Early Roman, Greek, and Chinese cultures practiced crop rotation and understood the benefits of cover crops. Both of these practices help to control insect pests and soilborne diseases, as well as increase soil productiveness and crop yields. Rotating crops can disrupt the lifecycle of insects that feed on one or more families of plants. This makes sense, take the food source away and an insect such as the Corn earworm can no longer feed and reproduce. Likewise, a four-year or longer rotation cycle helps to minimize the buildup of soilborne pathogens (Baldwin, 2006).
Long term crop rotation (more than two years) was a standard farming practice until post World War II munitions industries in the United States expanded their production of ammonium nitrate (used for bombs and explosives) to also support agricultural use. At this same time, the synthetic pesticide industry took off with Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) at the forefront. Armed with nitrogen to replenish the soil and aided by DTT to ward off insects, intensive cropping became normal (Baldwin, 2006; Philpott, 2013; Unsworth, 2010). These “advancements” fueled present day industrial farming.
One of the biggest benefits that cover crops provide is the abatement of soil erosion. In the United States, this was learned the hard way. The development of the automobile in the early twentieth century lead to technical advancements of farming machinery. Motorized trackers allowed farmers to till large areas of land. A multi-year drought in the 1930s combined with poor agricultural practices and over grazing, led to what has become known as the “Dust Bowl” in the Midwestern and southern plains. Cover crops also help soil to maintain mois...
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...e-thousand feet, this last leg is daunting, if one falls, there is a high risk of death. I have passed many inexperienced hikers, some wearing sandals instead of hiking boots. People cling to the cables, some crying, many unwilling to give up after coming so far. It’s a surrealistic mass of humanity, more so in the thin air above eight-thousand feet and one which creates a dangerous situation for experienced hikers like myself, when attempting to pass those less skilled. The idea of the lottery is to limit how many people traverse the trail each day and eliminate park visitors who might be casually inclined to attempt the hike as, “something to do that day.”
Not everyone agrees with Hardin, citing that he provides no evidence to support his statements. A more in-depth study would be interesting. His suggestion about lotteries, at least for Half Dome has come to pass.
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