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arable land
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{{short description|Land capable of being ploughed and used to grow crops}}{{Use dmy dates|date=September 2018}}File:040719 172 dorset marnhull2.jpg|upright=1.25|thumb|Modern mechanised agriculture permits large fields like this one in DorsetDorsetArable land (from Latin (wikt:arabilis#Latin|arabilis), "able to be plowed") is, according to one definition, land capable of being ploughed and used to grow crops.Oxford English Dictionary, {{nowrap|3rd ed.}} "arable, adj. and n." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2013. In Britain, it was traditionally contrasted with pasturable land such as heaths which could be used for sheep-rearing but not farmland.A quite different kind of definition is used by various agencies concerned with agriculture. In providing statistics on arable land, the FAO and the World BankThe World Bank. Agricultural land (% of land area)weblink {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20150517075041weblink |date=17 May 2015 }} use the definition offered in the glossary accompanying FAOSTAT: "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."FAOSTAT. [Statistical database of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations] Glossary. weblink {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20150601235945weblink |date=1 June 2015 }} A more concise definition appearing in the Eurostat glossary similarly refers to actual, rather than potential use: "land worked (ploughed or tilled) regularly, generally under a system of crop rotation".Eurostat. Glossary: Arable land. weblink {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20150507063241weblink |date=7 May 2015 }}

Cultivation of the land

{{more|Tillage|Cultivator}}Cultivation of the land is an important process to make land arable by loosening and tilling (breaking up) of the soil.Cultivation {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20180420014617weblink |date=20 April 2018 }}. Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Arable land area

(File:Arable land percent world.png|thumb|upright=1.8|World map of arable land, percentage by country (2006)Arable land in this map refers to a definition used by the US CIA – land cultivated for crops like wheat, maize, and rice that are replanted after each harvest){{Further|Land use statistics by country}}According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations the world's arable land amounted to 1,407 M ha, out of a total 4,924 M ha land used for agriculture, as for year 2013.WEB, FAOSTAT Land Use module,weblink Food and Agriculture Organization, 8 July 2016,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160816210159weblink">weblink 16 August 2016, live, {| style="margin: 0 auto;"|{| class="wikitable sortable"weblink Food and Agriculture Organization, 8 July 2016,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160816084634weblink">weblink 16 August 2016, live, WEB, Arable Land Area,weblink The Helgi Library, 22 February 2014,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20140705035145weblink">weblink 5 July 2014, live, ! Rank !! Country or region !! 2008 !! 2009 !! 2010 !! 2011 || 2012
World >| 13,958
India}} 1,579 1,578 1,575 1,574 1,562
United States}} 1,631 1,605 1,598 1,602 1,551
Russia}} 1,216 1,218 1,200 1,215 1,197
European Union}} 1,091 1,089 1,074 1,074 1,083
China}} 1,086 1,100 1,114 1,116 1,065
Brazil}} 702 704 703 719 726
Australia}} 440 475 426 477 471
Canada}} 443 438 434 430 459
Argentina}} 351 338 372 380 392
Nigeria}} 370 340 360 360 350
Ukraine}} 325 325 325 325 325

Arable land (hectares per person)

File:Chvojnica hills near Unin.jpg|upright=1.35|thumb|Fields in the region of Záhorie in Western SlovakiaWestern SlovakiaFile:Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de La Blanca, Cardejón, España, 2012-09-01, DD 02.JPG|thumb|right|upright=1.35|A field of sunflowers in CardejónCardejón{| class="wikitable sortable mw-collapsible mw-collapsed"|+ Arable land (hectares per person)! Country Name || 2013
| 0.254
| 0.213
| 0.196
| 0.054
| 0.038
| 0.209
| 0.044
| 0.933
| 0.150
| 0.019
| 1.999
| 0.160
| 0.204
| 0.021
| 0.001
| 0.049
| 0.039
| 0.589
| 0.073
| 0.227
| 0.262
| 0.005
| 0.133
| 0.427
| 0.264
| 0.125
| 0.372
| 0.034
| 0.012
| 0.479
| 0.363
| 0.115
| 0.108
| 0.275
| 0.279
| 1.306
| 0.003
| 0.382
| 0.373
| 0.026
| 0.074
| 0.078
| 0.036
| 0.086
| 0.098
| 0.125
| 0.049
| 0.134
| 0.206
| 0.278
|
| 0.070
| 0.299
| 0.429
| 0.002
| 0.083
| 0.078
| 0.076
| 0.031
| 0.120
| 0.151
|
| 0.480
| 0.160
| 0.062
| 0.187
| 0.409
| 0.277
| 0.009
| 0.197
| 0.236
| 0.119
| 0.145
| 0.180
|
| 0.232
| 0.016
| 0.028
| 0.006
| 0.064
| 0.259
| 0.171
| 0.552
| 0.103
| 0.130
| 0.000
| 0.445
| 0.374
| 0.123
| 0.094
| 0.193
| 0.147
| 0.242
| 0.253
| 0.035
| 0.113
| 0.044
| 0.033
| 0.032
| 1.726
| 0.133
| 0.018
| 0.094
| 0.030
|
| 0.003
| 0.223
| 0.226
| 0.600
| 0.025
| 0.119
| 0.116
| 0.274
| 0.070
| 0.774
| 0.115
|
| 0.199
| 0.153
| 0.235
| 0.032
| 0.010
| 0.386
| 0.021
| 0.038
| 0.116
| 0.060
| 0.186
| 0.019
| 0.510
|
| 0.198
| 0.013
| 0.240
| 0.213
| 0.203
| 0.341
|
| 0.076
| 0.062
| 0.024
| 0.123
| 0.253
| 0.866
| 0.197
| 0.019
| 0.159
| 0.010
| 0.168
| 0.048
| 0.148
| 0.041
| 0.696
| 0.136
| 0.057
| 0.284
| 0.107
| 0.017
| 0.007
| 0.438
| 0.852
| 0.107
| 0.042
| 0.032
| 0.048
| 0.102
| 0.229
| 0.460
| 0.001
| 0.256
| 0.000
|
| 0.258
| 0.085
| 0.036
| 0.107
| 0.235
|
| 0.270
| 0.063
| 0.092
| 0.016
|
| 0.046
| 0.345
| 0.112
| 0.140
| 0.270
| 0.050
| 0.241
| 0.106
| 0.269
| 0.249
| 0.131
| 0.382
| 0.152
| 0.019
| 0.262
| 0.270
| 0.370
| 0.030
|
| 0.189
| 0.715
| 0.004
| 0.098
| 0.480
| 0.682
| 0.145
| 0.079
| 0.089
| 0.071
| 0.010
| 0.011
| 0.049
| 0.243
| 0.268

