, oxygen, and the recycling of many organic wastes. The land-based ecosystem depends upon topsoil and fresh water, and the oceanic ecosystem depends upon dissolved nutrients washed down from the land.[143] Humans also live on the land by using building materials to construct shelters. In 1993, human use of land is approximately:
Land use Percentage
Arable land 13.13%[10]
Permanent crops 4.71%[10]
Permanent pastures 26%
Forests and woodland 32%
Urban areas 1.5%
Other 30%


The estimated amount of irrigated land in 1993 was 2,481,250 km2.[10]

Natural and environmental hazards



Natural and environmental hazards that the Earth are Facing

Large areas are subject to extreme weather such as tropical cyclones, hurricanes, or typhoons that dominate life in those areas. Many places are subject to earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, sinkholes, blizzards, floods, droughts, and other calamities and disasters.

Many localized areas are subject to human-made pollution of the air and water, acid rain and toxic substances, loss of vegetation (overgrazing, deforestation, desertification), loss of wildlife, species extinction, soil degradation, soil depletion, erosion, and introduction of invasive species.

According to the United Nations, a scientific consensus exists linking human activities to global warming due to industrial carbon dioxide emissions. This is predicted to produce changes such as the melting of glaciers and ice sheets, more extreme temperature ranges, significant changes in weather and a global rise in average sea levels.[144]
[edit] Human geography
Main article: Human geography
See also: World




Cartography, the study and practice of map making, and vicariously geography, have historically been the disciplines devoted to depicting the Earth. Surveying, the determination of locations and distances, and to a lesser extent navigation, the determination of position and direction, have developed alongside cartography and geography, providing and suitably quantifying the requisite information.

Earth has approximately 6,803,000,000 human inhabitants as of December 12, 2009.[145] Projections indicate that the world's human population will reach seven billion in 2013 and 9.2 billion in 2050.[146] Most of the growth is expected to take place in developing nations. Human population density varies widely around the world, but a majority live in Asia. By 2020, 60% of the world's population is expected to be living in urban, rather than rural, areas.[147]

It is estimated that only one-eighth of the surface of the Earth is suitable for humans to live on—three-quarters is covered by oceans, and half of the land area is either desert (14%),[148] high mountains (27%),[149] or other less suitable terrain. The northernmost permanent settlement in the world is Alert, on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada.[150] (82°28′N) The southernmost is the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, in Antarctica, almost exactly at the South Pole. (90°S)

The Earth at night, a composite of DMSP/OLS ground illumination data on a simulated night-time image of the world. This image is not photographic and many features are brighter than they would appear to a direct observer.

Independent sovereign nations claim the planet's entire land surface, except for some parts of Antarctica and the odd unclaimed area of Bir Tawil between Egypt and Sudan. As of 2007 there are 201 sovereign states, including the 192 United Nations member states. In addition, there are 59 dependent territories, and a number of autonomous areas, territories under dispute and other entities.[10] Historically, Earth has never had a sovereign government with authority over the entire globe, although a number of nation-states have striven for world domination and failed.[151]

The United Nations is a worldwide intergovernmental organization that was created with the goal of intervening in the disputes between nations, thereby avoiding armed conflict.[152] It is not, however, a world government. The U.N. serves primarily as a forum for international diplomacy and international law. When the consensus of the membership permits, it provides a mechanism for armed intervention.[153]

The first human to orbit the Earth was Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961.[154] In total, about 400 people visited outer space and reached Earth orbit as of 2004, and, of these, twelve have walked on the Moon.[155][156][157] Normally the only humans in space are those on the International Space Station. The station's crew, currently six people, is usually replaced every six months.[158] Humans traveled the farthest from the planet in 1970, when the Apollo 13 crew was 400,171 km away from Earth.[159][160]

History of our planet,the Earth...



