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  Section: Medicinal Plants / Cultivation
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Eco-Friendly Farming

⇒ Eco-Friendly Farming
  ⇒ Evolution of Sustainable Agriculture
⇒ Organic Farming
⇒ Biological Farming
⇒ Nature Farming
⇒ Regenerative Agriculture
⇒ Permaculture
⇒ Alternate Agriculture
⇒ Ecological Agriculture
⇒ Ecological Farming Systems
  ⇒ Objectives of Ecological Farming
  ⇒ Prospects
  ⇒ Integrated Intensive Farming System (IIFS)
  ⇒ Low External Input Supply Agriculture (LEISA)
    ⇒ Low-Input Agriculture
    ⇒ Criteria for LEISA
    ⇒ Ecological Criteria
    ⇒ Economic Criteria
    ⇒ Social Criteria
⇒ Biodynamic Agriculture
  ⇒ Organic Farming vs. Biodynamic Farming
  ⇒ Principles of Biodynamic Farming
  ⇒ Rules for Using Biodynamic Agriculture
⇒ Organic Agriculture System
  ⇒ The Major Aims of Organic Farming
  ⇒ Concept of Organic Farming
  ⇒ Difference Between Organic and Conventional Farming
  ⇒ History of Organic Farming
  ⇒ Needs of Organic Farming
    ⇒ Needs for Organic Inputs
  ⇒ In Partnership With Nature
⇒ Basic Standards and General Principles for Organic Agriculture
  ⇒ Crop and Soil Management
  ⇒ Choice of Crops and Varieties
  ⇒ Crop Rotations
  ⇒ Nutrient Management
  ⇒ Management of Pests, Diseases and Weeds
  ⇒ Wild Products
  ⇒ Pollution Control
  ⇒ Soil and Water Conservation
    ⇒ Landscape
⇒ Principle Requirements and Pre-Conditions
⇒ Conversion From Conventional to Organic Farming
  ⇒ Farms With Plant Production and Livestock
  ⇒ Initiating Organic Farming
    ⇒ Medicinal Plants-The First Crops for Organic Farming
⇒ Important Tips for Cultivation of Medicinal Plants
⇒ Multi Tier Agriculture System for Cultivation of Medicinal Plants
    ⇒ Benefits of Multi-Tier Agriculture System (MTAS)
    ⇒ Selection of Shade Crops
    ⇒ Irrigation
    ⇒ Disease and Protection
    ⇒ Benefits for Farmers and the World
⇒ Indigenous Agricultural Practices for Cultivation of Medicinal Plants
  ⇒ Rationality of Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge/ Practices
World needs, eco-friendly farming systems for sustainable agriculture. This is the need of the present day. There is an urgent need to develop farming techniques, which are sustainable from environmental, production, and socioeconomic points of view. The means to guarantee sufficient food production in the next decades and beyond is critical because modern agriculture production throughout the world does not appear to be sustainable in the long-term. The agricultural community is thus setting it hopes on sustainable agriculture, which will maintain the cycles of input-output and ecosystem balance. Definition form FAO (1988), seems appropriate in this contest

Sustainable rural development is the management and conservation of the natural resource base, and the orientation of technological and institutional change in such a manner as to assure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for the present and future generations. Such sustainable development, in the agriculture, forestry and fishers sectors, conserves land, water, plant and animal genetic resources, is environmentally non-degrading, technically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable.

Evolution of Sustainable Agriculture
In the 1960s and 1970s, a growing environmental agriculture movement evolved in response to increasing soil erosion, pesticide use, and groundwater contamination. Simultaneously, economic conditions for farmers were becoming more stressful and the number of family farms declined.

In 1980s, Wes Jackson of The Land Institute in Salina, K. S., began using the term sustainable agriculture to describe an alternative system of agriculture based upon resource conservation and quality of rural life.

While sustainable agriculture has become the umbrella under which, many of the above-mentioned alternatives farming systems fall, it is important to note that sustainable agriculture is really a long-term goal, not a specific set of farming practices. In temperate zones sustainable agriculture was defined as such:

Sustainable agriculture is a philosophy based on human goals and on understanding the long-term impact of our activities on the environment and on other species. Use of this philosophy guides our application of prior experience and the latest scientific advances to create integrated, resource-conserving, equitable farming systems. These systems reduce environmental degradation, maintain agricultural productivity, promote economic viability in both the short and long term and maintain stable rural communities and quality of life.

In this context, sustainable agriculture embraces all agricultural systems, striving to meet these criteria. Many aspects of modern conventional agriculture are included in sustainable agriculture, just as are many aspects of alternative farming systems.

One aspect of modern agriculture receiving a lot of attention in the sustainable agriculture discussion is the use of chemical inputs to supply fertility and pest control. White agriculture chemicals will continue to play an important role in American agriculture. Many farmers are looking at alternatives due to environmental, economical, or regulatory reasons. In a transition to farming systems more reliant on biological methods of production, low-input farming serves as in intermediary step.

Sustainable agriculture emphasizes the conservation of its own resources. For a farm to be sustainable, it must produce adequate amounts of high-quality foods, be environmentally safe, and where appropriate, be profitable. Sustainable farms minimize their purchased inputs (fertilizers, energy and equipment) and rely, as much as possible on the renewable resources of the farm itself. This is especially important in the 90 per cent of farms that exist in the third world, where these inputs are often not available or affordable.

Agricultural ecosystems, unlike the natural ecosystems, are human manipulated ecosystems and regular and sometimes intense disturbances arc a major part of economically viable agriculture management systems.

Sustainable agriculture is a complex issue associated with producing food while maintaining our biophysical resources including soil, water and biota with no adverse impacts on the wider environment. It should:
  1. Maintain or improve the production of clean food
  2. Maintain or improve the quality of landscapes, which includes soils,, water, biota and aesthetics.
  3. Have minimal impact on the wide environment.
  4. Be economically viable
  5. Be acceptable to society.
There are different concepts of sustainable agriculture, but none is generally accepted.It embraces several forms of non-conventional agriculture that are often called organic, alternative, ecological or low input. However, from economic and ecological perspectives, two basic criteria must be met if agriculture is to be sustainable in the long term. These are:

Sustainable farming uses some form of integrated pest management for pest control, and this can include the use of chemical pesticides that are not used by organic farmers. Thus, sustainable agriculture does not mean a return to the farming methods of the late 1800\s. Rather, it combines traditional techniques that stress conservation with modern technologies, such as improved seed, modern equipment for low-tillage practices, integrated pest management that relies heavily on biological control principles, and weed control that depends on crop rotations. Sustainable farms try to use wind or solar energy instead of purchased energy, and use organic animal manure and nitrogen-fixing legumes as green manure to maintain soil fertility, as much as possible, thereby minimizing the need to purchase inputs from outside the farm. The use of genetically engineered crop strains is certainly not excluded by sustainable farming. The emphasis is on maintaining the environment, not on rules about what can or cannot be done. Profits from sustainable farms can exceed those of conventional farms.

Innovative farmers have developed many alternative farming methods and systems. These systems consist of a wide variety of integrated practices and methods suited to the specific needs, limitations, resource bases and economic conditions of different farms. To make wider adoption possible, however, farmers need to receive information and technical assistance in developing new management skills.

There are several established approaches to eco-friendly farming systems. A common thread in all schools is an emphasis on biological systems to supply fertility and pest control rather than chemical inputs.

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