Food and Agriculture : Glossary

There are 46 documents in this section.

  • Herbicides

    14 September 2000

    Chemicals used to kill plants and inhibit their growth.

  • Insecticides

    14 September 2000

    Chemicals used to kill insects, especially those considered undesirable by farmers.

  • Irrigation

    14 September 2000

    The provision of water for crops in areas where the natural precipitation is considered inadequate for crop growth.

  • Salinisation

    14 September 2000

    The build up of salts in soil as a result of the capillary flow of saline water towards the surface. A common problem in areas where the land is irrigated.

  • Leguminous plants

    14 September 2000

    A large group of pod-bearing plants (including acacia, peas, beans, alfalfa and clover) whose roots contain nodules with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and are thus able to absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere and converted into a form useful to plants.

  • Organic farming

    14 September 2000

    Production system that avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetically produced fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. As far as possible, it relies on crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, off-farm organic wastes, and aspects of biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and tillage, to supply plant nutrients, and to control insects, weeds, and other pests.

  • Pastoral farming

    14 September 2000

    A form of agriculture based on the herding of grazing animals such as cattle, sheep, goats and camels, common in the world's arid regions.

  • Pesticides

    14 September 2000

    Chemical products designed to kill or restrict the development of pests, pests being organisms considered undesirable by those using them.

  • Shifting cultivation

    14 September 2000

    A system of cultivation common in the tropics, whereby forests and grassland are cleared, usually by fire, which provides ash to fertilise the land. After a few years, when the soil is exhausted, the cultivators abandon the plot and move elsewhere.

  • Soil erosion

    14 September 2000

    The removal of topsoil by water, wind and gravity. A natural process which can be hastened by human activity.