Practice test – Unit 5: Food, Soils & Agriculture

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PRACTICE TEST – Unit 5: Food, Soils & Agriculture

AP Environmental Science – February 10, 2012
Directions: Choose the letter of the best answer and darken its bubble.

1. Which of the following statements is true of these large food supply systems?

(A) Oceanic fisheries are a stable and important source of food for human consumption throughout the world.

(B) Rangelands provide more than half the world's food supply.

(C) More than half the calories consumed by people come from three grains grown on croplands.

(D) Since 1950, there has been a staggering increase in food production from only two of these three systems.
2. Which of the following are correctly paired?

(A) Industrialized agriculture, high inputs, organic fertilizers

(B) Traditional agriculture, plantations, polyculture

(C) Traditional subsistence agriculture, human and draft animal labor, shifting cultivation

(D) Traditional intensive agriculture, high yield per area of cultivated land, no marketable food produced
3. Key crops involved in the Green Revolution include all of the following except:

(A) Rice
(B) Sweet Potatoes

(C) Corn
(D) Wheat

4. Blindness may be caused by a diet deficient in the nutrient _______________.

(A) iodine

(B) iron

(C) protein

(D) vitamin D

(E) vitamin A

5. Which of the following best explains how a pest develops resistance to a chemical pesticide?

(A) Natural selection takes place.

(B) The pest develops adaptation during times of secondary pest outbreaks.

(C) Mutation and genetic drift occur.

(D) Geographic isolation results in the emergence of a new pest species.

(E) Punctuated equilibrium takes place.

6. Crops genetically engineered to fix nitrogen would have which of the following advantages?

(A) Increased disease resistance.

(B) Increased drought resistance.

(C) Decreased need for chemical fertilizer.

(D) Decreased absorption of toxic chemicals.

(E) Increased tolerance of air pollution.

7. The Green Revolution produced high yields by using large inputs of all of the following except:

(A) Energy
(B) Water
(C) Pesticides

(D) Fertilizers

(E) Non-arable land

8. Which of the following problems can be best addressed with contour plowing?

(A) The failure of terracing

(B) The excessive use of pesticides

(C) Soil erosion.

(D) Water logging

(E) Soil salinization

9. A loam soil is a mixture of

(A) 50% sand and 50% clay
(B) 40% sand, 40% silt, and 20% clay
(C) 80% sand, 10% clay, and 10% humus
(D) 100% wet clay
(E) none of these

10. The connection between farming and ecological succession is best exemplified by which of the following?

(A) Farmland is maintained permanently in a state of late succession.

(B) Farmland is maintained permanently in a state of mid succession.

(C) Farmland is maintained permanently in a state of primary succession.

(D) Farmland is maintained permanently in a state of early succession.

(E) Farmland artificially skips the first stages of succession.
11. Which of the following chemicals is associated with the problem of pesticide biomagnification?

(A) organophosphates

(B) thalidomide


(D) rotenone

(E) sulfur

12. Topsoil contains predominantly

(A) organic material

(B) mineral material
(C) plant roots
(D) insoluble minerals and sand
(E) mixed organic and mineral particles

13. Irrigation of farmland refers to which of the following?

(A) The artificial addition of fertilizers

(B) The spraying of pesticides

(C) The crossing of one or more varieties of a species to produce a hybrid offspring with particular desired quantities.

(D) The artificial addition of water

(E) The growing of plants in a nutrient-rich solution
14. Which of the following is a feature of integrated pest management?

(A) It makes use of the natural enemies of pests.

(B) It makes effective use of disease transfer organisms.

(C) It relies on the use of intermittent groundwater pumping stations.

(D) It requires intense cultivation of marginal land.

(E) It is most effective on land within 100 miles of the coast.

15. Which of the following is the best description of hydroponics?

(A) Monocultures that satisfy the per-capita food demand of a nation.

(B) The growing of plants in a fertilized water solution on an artificial substrate.

(C) The application of water and fertilizer to the soil from tubes that spray this mixture in the form of a fine mist.

(D) Fish farming making use of treated sewage.

(E) Anthropogenic crop cultures.

16. Select the statement that is true about pesticide use in the United States.

(A) DDT is the most effective anti-malarial agent used in the United States.

