The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Sequoiadendron giganteum is the sole living species in the genus Sequoiadendron, one of three species of coniferous trees known as redwoods, classified in the family Cupressaceae in the subfamily Sequoioideae, together with Sequoia sempervirens and Metasequoia glyptostroboides. Giant sequoia specimens are the most massive trees on Earth; the common use of the name sequoia refers to Sequoiadendron giganteum, which occurs only in groves on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The etymology of the genus name has been presumed—initially in The Yosemite Book by Josiah Whitney in 1868—to be in honor of Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee syllabary. An etymological study published in 2012, concluded that the name was more to have originated from the Latin sequi since the number of seeds per cone in the newly-classified genus fell in mathematical sequence with the other four genera in the suborder. Giant sequoia specimens are the most massive individual trees in the world.
They grow to an average height of 50–85 m with trunk diameters ranging from 6–8 m. Record trees have been measured at 94.8 m tall. Trunk diameters of 17 m have been claimed via research figures taken out of context; the specimen known to have the greatest diameter at breast height is the General Grant tree at 8.8 m. Between 2014 and 2016, specimens of coast redwood were found to have greater trunk diameters than all known giant sequoias; the trunks of coast redwoods taper at lower heights than those of giant sequoias which have more columnar trunks that maintain larger diameters to greater heights. The oldest known giant sequoia is 3,500 years old based on dendrochronology. Giant sequoias are among the oldest living organisms on Earth. Giant sequoia bark is fibrous and may be 90 cm thick at the base of the columnar trunk; the bark provides significant protection from fire damage. The leaves are evergreen, awl-shaped, 3–6 mm long, arranged spirally on the shoots; the giant sequoia regenerates by seed.
The seed cones are 4–7 cm long and mature in 18–20 months, though they remain green and closed for as long as 20 years. Each cone has 30–50 spirally arranged scales, with several seeds on each scale, giving an average of 230 seeds per cone. Seeds are dark brown, 4–5 mm long, 1 mm broad, with a 1-millimeter wide, yellow-brown wing along each side; some seeds shed when the cone scales shrink during hot weather in late summer, but most are liberated by insect damage or when the cone dries from the heat of fire. Young trees start to bear cones after 12 years. Trees may produce sprouts from their stumps subsequent to injury. Giant sequoias of all ages may sprout from their boles when branches are lost to breakage. A large tree may have as many as 11,000 cones. Cone production is greatest in the upper portion of the canopy. A mature giant sequoia disperses an estimated 300–400 thousand seeds annually; the winged seeds may fly as far as 180 m from the parent tree. Lower branches die from being shaded, but trees younger than 100 years retain most of their dead branches.
Trunks of mature trees in groves are free of branches to a height of 20–50 m, but solitary trees retain lower branches. Because of its size, the tree has been studied for its water pull. Water from the roots can be pushed up only a few meters by osmotic pressure but can reach extreme heights by using a system of branching capillarity in the tree's xylem and sub-pressure from evaporating water at the leaves. Sequoias supplement water from the soil with fog, taken up through air roots, at heights to where the root water cannot be pulled; the natural distribution of giant sequoias is restricted to a limited area of the western Sierra Nevada, California. They occur in scattered groves, with a total of 68 groves, comprising a total area of only 144.16 km2. Nowhere does it grow in pure stands, although in a few small areas, stands do approach a pure condition; the northern two-thirds of its range, from the American River in Placer County southward to the Kings River, has only eight disjunct groves.
