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Landscape and Resources Memo

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Submitted By tltdavis07
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Landscape and Resources Memo
Laura M. Davis
GEO/215
February 10, 2014
Renee Tan

Landscape and Resources Memo
The agriculture areas close to UrCity has, until recently, contributed to the reduction in overall city temperatures. Because of the significant growth of UrCity, this expansion has pushed agriculture further out into the desert basin. UrCity has experienced a rise in temperatures and changing weather patterns that are directly related to urban sprawl. UrCity’s expansion has also demanded an increase in water usage which has become a burden on existing water supplies. Many citizens have also noted the decrease in wildlife that has been typical of the city. This memo will address these concerns and offer viable solutions to the above noted issues.
Agricultural Practices
The farms surrounding UrCity have taken advantage of traditional farming practices. Monocropping, heavy use of pesticides, and large amounts of water have been keeping these farms operational and profitable for many years but at a high cost to their immediate environment. According to Sustainable Table (n.d.), “Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are derivatives of fossil fuels, including oil and natural gas. The use of fossil fuels is the reason the Earth is experiencing dangerous climate change (Climate Change). The overuse of chemicals has directly contributed to the problem of rising temperatures in and around UrCity.
As UrCity becomes larger, the demand for land increases. This has pushed the farms outward into the desert to make room for the influx of residential and commercial buildings and the ever growing infrastructure. The preservation of the natural landscape has not been taken into consideration and has been razed to make room for construction. The absence of air filtering trees has contributed to the increase in pollution and rising temperatures. This mix of expansion, poor farming techniques, and the obliteration of the natural landscape have put a serious strain on the fragile balance of our environment.
Ongoing Relationships
The relationship between agriculture, biological landscapes, and climate is intermingled. Agriculture plays a direct role in the climate of the area and biological landscapes. The more commercial pesticides that are used the more toxic the surrounding environment becomes through water runoff and soil depletion. According to Sustainable Table (n.d.), “A report on the global assessment of soil degradation states that 'the earth's soils are being washed away, rendered sterile or contaminated with toxic chemicals at a rate that cannot be sustained (Soil and Land Degradation). In the U.S., agriculture accounts for approximately 80% of water used, and much of this is taken from the non-replenishable ground water (GRACE Communications Foundation, 2014). Because existing agriculture consumes so much of the area’s water supply, the expansion of UrCity has an enormous strain on the resources that are left.
Agriculture and city expansion also affect the biological landscape of the area. The development of farmland displaced many existing species, and because existing landscape was not designed into the layout of these farms that was destroyed as well. Add to this the total destruction of additional land for city expansion and the biological landscape of the entire area is forever changed. Complete ecosystems have been decimated or forced to relocate.
The climate of the area is affected by each of these changes. The removal of a few trees does not have as high an impact on climate as the clearing of an entire area as in the case of agricultural and urban expansion. Trees help buffer the sun’s rays, filter the air of pollution, their root systems hold nutrients in the ground, and cycle water from the ground into the atmosphere. Without trees, this cycle does not happen efficiently. This is another direct cause of the rising temperatures, decrease in available water, and disappearance of wildlife the city is experiencing.
Proposed Solutions
If agriculture and urban expansion are going to peaceably exist, provisions must be made on both fronts. Because available water is necessary for both to survive, this is the first issue that must be tackled. Farming practices must be modified to include more organic farming and less reliance on chemical pesticides. This will cut back on ground water contamination leaving more useful resources. The biological landscape must also be modified by bringing back natural landscaping, adding trees on the perimeters of farmlands, constructing parks, and adding trees, shrubs, grassy islands, and flowers throughout the city. Trees are natural buffers and air purifiers and adding natural parks throughout the area will, over time, help align temperatures. The construction of reservoirs to collect rainwater can be used for the irrigation of interior landscaping. Constructing rooftop gardens also have proven benefits in an urban setting. According to the E.P.A (2013), “Green roofs provide shade and remove heat from the air through evapotranspiration, reducing temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air (Green Roofs). Many benefits include “reduced energy use, reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, improved human health and comfort, enhanced stormwater management and water quality, and improved quality of life” (E.P.A., 2013). Rooftop gardens can also reduce the need for expanding agricultural areas as some of the food needed can be grown there.
Conclusion
While agricultural and urban expansion cannot be avoided, much can be done to limit the negative effects on the environment and its resources. By factoring natural habitats into urban landscapes, much of the needed benefits of nature are available. Switching to organic farming will lessen the need for commercial fertilizers thus reducing both water and air pollution. Rooftop gardening will assist in the overall reduction of temperatures as well as the return of some of the wildlife that has relocated elsewhere due to lack of water and extreme temperatures.

References
E.P.A. (2013). Green Roofs. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/hiri/mitigation/greenroofs.htm
GRACE Communications Foundation. (2014). Industrial Crop Production. Retrieved from http://www.sustainabletable.org/804/industrial-crop-production
Sustainable Table. (n.d.). Why does conventional farming damage the environment?. Retrieved from http://www.sustainabletable.org.au/Hungryforinfo/Conventionalfarmingdamage theenvironment/tabid/117/Default.aspx…...

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