Compare and contrast three land management practices and indicate which land management practice is the best.

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pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many land management practices, and no one practice is the "best", since there are so many kinds of landscape, and so many different desired outcomes from the use of the land.

Organic land management is the growing of crops (food, forage, or lumber products) without the use of artificial chemicals, and with an effort to minimize machinery usage. Organic management can be used anywhere for any crop, but there are crops which adapt to it more readily. Lumber and forage crops do very well organically; essentially you plant the crop and leave it alone. Some food crops can be handled this way, but other crops are so prone to insect or fungus damage that growing them organically takes a lot of attention and effort, which necessarily makes them more expensive at the market. However, as more people have come to value pesticide free foods, they are willing to pay the extra money for them, and organic food production is a growing field.

Crop rotation is the practice of changing which crops are grown in a given soil from year to year; pasture rotation, a similar practice fro grazing, involved moving animals from one grazing area to another in a regular pattern. Both of these have the advantage of breaking up the disease cycle. The disadvantage for crop rotation is that the farmer has to grow more than one crop and cannot specialize, and the process of pasture rotation requires an investment in fencing, which can be expensive.

Intercropping is a technique where two crops are grown in the same space at the same time; for example, a tall plant can be planted in rows alternating with a shorter, shade-loving plant. When the plants are carefully paired, this is a very successful approach, and yields more crop per acre. However it is not well suited to large farming operations where weeding and harvesting are done with machinery.


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