What is Botany?
Science is one of the widest subjects of interest to man. In order to effectively study science, there has been a need to divide it into various fields and disciplines. When it comes to the study of living things, scientists decided to begin by separating the study of plants and that of animals. This is the main division as far as the study of living things is concerned. From this point there are many other divisions and specializations. Botany is the study of plants while zoology is the study of animals. These are the main fields of study in biology.
Botany is one of the oldest areas of study that man has been involved in. Over the years, man has studies plants for various reasons and with all manner of outcomes from these studies. The word botany is taken from a Greek word that translates to fodder or grass. There has always been great interest in plant life as it is the real source of food for the world. Plants have a strong influence on the lives of animals and man both directly and indirectly. Plants have provided man with food, medicine, oxygen, shelter, fuel, tools, clothing, furniture and so much more. For this reason, man has always wanted to learn more about the various plants that are found around him.
There are many subfields that come under botany. Some of these include paleobotany, ethnobotany, plant pathology, plant genetics, phytochemistry, plant taxonomy and phytoanatomy. There are botanists who go into each of these subfields and specialize in them. The botanists will have varying levels of education and specialization. A botanists work will often involve working in labs, crop fields, the wild or other places that have plant life.
Botany is important to man because of the crucial role that plants have in the support of other living things. One of these very serious benefits is in the area of environmental effects. Destruction of forests and other forms vegetation have led to serious environmental degradation such as soil erosion. Climate change has greatly been attributed to the destruction of plant life. Plants also give animals their natural habitat and destroying the plants leaves the animals without a home and food.
Botany is also very important to the field of agriculture. Botany helps in the development of different improved varieties of food crops. By studying the various varieties, scientists are able to combine the desired qualities in the various crops and develop a plant that is superior to those that were previously there. There are some issues concerning some of the techniques used to develop these superior plants but we have other methods such as grafting which are safe and universally acceptable. Botany includes research on which crops can be planted in particular areas depending on the climate and soil found there. Through improved agriculture, botany contributes to improved food security. Those looking to become botanical scientists should take biology very seriously and work towards specialization in one of the many studies that are under the field of botany.
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