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Hydroponics And Its Effects Against Deforestation

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Plants are a necessary part of our everyday life. It is common knowledge that plants are vital to the existence of the human race. So if the Earth's vegetation was extinguished, it would logical to say that one result would be the extinction of most animal life. Most human beings do not pay attention to the extent that they use our planets resources and fail to properly replenish them. Although there are groups that work hard to conserve forest and vegetation, they have yet to be powerful enough to counter deforestation. Deforestation is the aware or unaware conversion or development of forested land into non-forested land. In response to deforestation everyone must work to replenish everything that they consume. The problem is that most people simply do not have the time to replace everything that they consume. The average person around the world does not consider planting a tree for every tree they consume, well, unless they live in China. The Chinese government strongly encourages all well bodied citizens to plant a specified number of trees per year. But, as large as China is, the world is much larger. A greater approach should be taken. By creating a process, designed to replace vegetation at a quicker rate, increase it yields and result in a balance between production and consumption; a larger approach could be taken. This is possible because of an ancient technique called hydroponics. Hydroponics is a technique used to grow plants without using soil. Hydroponics comes from two Greek words, hydro meaning water and ponis meaning labor, or literally, "working water." It is a simple technique. You find an inert growing material (such as some stones, quartz, or gravel), surround it with the materials the plants need to grow, and then allow growth to occur. Dirt is a poor growth medium because it is not organic. Dirt simply holds the nutrients and plant in place to interact with each other. In kindergarten, I learned that all plants need to grown is water, dirt, and love & care. Part of that was right, but it definitely wasn't the dirt. Dirt is a part of the Earth that is exposed to many outside factors and is limits the accomplishments of the plant it holds. Some soil is better that other soil, but all soil is a "one time deal." Once you use up all the nutrients the soil is holding, those nutrients have to be replaced or it the soil become inhabitable. By exposing the plants directly to the materials they need, you cut out the "middle man" and the results can be exponential compared to "soil growing." Hydroponics has been around since the beginning of time and has in that time span, been improved to extremes some people can only imagine. A teenager may think that a twenty-five foot tall tomato is something in the "Guinness's Book of World Records," while their grandparents know that was only hydroponics in the thirties. With the knowledge of hydroponics and its increased yields, deforestation could become a problem of the past.

Hydroponics has existed ever since the formation of the Earth. Hydroponics has gone from a very large scale (in the ocean) and varied throughout our history to fit the needs of cultures of all ages of time.

In ancient times, the city of Babylon held one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, its phoneme hanging gardens. The Babylonian Hanging Gardens were in fact a successful attempt at hydroponics growing.

The Aztec was a nomadic tribe that was forced to live at Lake Tenochtilan, which was full of nutrients. Neighboring enemies would not give the Aztec fertile land, so they were forced to improvise. The Aztec formed rafts made from sticks, roots, limbs, and stalks. Then they collected rich soil from the bottom of the lake to be used to grow things on top of the rafts. Once the vegetation was planted, the plant's roots would grow through the raft and obtain nutrients from the lake's water. The Aztec perfected the hydroponics method so well, they were able to grow flowers, trees, vegetation, and even build small huts for the person tending the raft. The rafts became known as chimpanas, and residents would often ride around and sell goods right off of the raft. Desperation called for the Aztec to develop a clear way to produce goods with limited resources. Hydroponics made it possible for the Aztec to become one of the greatest tribes in South America. The rafts allowed them to supply all their people after they conquered those who had conquered them. There are hieroglyphics which date back to before Christ that describe hydroponics growth in the Nile River. In ancient times hydroponics was natural, but around the late 1500's it started to become a scientific interest. In 1600, Belgian, Jan Van Helmont constructed an experiment to determine what were the substances that plants needed to survive. Van Helmont planted a willow shout in two-hundred pounds of dirt, which he covered to protect it. He watered the five pound shout everyday for five years. When he weighed the shout it weighed one-hundred and sixty-five pound while the soil weighed only two ounces less that it's original two-hundred pounds. This experiment showed that the substances needed in order to grow the plant were not in the soil but what was being put in the soil, the water.

In 1699, John Woodward started making scientific contributions to the process of hydroponics. Woodward sampled varieties of soil and combined them with water to make individual solutions. He then feed the solution to plants, and found that the richest soil created the greatest product among the plants. Woodward had created the world's first hydroponics nutrient solution. In later years, Woodward also proved that plants absorb nutrients through their roots, the plants pull carbon dioxide through the leaves, and oxygen is absorbed through the roots as well.

In 1972, Joesph Priestly discovered that plants that remained in a container of carbon dioxide, gradually the plant will adsorb the carbon dioxide and release oxygen. A few years later, Jean Ingen-Housz duplicated the experiment and found that the process would only take place if sunlight was present.

In 1804, Michele De Saqssure published a work saying that plants were made up of minerals which are taken from the air, water, and soil. Inspired by the experiment, by 1842 9 elements had been listed to be essential to the growing of a plant. In the 1850's, French scientist, Jean Baptiste Boussingault began experiments in inert materials. A mining company employed Boussingaunt and he began growing out of charcoal, quartz, and sand. Through these experiments he was able to determine how much of a nutrient that was needed to initialize maximum growth.

In 1856, Salm-Hosar began growing plants in inert materials moistened with the proper nutrients.

W. Knops and

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