(B) The agricultural industry is reluctant to provide farmers with pesticides.

(C) Most farmers prefer to use hot water to sterilize crops.

(D) US homeowners use more pesticides for a given area than farmers.

(E) Pesticides of choice in the United States pose no environmental hazard.

17. The Green Revolution is most closely associated with the time period between

(A) the U.S. Civil War and World War I

(B) the beginning and the end of the Industrial Revolution

(C) World War I and World War II

(D) World War II and the present

(E) the American Revolution and the U.S. Civil War

18. Where is overnutrition most common today?

(A) In developing nations of Central Africa.

(B) In tropical nations of Asia

(C) In Pacific and Indian Ocean island nations

(D) In mountainous nations of South America.

(E) In developed nations of Europe and North America.

19. When comparing first and second generation pesticides, first generation pesticides

(A) Are not necessarily effective

(B) Are much more toxic than second generation.

(C) Include DDT and dioxin.

(D) Are preferred by ranchers.

(E) Are very expensive and rare.

20. This layer of soil is also known as the topsoil; it contains much humus.

(A) A horizon

(B) B horizon

(C) C horizon

(D) O horizon

(E) Z horizon

21. The environmental impact of a broad spectrum pesticide is greater than that of a narrow spectrum pesticide because

(A) No animals were harmed in the testing of narrow spectrum pesticides.

(B) Broad spectrum agents are all water soluble and persistent.

(C) Narrow spectrum agents affect only flying insects.

(D) Broad spectrum agents are toxic to many different species.

(E) The impact is measured in a different way for broad spectrum agents.

22. Which of the following supplies most of the world’s food?

(A) croplands

(B) rangelands

(C) aquaculture

(D) freshwater systems

(E) marine fisheries

23. Benefits of pesticide use include

(A) Reduced water use on crops.

(B) Government programs that promote nutrition.

(C) Save human lives through disease vector elimination.

(D) Reduces time for seeds to germinate.

(E) Less dirt is needed for crop rotation.

24. Using sprayers that suck in and recover pesticides is an example of

(A) targeted immunity.

(B) defoliant use.

(C) reducing pesticide migration.

(D) narrow spectrum application.

(E) chimeroplasty.

25. Soil compaction is a process which

(A) reduces aeration of the soil
(B) increases salt buildup in the soil
(C) increases the biotic diversity of the soil ecosystem
(D) increases aeration of the soil
(E) A, B, and C are correct

26. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) of 1972 required

(A) The EPA to set a tolerance levels for pesticide residues on crops that reach consumers.

(B) Transgenic crops to have prior approval before use.

(C) Chlorinated hydrocarbons to be recycled after use.

(D) More frequent applications of less toxic herbicides.

(E) Children be screened yearly for pesticide induced health deficits.
27. The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 required the EPA to

(A) eliminate the use of pesticides on US crops entirely.

(B) reduce the allowed levels of pesticide residues on food when its harmful effects on children are not known.

(C) subsidize the use of fertilizers on cash crops.

(D) increase the yields of wheat and corn in the US.

(E) screen all shipments of grain into the US for harmful biological or chemical agents

28. One way to minimize the harmful effects of pesticides is

(A) Remove warning labels to consumers.

(B) Allow consumers to appeal for more pesticide uses.

(C) Encourage farmers to recycle plastic.

(D) Consider cumulative exposures by all sources of pesticides.

(E) Bring imported foods to the United States.

29. The gradual breakdown of rock into soil particles occurs through both physical and chemical processes. The sum total of these processes is referred to as

(A) abrasion

(B) weathering
(C) leaching
(D) desertification
(E) salinization
30. Which of the following cultivation practices is likely to reduce pest damage?

(A) Crop rotation

(B) Grow crops where predators do not exist.

(C) Plow under or burn residues that harbor pests.

(D) Use slowly degrading plastic to hinder weeds.

(E) All of these choices will reduce pest damage.

31. The creation of new pest species is likely to happen when

(A) A narrow spectrum pesticide is applied only occasionally.

(B) A first generation pesticide migrates and becomes a second generation agent.

(C) All vectors carry human diseases.

(D) The original pest is removed from its niche, leaving the area open to a new species.

