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Human Vs Natural Food Chains


Human impact on food chain

Agriculture takes a leading role in the development of human civilization. If some people work with agriculture then all people can have food. Those ‘few’ people are very important for the society as they feed the rest of the population.

Manipulating the environment to favor plant species is  agriculture. In this process they choose the variety of species they wish to grow. That chosen crop can be a costlier one like Elaichi (cardamom), almonds, pistachios, and so on, or the cheaper one like mustard, spinach, or corn. Whatever the choice of food plant, their investment and work should be respected and they must be the beneficiary also. Then only the agriculture field can grow very well.


Agricultural Products - Spices

A simple ecosystem is created by us with agriculture. This food chain has only three levels - producers (crops), primary consumers (livestock, humans) and secondary consumers (humans). Since very few trophic levels in the food chain the loss of energy is also very less. This is beneficiary for humans.

Human Relationship with Ecosystem

Problems of Agricultural Ecosystems

1.     Problems of Monocultures:

•    Fields with only one crop is called as monoculture
•    Simplest for planting, weeding, and harvesting
•    Ideal for disease and insect pests.
•    Close proximity increases disease spread.
•    Crop can be destroyed easily.
•    Predators can have the food in one place and it will end the whole crop quickly.


2.    Problems of food plants:

Humans depend on the same type of food. If for any such reason suddenly the rice and corn or maize and wheat crops failed to grow … just imagine what happens? The whole world would be hard pressed to feed all.  If we have a choice of anything good can be eaten, we won’t have any problem.


Rice and Vegetables & Roti and Dal

Problem of inorganic nutrient recycling:

We have already learned that the nutrient cycle plays an important role in the maintenance of nutrients. If any animal or plant die they fall on to ground and their body nutrients get decomposed by decomposers and they mixed with soil. These mixed nutrients of soil again taken by plant through roots and when an animal eats this plant get that nutrient. If either this plant or animal dies the nutrient then again come to soil. This is the natural cycle of nutrients.

 But the crops are harvested and trucked to some other place for marketing. The used ones and the decomposed plants may sometimes get thrown into water sources like river. This not only creates the pollution but also the plant nutrients are not returning to land. The cycle gets changed. If no nutrient available what we do? We will start using fertilizing chemicals to provide the nutrients to plants artificially. Then the runoff chemicals can create water or land pollution.


Avoiding monocultures, maintaining nutrient level and avoid use of chemical fertilizer would make much difference.


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