less than 1 minute read

Crops

Hunting And Gathering; Crops Obtained From Unmanaged Ecosystems, Plants, Terrestrial Animals, Aquatic Animals

Crops are any organisms that humans utilize as a source of food, materials, or energy. Crops may be utilized for subsistence purposes, to barter for other goods, or to sell for a cash profit. They may be harvested from wild ecosystems, or they may be husbanded and managed, as occurs with domesticated species in agriculture.

In general, the purpose of management is to increase the amount of crop productivity that is available for use by humans. There is, however, a continuum in the intensity of crop-management systems. Species cultivated in agriculture are subjected to relatively intensive management systems. However, essentially wild, free-ranging species may also be managed to some degree. This occurs, for example, in forestry and in the management of ocean fisheries and certain species of hunted animals. Most crops are plant species, but animals and microorganisms (e.g., yeast) can also be crops.

In general, unmanaged, free-ranging crops are little modified genetically or morphologically (in form) from their non-crop ancestors. However, modern, domesticated crops that are intensively managed are remarkably different from their wild ancestors. In some cases a nondomesticated variety of the species no longer exists.


Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cosine to Cyano group