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The Green Revolution/The Importance of Plants

by: Chelsea Opong-Wadeer

The Green Revolution/The Importance of Plants PLS 150

Marketplace > University of Rhode Island > Plant Science > PLS 150 > The Green Revolution The Importance of Plants
Chelsea Opong-Wadeer

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About this Document

These two sets of notes cover how The Green Revolution effected our planet and our plants. The Importance of Plants outlines why we need plants to stay alive.
Plants, People and the Planet
Nathaniel Mitkowski
Class Notes
plants, plants and humans
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Chelsea Opong-Wadeer on Thursday September 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PLS 150 at University of Rhode Island taught by Nathaniel Mitkowski in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views. For similar materials see Plants, People and the Planet in Plant Science at University of Rhode Island.


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Date Created: 09/22/16
The Importance of Plants 9/12/16 Main ideas:  What are Plants Good For?  What is Horticulture?  How to Name living Things Introduction:  Animals need plants, but not reverse  (As long as you don't count the plants needing animal pollination) Plants:  Convert suns energy  Produce oxygen and remove CO2  Provide raw materials for everything we do! o Processed food comes from stock material, that came from plants Plants make sugars:  All sugar comes from photosynthesis  Sugar is a container for energy...  that starts out as sunlight  Possible question on the exam: o Photosynthesis is important because it turns the suns energy into what?  Answer: Sugar Plants make oxygen:  O2 a photosynthesis waste product  ...but critical in plant respiration  Plants make oxygen from water and then use it when burning sugars Plants are our food:  Everything we eat comes from plants  Even the things that don't look like they could have ever been alive! o Like gasoline  We domesticate plants, just like we domesticate animals What about beer?  Beer starts out as a plant  Fungi (yeast) turn it into alcohol  Fungi ARE NOT PLANTS – fish are friends not food, fungi are yeast, not plants  Beer, wine, cheese, bread- fungi working on plant material Plants are our energy:  Oil  Natural gas  Coal  Wood  All started out as plant material Plants are our clothing:  Cotton  Synthetics (rayon, nylon, etc.)  Natural plastics  Where did all that wool come from? o All started out as plant material Plants for construction:  Lumber  Furniture  Composites (plastic and fiber)  Particle boards o All started out as plant material Plants as medicine:  From the earliest civilizations  Some can only be made naturally  Analogs often developed  Many still to be discovered Horticulture:  Horticulture means growing plants/the study of plants  A science, a technology, an art  Involves all aspects of plant management and economy  Examples: backyard garden, large scale tomato farms, apple orchards, greenhouses, golf courses etc. Related terms:  Agriculture: plants and animals  Agronomy: soils, similar to horticulture  Agroecology: sustainable production of plants  Horticulture encompasses them all! Appendix: Plant Classification Binomial Nomemclature: The system where we use two names to name plants  Plant classification system Common vs. Scientific names:  Carl Linneaus devised system  Scientific names are universal  Common names can vary widely for same plant o Example: Kentucky blue grass in America but in Europe it's called meadowgrass o Poa = blue grass o Poa pratensis  Also called 'Latin' names because names are 'Latinized'  Genus & species: o Genus always capitalized o Genus = a 'Latinized' noun o Species are not capitalized o Species = often an adjective o "binomial nomenclature"  'lumpers' vs. 'splitters' among taxonomists o Lumpers cram everything together to have fewer subdivisions o Splitters  Naming of plants based on International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants  Hybrid designated by 'X' between species that are crossed o With plants two species can be combined together and produce good offspring The Green Revolution:  Happened between 1940-1960  Started with World War II  Allowed crop production to skyrocket  New varieties, adapted to mass production on millions of acres  Required fertilizer, pesticides, irrigation, and mechanization  HYV (High Yielding Varieties) wheat, rice and corn  Norman Borlaug brought IR8 rice to India, on the brink of famine  Sparked The Green Revolution  IR8 rice produce 10X as much grain as old varieties  Price of rice is less than half of what it was in 1970, India actually exports  Norman Borlaug:  Awarded Nobel Peace prize  Responsible for saving nearly a billion human lives with his work as a plant pathologist and advocate. Pre-Green Revolution:  Old varieties (land races) could grow without much input  Low yield but reliable  New varieties REQUIRED inputs (expense/technology) but gave yield  Synthetic fertilizer and pesticide development boomed after WWII Industrialization of ag  Green revolution is actually BLACK!  Meaning it is dependent upon oil  Does not happen over night  Starts with tractor, seeders, combines  Small farms disappear, merge into larger farms  Fertilizer, pesticides, inputs Other consequences:  Continual plant breeding  Genetic engineering  Anything that came out of a box is genetically modified  Monocultures  Meaning one thing  Plants are now very alike  Large farms, fewer farmers  Corporations drive agriculture  BUT, any food is always available Population concerns:  Without industrial agriculture, billions of people would starve  The planet currently supports 1.5X as many people as sustainable  Only able to have this many people because of oil  Carrying capacity varies with agriculture output  When we run out of oil? Haber-Bosch:  Germany in 1909-1913  Makes fertilizer out of air + methane  Air=nitrogen  Methane= hydrogens  Methane comes from natural gas  Very high pressure and temperature  Still the primary process used today


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