Use of natural and artificial fertilisers

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  • Use of natural and artificial fertilisers
    • All plants need mineral ions, especially nitrogen from the soil.
    • Much food production in the developed world is intensive, it is concentrated on specific areas of land to achieve maximum yield
    • Intensive food production makes large demands on the soil because mineral ions are continually taken up by the crops being grown on it.
    • Natural ecosystems the minerals are removed form the soil by plants and are returned when the plant is broken down by micro organisms on its death
    • Natural (organic) fertilisers which consist of the dead and decaying remains of plants and animals as well as animal waste such as manure and bone meal
    • Artificial (inorganic) fertilisers which are mined from rocks and deposits and then converted into different forms and blended together to give the right balance of minerals. Contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium
    • How the increase productivity
      • Nitrates used for plant growth
      • Plants develop earlier and grow taller
      • Increased rate of photo synthesis
      • Increased crop productivity
    • Consequence
      • Reduced species diversity. NPK fertilisers favour the growth of grasses, nettles etc, designer fertilisers for specific crops
      • Leaching - washing the nitrogen out of the soil and into rivers so plants in the river become over fertilised so have a high Biological Oxygen Demand
      • Eutro-phocation

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