Murray, James - M.A
Agricultural Change and Environmental Consequences in Southern Ontario, 1951-197l - Dr. Terry Crowley, advisor
This thesis is an investigation of agricultural land use change and environmental consequence. Cropping practices, agricultural land use, livestock densities and environmental indicators were reviewed in an eleven county area of southern Ontario during the period 1951 through 1971. The following factors were examined as components of changes in land use: number of census farms; average farm size; amount of farmland; amount of acreage of five major crops: (hay, wheat, oats, corn and soybeans); and livestock densities for horses, cattle, swine, and chickens. Dominant trends revealed a dramatic shift from mixed multi-enterprise farms growing combinations of cover crops, legumes and annual crops to single enterprise operations specialized in corn and/or soybeans or single breed intensive animal operations. Environmental indicators were used to link agricultural changes to environmental degradation. Selected indicators were changes in unimproved farmland, woodlot size, stream water quality, and soil erosion. Examining these indicators revealed that during this period of significant intensification and overriding interest in goals of economic efficiency above environmental stewardship or preservation of farm communities, there was a notable decline in environmental quality.