Download Agricultural biotechnology : country case studies : a decade by Gabrielle J Persley, L R MacIntyre PDF

By Gabrielle J Persley, L R MacIntyre

Following on from past titles during this sequence, this quantity offers extra fabric generated via the area Bank/ISNAR/Australian govt biotechnology research. It covers the current prestige and destiny clients for the applying of biotechnology to unravel agricultural and environmental difficulties in a few constructing international locations. specific concentration is given directly to advancements that experience taken position during the last decade.

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Agriculture is not easier than hunting and gathering and does not provide a higher quality, more palatable or more secure food base. . [It] has only one advantage . . that of providing more calories . . it will thus be practiced only when necessitated by population pressure. (Cohen 1977a: 14-15; emphasis mine) 32 1 Agriculture, Evolution, and Paradigms The important problem requiring an answer for Cohen is not the ultimate cause of the origin of agricultural systems, but rather the proximate cause of the adoption of agricultural systems.

By 2,000 years ago the overwhelming majority of men lived by farming. In the four million year history of Homo sapiens, the spread of agriculture was accomplished in about 8,000 years . . the problem is [thus] not just to account for the beginnings of agriculture, but to account for the fact that so many human beings made this economic transition in so short a time. (Cohen 1977a:5, original emphasis) This aspect of Mr. Cohen's position is not only provocative, but also, at least for the foreseeable future, unassailable: Something does appear to have happened during the period of time he points to, though its precise nature is never clearly explained.

Restoration of homeostasis and the consequent reduction of strain is an adaptation or adjustment to the original conditions of environmental stress. . such adjustments are a basic property of all living systems, including human biological, behavioral and life-support systems. (Little and Morrei 1976:29, emphasis original). Now equilibrium and feedbacks may be useful if we are describing thermostats and their functioning, but their applicability to the evolution of ecological communities, much less to social and cultural systems, is far from proven.

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