Anthropology is the study of human beings. This discipline is complex because it covers a broad area of interlocking human experiences, including cultures, social institutions, history, biology, language, and problem-solving, always in a state of flux as the world around us changes. Anthropological activities in the area of food production are particularly problematic since they often result in a significant negative impact on lakes and other water supplies, which in turn adversely affect the environments of humans, animals, and plants.
Agricultural activities or the production of crops and the raising of livestock for food production are of great concern to ecologists who study the relationships between organisms and their interactions with the environment. Human beings control the amount of reliable food energy they produce because they selectively choose the land to be cultivated. The process of preparing the land for food production often requires the use of chemicals and fertilizers, which seep into water supplies.
Animals and humans consume the water that is often unsafe to drink. Livestock not managed properly can rapidly destroy vegetation, which must in turn be replenished. This is done by preparing the soil for further food production and requires additional chemicals and fertilizers to promote and replenish vegetation. The cycle can be repeated frequently and necessitates intense water management practices to preserve potable water supplies by preventing chemicals and animal wastes from becoming deposited into lakes, rivers, and streams.
Care must be taken by developers to analyze any potentially harmful impacts upon local cultures before initiating projects geared to food production. Unfortunately, political and economic interests often ignore such possibilities worldwide, and it seems that the hardest-hit segments of world populations are among the most poverty stricken. When this occurs, contaminants enter water supplies, including drinking water for humans and animals, animal wastes are filtered through poorly managed water systems, and plant life is destroyed. In the worst of scenarios, pathogens, or disease-causing microorganisms, affect all living things.
In more developed areas of the world, regulations and regular testing of lakes, wells, and other water supplies are sufficient to protect the public. In rural and poverty sections, ecological testing is more challenging. Methods of crop rotation, insect control, irrigation, soil and water conservation, and the elimination of harmful fertilizers and other chemicals remain unavailable.
Even in the year 2020, ecologists are forced to weigh vast food production sites around the world on an individual basis. The best way for ecologists to determine how to test abiotic features is to develop and implement an appropriate sustainability plan. The student would do well to research this concept further in order to get a more complete picture of the options available to modern cultures.