Non-arable land

{{refimprove section|date=February 2014}}(File:KerbauJawa.jpg|thumb|upright=1.25|Water buffalo ploughing rice fields near Salatiga, Central Java, Indonesia)File:Beverley Minster from West Pasture.jpg|thumb|upright=1.25|A pasture in the East Riding of Yorkshire in EnglandEnglandAgricultural land that is not arable according to the FAO definition above includes:
  • Permanent crop – land that produces crops from woody vegetation, e.g. orchardland, vineyards, coffee plantations, rubber plantations, and land producing nut trees;
  • Meadows and pastures – land used as pasture and grazed range, and those natural grasslands and sedge meadows that are used for hay production in some regions.
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 e.g. lack of sufficient fresh water for irrigation, stoniness, steepness, adverse climate, excessive wetness with impracticality of drainage, excessive salts, among others.United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1961. Land capability classification. Agriculture Handbook 210. 21 pp. Although such limitations may preclude cultivation, and some will in some cases preclude any agricultural use, large areas unsuitable for cultivation are agriculturally productive. For example, US 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.NRCS. 2013. Summary report 2010 national resources inventory. United States Natural Resources Conservation Service. 163 pp. In British Columbia, Canada, 41 percent of the provincial Agricultural Land Reserve area is unsuitable for production of cultivated crops, but is suitable for uncultivated production of forage usable by grazing livestock.Agricultural Land Commission. Agriculture Capability and the ALR Fact Sheet.weblink Similar examples can be found in many rangeland areas elsewhere.Land incapable of being cultivated for 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 greenhouses with internal light and heat for protection against the cold outside and to provide light in cloudy areas. This process is often extremely 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.(Note: The use of artifices does not make land arable. Rock, still remains rock, and shallow less than 6 feet turnable soil is still considered NONE toilable (IE: None arable). The use of artifice is an open air none recycled water hydroponics relationship. 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 de-oxination. IE: Use of fast amounts of fertilizer in the United States that end up devastating rivers, water ways and river endings due accumulation of none degradable toxins and Nitrogen bearing molecules that remove oxygen and cause none aerobic processes to form.)Some examples of infertile non-arable land being turned into fertile arable land are:
  • Aran Islands: These islands off the west coast of Ireland, (not to be confused with the Isle of Arran in Scotland's Firth of Clyde), were unsuitable for arable farming because they were too rocky. The people covered the islands with a shallow layer of seaweed and sand from the ocean. Today, crops are grown there, even though the islands are still considered non-arable.
  • Israel: The construction of desalination plants along Israel's coast allowed agriculture in some areas that were formerly desert. The desalination plants, which remove the salt from ocean water, have created a new source of water for farming, drinking, and washing.
  • Slash and burn agriculture uses nutrients in wood ash, but these expire within a few years.
  • Terra preta, fertile tropical soils created by adding charcoal.
Some examples of fertile arable land being turned into infertile land are:
  • Droughts such as the "Dust Bowl" of the Great Depression in the U.S. turned farmland into desert.
  • Rainforest deforestation: The fertile tropical forests are converted into infertile desert land. For example, Madagascar's central highland plateau has become virtually totally barren (about ten percent of the country) as a result of slash-and-burn deforestation, an element of shifting cultivation practiced by many natives.
  • Each year, arable land is lost due to desertification and human-induced erosion. Improper irrigation of farm land can wick the sodium, calcium, and magnesium from the soil and water to the surface. This process steadily concentrates salt in the root zone, decreasing productivity for crops that are not salt-tolerant.

See also

References

{{Reflist}}

External links

  • weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20041031145545weblink">Surface area of the Earth
  • weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20120302133333weblink">Article from Technorati on Shrinking Arable Farmland in the world
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