This article is about the planet. For global human civilization, see World. For other uses, see Earth (disambiguation).
Earth
"Blue Marble" photograph of Earth, taken from Apollo 17
Earth (or the Earth) is the third planet from the Sun, and the fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest and densest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets. It is sometimes referred to as the World, the Blue Planet,[note 3] or by its Latin name, Terra.[note 4]

Home to millions of species[16] including humans, Earth is the only place in the universe where life is known to exist. The planet formed 4.54 billion years ago,[17] and life appeared on its surface within a billion years. Since then, Earth's biosphere has significantly altered the atmosphere and other abiotic conditions on the planet, enabling the proliferation of aerobic organisms as well as the formation of the ozone layer which, together with Earth's magnetic field, blocks harmful solar radiation, permitting life on land.[18] The physical properties of the Earth, as well as its geological history and orbit, have allowed life to persist during this period. Without intervention, the planet could be expected to continue supporting life for between 0.5 [19] to 2.3 billion[20] years, after which the rising luminosity and expansion of the Sun – as a result of the gradual but inexorable depletion of its hydrogen fuel – would eventually eliminate the planet's biosphere.[21]

Earth's outer surface is divided into several rigid segments, or tectonic plates, that gradually migrate across the surface over periods of many millions of years. About 71% of the surface is covered with salt water oceans, the remainder consisting of continents and islands, most of which have lakes or marshes. Liquid water, necessary for all known life, is not known to exist on any other planet's surface.[note 5][note 6] Earth's poles are mostly covered with solid ice (Antarctic ice sheet) or sea ice (Arctic ice cap). The planet's interior remains active, with a thick layer of relatively solid mantle, a liquid outer core that generates a magnetic field, and a solid iron inner core.

Earth interacts with other objects in space, including the Sun and the Moon. At present, Earth orbits the Sun once for every roughly 366.26 times it rotates about its axis. This is a sidereal year, which is equal to 365.26 solar days.[note 7] The Earth's axis of rotation is tilted 23.4° away from the perpendicular to its orbital plane,[22] producing seasonal variations on the planet's surface with a period of one tropical year (365.24 solar days). Earth's only known natural satellite, the Moon, which initiated its terrestrial orbit approximately 4.53 billion years ago, provides ocean tides, stabilizes the axial tilt and gradually slows the planet's rotation. Between approximately 3.8 billion and 4.1 billion years ago, numerous asteroid impacts during the Late Heavy Bombardment caused significant changes to the greater surface environment.

Both the mineral resources of the planet, as well as the products of the biosphere, contribute resources that are used to support a global human population. These inhabitants are grouped into about 195 independent sovereign states, which interact through diplomacy, travel, trade, and military action. Human cultures have developed many views of the planet, including personification as a deity, a belief in a flat Earth or in Earth as the center of the universe, and a modern perspective of the world as an integrated environment which requires mass nurturing and stewardship.

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Precision Farming Using GIS Technology
Precision Agriculture

EXAMPLES OF CROP FARMING By Using PRECISION FARMING NEW TECHNOLOGY

EXAMPLES OF CROP FARMING By Using PRECISION FARMING NEW TECHNOLOGY


Using PRECISION FARMING for Whaeat in Egypt
Site-specific information technologies help wheat farmers make decisions to improve nitrogen (NPK) fertilizer efficiency. Various information technologies, as well as farm and farmer characteristics, could affect fertilizer decisions differently. Knowing these differences could assist the targeting of specific groups of farmers for the adoption of various site-specific information technologies to improve NPK fertilizer efficiency and reduce negative environmental impacts. Ordered logit analysis was used to identify the information technologies and farm and farmer characteristics that influence the importance farmers place on precision farming (PF) technologies in improving the efficiency of NPK fertilization of wheat

Rice in kafr El-Sheikh, Egypt by Using PRECISION FARMING
Paddy rice is a very intensive crop, in terms of both inputs and labors. The fields are relatively small (less than 1ha.), flood irrigated and highly productive (6-7 t/ha). Most managers are also owners and know their fields intimately. African culture has a high regard for technology and most farms are already highly mechanized. Yield maps can be produced by fitting DGPS and yield monitors to the small efficient, head feeding combines. The optimum size for the treatment unit may be the current field or it may prove to be something smaller. Treatment maps can be implemented by applying spatially variable controllers to existing equipment. As the Egyptian farmer operates within a protected market (getting five times the world price for the rice), the main driver for PF is environmental protection.

