Agriculture in Semi-Arid Environments by Anthony E. Hall

By Anthony E. Hall

The semi-arid zones of the realm are fragile ecosystems that are being sub­ stantially changed through the actions of mankind. expanding human populations have ended in better calls for on semi-arid zones for offering human susten­ ance and the prospect that this can improve desertification is a grave main issue. those zones are harsh habitats for people. The famines that resulted from drought through the past due 1960's and the 1970's within the African Sahel illustrated the unreliability of current agricultural platforms during this area. huge fluctuations in ag­ ricultural construction have happened in semi-arid zones of Australia, North Ameri­ ca, and the Soviet Union because of periodic droughts, even if enormous ag­ ricultural know-how has been dedicated to agricultural improvement in those zones. The problem to mankind is to control those diversified semi-arid zones in order that seasoned­ ductivity is elevated and stabilized, and environmental deterioration is reduced. Irrigation can be utilized to extend and stabilize agricultural construction in semi-arid zones as mentioned in quantity five of this sequence, Arid quarter Irrigation. the current quantity, Agriculture in Semi-Arid Environments, makes a speciality of dryland farming in semi-arid zones, and is proper to the big components of the area the place rainfall is restricting and the place water isn't to be had for irrigation. This quantity is designed to aid agricultural improvement in those parts and involves studies and analyses of obtainable details via scientists operating in Africa, Australia, and on the U ni­ versity of California.

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That agricultural land was becoming a valued commodity is shown by the spread of villages out of the high alluvium where pot irrigation could be practiced and into the adjacent piedmont along the major streams. By analogy with the present settlement pattern, it is inferred that canal irrigation began at this time, taking water from the perennial streams and watering fields adjacent to villages on the piedmont. C. ), traces of ancient canals are preserved in a "fossilized" condition through precipitation of calcareous material in the water.

Wilke display the same deposition of travertine as noted at Hierve el Agua in the Valley of Oaxaca. Old canal systems are conspicuous by their "fossilized" channels. Some of these have a meter or more of travertine deposits and in places lie well above the eroded land surface; both factors suggest considerable antiquity. A few ceramic sherds found imbedded in the travertine also help to date these old canals. In many places deposition of travertine ultimately forced the abandonment of canals and the excavation of new ones alongside the older tecoatle "stone snakes" that wind across the landscape.

In area, these farming systems range from less than one to more than 35 ha. Introduction of the plow (by the Spanish in the sixteenth century) was no doubt instrumental in the abandonment of many of the known terrace systems, since the plow is not suited for use on rougher terrain that formerly could be tilled by hoe. Thus, many of the older systems are badly eroded and washed out. The fact that similar terraced farming is carried out today in the Tehuacan Valley on a large scale (Smith, 1965) strongly argues that the ancient terraces functioned in the same way.

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