Domestic Extraction Of Materials

What follows is a more detailed description of the different input aggregates, domestic extraction and imports. Biomass extraction (plant harvest, fishing and timber removals) is the most stable part of the UK industrial metabolism over time. A closer look shows that agricultural crop mix has undergone considerable change since the early 1960s. The yearly amounts of harvested cereals and fodder crops were raised after World War II, owing to changes in agricultural land use patterns and intensification processes. Intensification on agricultural land in the 20th century involved the replacement of animal traction by machine traction, a more intensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and, finally, the introduction of genetic alteration of plants. With the final step of industrialization in agriculture, the level of crop harvest increased by one-third (see Table 26.3).

Timber figures are still too preliminary to justify a final comment. However, since 1970-74, timber removals from UK woodlands steadily increased, from 2.1 million tons to 5.8 million tons in 1997. This is partially due to land use changes in the UK since 1937, when woodland only accounted for 5.1 per cent of total area. As a result of afforestation efforts the proportion of woodland has increased to 10.9 per cent of total land area. But the mix of trees, with an increasing proportion of conifers (now 82 per cent of all woodland), suggests a clear trend to monoculture.

The domestic extraction of mineral materials is a different story. Iron ore and other ore extraction, being closely linked to the industrial-military production process, did not show the typical decline or stagnation during wartime. The period 1940-44 experienced

Table 26.3 Average domestic extraction of materials for five-year periods in the UK, 1937-97 (MMT)

Period

Cereals &

Other

Timber

Iron ore &

Industrial

Clay

Sand &

Crushed

Coal

Natural gas

Crude

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