Increasing Dates production in siwa oasis, Egypt as a result of Using PRECISION FARMING
Dates are a high value, culturally important crop in many Arab countries. Many date groves are well established and, like wheat, are highly structured. Once the trees have been surveyed and uniquely labeled, yield maps could be produced by recording the amount and quality of dates from each tree. Again, no extra cost is incurred apart from recording this information at the time of harvest. Treatment areas could well be blocks and performance of individual trees could be monitored. Traditionally, fertilizer is applied by hand and can therefore be easily adapted to being varied spatially. A special consideration is that there are consistent labor shortages due to the dangers involved in climbing the trees and the cultural importance of the dates may outweigh the economics.

Benefits of Precision agricultural engineering

Benefits of Precision agricultural engineering

Precision agricultural makes use of information technologies in agriculture. With the satellite positioning system and electronic communication standards, position and time may be integrated into all procedures connected to farming. Today, precision farming (PF) is primarily geared towards site-specific application of fertilizers with the resulting cost advantages being quite small. Thus, precision farming will likely gain in importance only when viable additional benefits, such as reduced environmental burdens and increased flow of information, are recognized and evaluated and become part of the reward itself.

The remote sensing and photogrammetric techniques, combined to the GIS capabilities, enabled us to develop a large database of geomorphological features, retaining the best accuracy and flexibility. Even through fieldwork, GPS equipment was ensuring high accuracy positioning and GIS data entry.

Yield maps, however, were not a useful basis for determining a variable nitrogen application strategy. It was shown that the spatial variation in canopy development with a field can be effectively determined using aerial digital photography for ‘real-time’ management.

As a result of using precision farming by making more informed management decisions and improving input allocation, farmers can become more efficient, lower production costs, and, potentially, increase profits. However, little is currently known about how farmers use PF technologies to support managerial decision making, or about the relative magnitude of benefits and costs of PF technologies on individual farms. Additional research on PF technology is needed to assist the agricultural community in finding answers to questions surrounding the adoption, uses, and the potential management benefits of PF technology.
In response to the question do you think that there are problems with the uptake of ICT in agriculture? 52.3% indicated in the affirmative (Gelb et al., 2001). When asked specifically about PF, 47.6% felt that this technology had unique characteristics that restricted adoption by farmers. Sixty percent of the countries in attendance had at least one representative who felt that there were characteristics unique to PF that restricted its adoption. When asked to identify those factors limiting the use of ICT by farmers, the factors suggested most frequently (in decreasing order of incidence) were cost of technology, too hard to use/unfriendly, no perceived economic or other benefits, do not understand the value of ICT, and lack of training.

Profitability of PF continues to be difficult to predict (Atherton et al., 1999). A study of nine field research sites by Swinton and Lowenberg-DeBoer (1998), found variable rate fertilizer application to be unprofitable on wheat and barley, sometimes profitable on corn, and profitable on sugarbeets. They concluded that because PF practices are site-specific, their profitability potential too is site-specific. Other studies have recognized that the profitability of PF depends heavily on the degree of spatial variability of soil attributes (e.g. soil types, fertility and organic matter) and yield response ( Roberts et al., 2000). These researchers conclude that economic returns of variable rate NPK application can only be determined on a field-by-field basis because returns depend on the specific attributes of each field.
Atherton et al., 1999. B.C. Atherton, M.T. Morgan, S.A. Shearer, T.S. Stombaugh and A.D. Ward , Site-specific farming: a perspective on information needs benefits and limitations. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 54 2 (1999), pp. 455–460.
Roberts et al., 2000. R.K. Roberts, B.C. English and S.B. Mahajanashetti , Evaluating the returns to variable rate nitrogen application. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 32 1 (2000), pp. 133–143.
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