Keywords: Fertilisers, Welfare, Welfare development, Environmental impacts.
A rich cultural development requires a stationary agriculture as a base.
– The irrigation agriculture, mostly situated along great rivers in semi-arid areas, became stationary early in history and here the oldest high culture societies developed.
– The agriculture where plant nutrients were the limiting factor remained a primitive ‘slash and burn’ agriculture for a long time. Its practitioners, the plant nutrient nomads, could not gather enough resources to build a rich culture involving welfare development.
– Gradually the plant nutrient culture became stationary by foraging on surrounding forests and meadows. The village and peasant society developed.
– The industrialisation gave the agriculture new possibilities. An explosion of both population and culture followed. Soil exploitation on the new continents was one motor in the development but in many cases severe soil degradation was a consequence.
– In the middle of the 19th century the modern agricultural science emerged. It has given a base both for the tremendous increase in productivity and for the conservation of soil resources.
– During the 20th century soil exploitation has been replaced by a conscious plant nutrient management. Environmental demands have come into the picture as well as resource considerations and sustainability.
– In spite of several efforts and a general consciousness about the problem, the recycling of nutrients from society to agriculture does not work.
– The soil resources were the base for the development also of our industrial society. Agricultural, industrial and cultural development go together. In our post industrial market economy this may not be very evident at first considering the local food surplus. However, the soil is still the base and its conservation and maintenance is of the utmost importance.
Prof S L Jansson, Uppsala, Sweden.
16 pages, 2 tables, 9 refs.