Re: [Irvine] "Everyone has to take a job sometime" / NH3

Dave Long (
Fri, 20 Aug 1999 17:37:57 -0700

> person" school of history. Fact is, the large population growth this
> century is due to new agricultural practices, along with improvements in
> health, such as vaccines that are easily exported to the developing world.
> But, truly, there is such a cluster of issues surrounding population growth
> this century, it really sounds naive to give such credit to an
> infrastructure chemical process.

I believe the argument for the importance of the process is that
(after sunlight and water), N content is supposed to be the
production bottleneck for most soils. If so, intensified
agriculture without fertilizers wouldn't increase yield, and
mortality reduction would lead to either hunger or a substantial
increase in cultivated land. (according to Smil, the latter would be
possible in the US, but would be unlikely in Egypt, China, bits of
India, etc.)

I don't know how true this is, though. References, anyone?