According to Encyclopedia Britannica, botany is “the branch of biology that deals with the study of plants, including their structure, properties and biochemical processes. Through botany the agriculture, horticulture and forestry sciences have been established. The goal of agriculture is to increase food production to supply the world’s growing population. Horticulture is the science and art involved in the cultivation, propagation, processing and marketing of ornamental plants, flowers, turf, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Forestry is the science, art and practice of understanding, managing and using wisely the natural resources associated with, and derived from forest lands.
Botany has played an important role in the world. Through the study of plants, photosynthesis was discovered. Photosynthesis is when plants convert sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into the air people breathe. If people didn’t know what photosynthesis is, they might not know how valuable plant life is on Earth. Now a lot of effort goes into conserving forests. The U.S. Forest Service was established in 1905 to provide quality water and timber to the nation. Their mission is “to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.”
Another way botany has affected the world is through agriculture. With the growing population of the world, a lot of work goes into advancement in agriculture techniques so society doesn’t starve. If people didn’t understand how fruit trees and vegetables grow through botany, society would have a much more difficult time knowing how to increase production of food crops. As agriculture progresses, people are required to play a larger role in the well-being of the food supply. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has done research to bring better quality food to the table. One example is the research involving food storage. They found sealed rooms where the chilled air is low in oxygen keeps the d’anjou pear (a highly perishable fruit) fresh for much longer. That discovery has a positive effect because now the fruit that has been picked won’t go bad and be wasted.
Horticulture is really a science and an art form. It is concerned with the individual gardener, which has a larger impact when more people participate. The American Horticultural Society encourages more people to take up gardening, therefore promoting their social responsibility. Horticulture promotes health and well-being of people.
Current botany research includes splicing genes from one plant to another and the study of cell membranes. There has been a very small portion of society that has worked toward advancements in botany. If more people tried to make a difference for good in the world, society might be a lot further advanced than it is. Forests would thrive; food, water and air quality would be better; and no more pesticides would be used. Through horticulture, more people may take up gardening and learn to live a healthier life. And much of that will be through the continued work of botany. That’s the power of science.