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  Glossary

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M

Marginal land - Land that is relatively infertile or unproductive for agriculture without extraordinary capital inputs (such as irrigation, fertilizer).

Mass extinction - The extinction of numerous species during a relatively short period of geological time. Compare background extinction.

Microclimate - The immediate conditions surrounding and individual organism, as in a crop canopy, for example.

Microirrigation - A type of irrigation that conserves water. In microirrigation pipes with tiny holes bored into them convey water directly to individual plants. Also called drip irrigation.

Monocropping (monoculture) - The growing of a single plant species in one area, usually the same type of crop grown year after year.

Mulch - Any material such as straw, sawdust, leaves, plastic film, and lose soil that is spread on the surface of the soil to protect the soil and plant roots from the effects of raindrops, soil crusting, freezing, evaporation, and other stresses.