|Monoculture vs Polyculture|
The production of a single crop, livestock species or agricultural product.
The production of multiple crops at the same farm.
Monoculture vs Polyculture
John Spacey, updated on September 04, 2023
Monoculture is the production of a single crop, livestock species or agricultural product. The term is often applied to heavy reliance on a single crop at the regional, national, farm or field level. Three crops: maize, wheat and rice account for about 50% of the world's consumption of calories. In contrast, at least 12,650 species of plant are edible. Polyculture is the production of multiple crops at the same farm. The term is associated with genetic diversity, resilience, food security and techniques such as companion planting, forest farming and beneficial weeds. In many cases, polyculture is used as an organic farming technique to replace synthetic chemicals with natural processes. At one time, monoculture was considered more scalable than polyculture. However, modern techniques and technologies such as farm robots make polyculture incredibly scalable.
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ReferencesFAO (1997). The State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: FAO.