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A monoculture (from ancient Greek μόνος monos , German ` ` alone '' and Latin cultura `` cultivation, care '') refers to agricultural , horticultural or forestry areas on which only a single crop species is grown over several years in a row.


This method offers advantages in care and harvest, but uses natural resources such as light and water as well as synergy effects between different organisms often not optimally and increases the susceptibility to disturbances (lower resilience ). In addition, it forms a critical monostructure in the domestic economy and in exports because, for example, other agricultural products are lacking and lead to import-heavy goods. If a state only grows an agricultural product, it can achieve a level of self-sufficiency of 100% and export the overproduction , but it has to import other foodstuffs to ensure security of supply . In the medium term, this can result in a balance of payments deficit , especially in agricultural countries .

The term is also a designation for the regional concentration of production in agriculture on one product, such as cotton production , coffee cultivation or cattle breeding , in the figurative sense also for sub-areas or cities with one-sidedly developed but crisis-prone industries such as shipbuilding , jewelry , etc.

In addition to this spatial dimension, there is a temporal dimension, especially in the field of plant cultivation : For example, monoculture (also single-field farming ) is used when the crop rotation is only cultivated with one crop species . In a figurative sense, the term is also used in other areas where a single system predominates (e.g. in the software area ).


Extremely species-poor "agricultural steppe" in the Palouse region (USA)

Historically, wet rice cultivation in Asia is the most common form of monoculture in agriculture. Even modern farms are partly to a few crop species specialize . The advantages of specialization, such as the common use of the same machines by several z. B. cooperatives merged farmers and common marketing structures by the resulting gains in efficiency attractive in general. This is often associated with an intensification . Land scarcity and high demand (e.g. also for biofuels ) also favor the emergence of monocultures.

However, without effective countermeasures, monocultures have a long-term yield disadvantage compared to crop rotations with several species. The recurring presence of the roots of the same plant species promotes the development of pathogens in the soil . The resulting root infections make it more difficult for the plant to absorb nutrients and thus e.g. B. to assert oneself against weeds . As a result, monoculture can lead to an increased incidence of plant diseases, pests and weeds that are difficult to control. The countermeasures used include, above all, plowing and the use of pesticides , and flooding in wet rice cultivation.

In plantations (. As for example coffee ) is always there, almost to the cultivation of monocultures, to which often tend agrarian states. Examples are the Ivory Coast with its cocoa production (35% world market share ) or Ecuador with bananas (30%). Although Brazil has a world market share of 40% for sugar , it is not a monoculture of this seasoning as an area state .


Monoculture in forestry : spruce

In forestry, spruce and other conifers are still grown in monoculture to supply the wood processing and paper industries with the raw material wood . However, disadvantages such as extreme pest infestation (e.g. by bark beetles ) or high susceptibility to wind breakage are moving forestry more and more to more sustainable forms of economic activity. The feared in the 1980s, deforestation was another reason why deforested forest land less than pure coniferous forest and instead more than mixed forest reforestation . At that time, deciduous trees were thought to be less susceptible to the air pollution and soil acidification of the time .

Web links

Wiktionary: Monoculture  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Monoculture
  2. Gabler Verlag (ed.), Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon , Monokultur
  3. ^ A b c R. James Cook, Toward cropping systems that enhance productivity and sustainability . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . Vol. 103, No. 49, pp. 18389-18394.
  4. IT association warns of dangers from Windows . , accessed on June 21, 2010
  5. Spain as a model country - with a downer , report in ORF
  6. Compact Lexicon of Biology , Spectrum Academic Publishing House, Heidelberg
  7. Christoph Heinrich, No trend reversal - How is our forest doing ? . Naturschutzbund Deutschland , Naturschutz heute , issue 3/2003. Retrieved June 21, 2010