(E) Pesticides are applied in the springtime.

32. Controversies over the use of GMOs in food production include all of the following except

(A) They cannot be recalled.

(B) Far too little is known regarding potential harm to human health from widespread use of foods produced using GMOs.

(C) All foods produced using GMOs should be labeled to indicate that GMOs were used.

(D) GMOs have increased the yield of crops per unit area of cultivated land.

(E) Can increase development of pesticide resistant insects and plant diseases.

33. One way to reduce soil desertification is to

(A) control rainfall patterns.

(B) reduce overgrazing.

(C) remove trees that require large amounts of water.

(D) move from polyculture to monoculture.

(E) intensify use of herbicides

34. An advantage of using insect pheromones is

(A) It takes several weeks to kill the target.

(B) These chemicals work in trace amounts.

(C) Coevolution minimizes resistance.

(D) Irradiation is not effective here.

(E) It requires expert knowledge.

35. Soil texture is a measure of the

(A) proportion of its sand, silt, and clay-sized particles

(B) nutrient content of the soil
(C) water-holding capacity of the soil
(D) aeration
(E) A and B above

36. In a temperate deciduous forest biome, the soil horizon that contains leaf litter, twigs, seeds and humus is called the

(A) A horizon
(B) B horizon
(C) C horizon
(D) E horizon
(E) O horizon

37. Soil leaching involves

(A) rainwater seeping through soil and dissolving nutrients.

(B) the accumulation of organic matter in the uppermost soil layers.

(C) the elimination of pore space in soil.

(D) the microorganisms and their movements through the soil to aerate it.

(E) All of these

38. Which soil type is best suited for agriculture?

(A) clay

(B) silt

(C) sand

(D) loam

(E) gravel

39. Salinization of soil can be a byproduct of

(A) composting

(B) contour farming

(C) irrigation

(D) crop rotation

(E) terracing
40. Compared to conventional-tillage farming, conservation tillage

(A) reduces soil erosion.

(B) requires more fuel.

(C) releases more carbon dioxide into the air

(D) reduces crop yields

(E) requires heavy machinery

41. When compared to sand and gravel, small soil particles (clay and silt) have __________ pore space.

(A) more

(B) about the same

(C) less

(D) significantly more

(E) It depends on the other minerals that are present

42. Green manure is

(A) inorganic fertilizer.

(B) organic matter such as leave, food wastes, and paper that are broken down by microorganisms

(C) animal manure that is fresh

(D) freshly cut or growing green vegetation plowed into the soil

(E) the by-products of grass-fed cows

43. A person who receives an adequate number of calories but whose diet is deficient in protein and other essential nutrients suffers from

(A) undernutrition

(B) malnutrition

(C) overnutrition

(D) macronutrition

(E) famine

44. A soil texture with 30% clay, 30% silt, and 40% sand is classified as a

(A) loam

(B) clay loam

(C) silty clay loam

(D) sandy clay

(E) none of the above

45. Which of the following is not a way in which food production impacts the environment?

(A) It increases salt build up in soils.

(B) It increases erosion.

(C) It decreases biodiversity.

(D) It is energy intensive.

(E) It increases surface water quality.

46. Most meat in the United States is produced in

(A) pastures

(B) rangelands

(C) feedlots

(D) family farms

(E) fisheries

47. Compared to the current system, a more environmentally sustainable use of farm subsidies would be to

(A) eliminate agricultural pests and predators.

(B) drain wetlands to increase productive land.

(C) protect soil quality.

(D) keep water prices artificially low so farmers can irrigate more land

(E) keep grain prices low to encourage increased production on order make a profit.

48. The ideal pesticide would have all of the following characteristics except

(A) it would kill only the target pest.

(B) it is non-toxic to humans.

(C) it is inexpensive.

(D) it breaks down into less harmful components.

(E) it is persistent.

49. Another name for organic farming is

(A) high-input agriculture

(B) low-input agriculture

(C) high-yield agriculture

(D) low-yield agriculture

(E) agribusiness

50. Which of the following is not true of livestock production?

(A) It uses a large amount of water.

(B) Feedlots require the use of antibiotics.

(C) Cattle produced large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas.

(D) Globally, nearly all livestock waste is returned to the earth as fertilizer.

