Monoculture describes systems that have very low diversity. The term is applied in several fields.



In agriculture, the term monoculture is a term used to describe plantings of a single species over a substantial area. A major force in the increase of monoculture in modern agriculture has been the development of machinery for tilling, planting, pest control and harvesting, which is cheaper than human labor, and is considered more efficient at larger scales. The term is sometimes used pejoratively.

Examples of monocultures include lawns and most field crops, such as wheat or corn. Some extend the term to things such as large-scale confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Extensive monoculture of fruits, cucurbits, alfalfa seed and other crops tends to produce pollination problems, because pollinators cannot use all the resources available during bloom, and they may starve during the rest of the season. Such pollination problems are solved by pollination management.

The drawbacks and risks of excessive use of a single species are acknowledged and well understood in agriculture and agricultural science. This has led to a realization of the benefits of polyculture. Monocultures are criticized by the environmental movement because of their susceptibility to disease and insects, because of the large amount of chemical inputs often required to sustain them, and because of their lower biodiversity. The movement seeks to change popular culture by redefining the "perfect lawn" to be something other than a turf monoculture, and seeks agricultural policy that provides greater encouragement for more diverse cropping systems. Local food systems may also encourage growing multiple species and a wide variety of crops at the same time and same place. Heirloom gardening has come about largely as a reaction against monocultures in agriculture.

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In sociology, a monoculture is any sort of system wherein everyone is wearing, doing, seeing, reading, watching, and thinking the same thing.

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Computer science

In computer science, a monoculture is any computer system which is nearly universally used. This concept is significant when discussing computer security and viruses. In particular, Dan Geer has argued that Microsoft is a monoculture, since a striking majority of the overall number of computers connected to the Internet are workstations and servers running versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system, many of which are vulnerable to same attacks. This is in contrast to the early days of the net, when there was a much more even distribution of operating systems and hardware/processor types, and it was concomitantly much more difficult to create a broadly applicable attack.da:monokultur de:Monokultur


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