(E) Growth hormones are used to make up for the deficits of feeding cows a low protein diet.

51. The process of soil being washed or blown away is called

(A) aeration

(B) leaching

(C) weathering

(D) erosion

(E) percolation

52. Acid rain affects soil by

(A) decreasing soil porosity

(B) decreasing the pH

(C) decreasing soil aeration

(D) lowering nutrient capacity
(E) all of the above

53. The best general description of desertification is

(A) a productive land losing its ability to support plant growth because of reduction in water and nutrient-holding capacity due to erosion of clay and humus

(B) soil becoming more salty

(C) forests being clearcut

(D) leaching of soil nutrients because of acid precipitation

(E) changing weather patterns because of the greenhouse effect
54. Most plants grow best when the pH value of the soil is at or near

(A) 1
(B) 3

(C) 6
(D) 9
(E) 12

55. Humus refers to

(A) one of the inorganic, mineral constituents of the soil

(B) all of the soil microorganisms

(C) finely divided bits of leaves, twigs, and other litter

(D) a residue of organic matter that remains after most of the rotting and decomposition has occurred

(E) the fine particles from rock weathering

56. Soil properties that influence plant growth are their

(A) texture
(B) porosity
(C) pH
(D) salinity
(E) all of the above

57. Traditional methods of controlling erosion include

(A) strip cropping
(B) contour farming
(C) establishment of shelter belts
(D) crop rotation
(E) all of the above

58. The world-wide decrease in productive farmland is due to

(A) conversion of farmland to non-farm uses
(B) erosion
(C) buildup of salts in the soil
(D) overgrazing
(E) all of the above

59. The primary difference(s) between sand, silt, and clay soils is/ are

(A) their particle size
(B) type of parent rock from which they originated
(C) their position in the soil profile
(D) percent organic composition
(E) color 60. Overgrazing of rangelands results in

(A) decreased biodiversity of range ecosystems

(B) increased erosion of topsoil
(C) desertification of topsoil
(D) A, B, and C are correct
(E) Only B and C are correct

61. Soils with very high clay content are not suitable for agriculture without modification because of poor

(A) water-holding capacity
(B) nutrient-holding capacity
(C) aeration, water infiltration, and workability
(D) pH
(E) all of the above

62. Suppose you have a soil which is a mixture of sand, silt, clay, humus, and some stones and rock. As this soil is exposed to erosion, what part(s) are removed most readily?

(A) humus and clay
(B) sand and silt
(C) humus and sand
(D) clay and sand
(E) silt and clay

63. Cultivating more land could theoretically improve our ability to feed the growing human population. Which of these outcomes are stated incorrectly?

(A) Much potentially cultivable land is in dry areas and will require new water sources and energy to distribute the water.

(B) Clearing tropical rain forests will release a huge amount of CO2 into the atmosphere and accelerate global warming.

(C) Developing new agricultural lands for cultivation will reduce wildlife habitats and decrease biological diversity.

(D) The world's grainland area per person is expected to increase over the next four decades.

64. Sustainable agriculture or low-input agriculture is one of the key tools necessary to reduce hunger and malnutrition while reducing the environmental effects of agriculture. Strategies for implementing components of this system include all of the following except:

(A) Decrease soil erosion

(B) Increase use of more water-efficient crops

(C) Decrease overfishing

(D) Decrease the use of perennial crops

(E) Encourage integrated pest management


  1. C

  2. C

  3. B

  4. E

  5. A

  6. C

  7. E

  8. C

  9. B

  10. D

  11. C

  12. A

  13. D

  14. A

  15. B

  16. D

  17. D

  18. E

  19. A

  20. A

  21. D

  22. A

  23. C

  24. C

  25. A

  26. A

  27. B

  28. D

  29. B

  30. E

  31. D

  32. D

  33. B

  34. B

  35. A

  36. E

  37. A

  38. D

  39. C

  40. A

  41. C

  42. D

  43. B

  44. B

  45. E

  46. C

  47. C

  48. E

  49. B

  50. D

  51. C

  52. B

  53. A

  54. C

  55. D

  56. E

  57. E

  58. E

  59. A

  60. D

  61. E

  62. A

  63. D

  64. D

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