The remaining southern groves are concentrated between the Kings River and the Deer Creek Grove in southern Tulare County. Groves range in size from 12.4 km2 with 20,000 mature trees, to small groves with only six living trees. Many are protected in Giant Sequoia National Monument; the giant sequoia is found in a humid climate characterized by dry summers and snowy winters. Most giant sequoia groves are on granitic-based alluvial soils; the elevation of the giant sequoia groves ranges from 1,400–2,000 m in the north, to 1,700–2,150 metres to the south. Giant sequoias occur on the south-facing sides of northern mountains, on the northern faces of more southerly slopes. High levels of reproduction are not necessary to maintain the present population levels. Few groves, have sufficient young trees to maintain the present density of mature giant sequoias for the future; the majority of giant sequoias are undergoing a gradual decline in density since European settlement. While the present day distribution of this species is limited to a small area of C
General Sherman (tree)
General Sherman is a giant sequoia tree located in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, in the U. S. state of California. By volume, it is the largest known living single-stem tree on Earth. While the General Sherman is the largest living tree, it is not the largest historically-recorded tree; the Crannell Creek Giant, a coast redwood near Trinidad, California, is estimated to have been 15 to 25% larger than the General Sherman tree by volume. That tree was cut down in the mid-1940s. Another larger coast redwood, near 90,000 cubic feet, the Lindsey Creek tree, was reported in a 1905 Humboldt Times Standard article; the General Sherman was named after the American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman, in 1879 by naturalist James Wolverton, who had served as a lieutenant in the 9th Indiana Cavalry under Sherman. In 1931, following comparisons with the nearby General Grant tree, General Sherman was identified as the largest tree in the world. One result of this process was that wood volume became accepted as the standard for establishing and comparing the size of different trees.
In January 2006 the largest branch on the tree broke off. There were no witnesses to the incident, the branch — larger than most tree trunks; the breakage is not believed to be indicative of any abnormalities in the tree's health, may be a natural defense mechanism against adverse weather conditions. While it is the largest tree known, the General Sherman Tree is neither the tallest known living tree on Earth, nor is it the widest, nor is it the oldest known living tree on Earth. With a height of 83.8 meters, a diameter of 7.7 m, an estimated bole volume of 1,487 m3, an estimated age of 2,300–2,700 years, it is among the tallest and longest-lived of all trees on the planet. List of largest giant sequoias List of superlative trees List of trees List of oldest trees National Register of Big Trees "What is the largest tree in the world?" Video of a park ranger at Sequoia National Park explaining details about the General Sherman Tree Norton, Marc. "The Karl Marx Tree: How Southern Pacific Railroad killed a socialist colony in the name of creating Yosemite National Park," Red Hills, August 27, 2014
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture known as the Agriculture Department, is the U. S. federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming and food. It aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promote agricultural trade and production, work to assure food safety, protect natural resources, foster rural communities and end hunger in the United States and internationally. 80% of the USDA's $141 billion budget goes to the Food and Nutrition Service program. The largest component of the FNS budget is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the cornerstone of USDA's nutrition assistance; the current Secretary of Agriculture is Sonny Perdue. Many of the programs concerned with the distribution of food and nutrition to people of America and providing nourishment as well as nutrition education to those in need are run and operated under the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. Activities in this program include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides healthy food to over 40 million low-income and homeless people each month.
USDA is a member of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, where it is committed to working with other agencies to ensure these mainstream benefits are accessed by those experiencing homelessness. The USDA is concerned with assisting farmers and food producers with the sale of crops and food on both the domestic and world markets, it plays a role in overseas aid programs by providing surplus foods to developing countries. This aid can go through USAID, foreign governments, international bodies such as World Food Program, or approved nonprofits; the Agricultural Act of 1949, section 416 and Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 known as Food for Peace, provides the legal basis of such actions. The USDA is a partner of the World Cocoa Foundation. Early in its history, the economy of the United States was agrarian. Officials in the federal government had long sought new and improved varieties of seeds and animals for import into the United States. In 1837 Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, a Yale-educated attorney interested in improving agriculture, became Commissioner of Patents, a position within the Department of State.
He began collecting and distributing new varieties of seeds and plants through members of the Congress and agricultural societies. In 1839, Congress established the Agricultural Division within the Patent Office and allotted $1,000 for "the collection of agricultural statistics and other agricultural purposes." Ellsworth's interest in aiding agriculture was evident in his annual reports that called for a public depository to preserve and distribute the new seeds and plants, a clerk to collect agricultural statistics, statewide reports about crops in different regions, the application of chemistry to agriculture. Ellsworth was called the "Father of the Department of Agriculture."In 1849, the Patent Office was transferred to the newly created Department of the Interior. In the ensuing years, agitation for a separate bureau of agriculture within the department or a separate department devoted to agriculture kept recurring. On May 15, 1862, Abraham Lincoln established the independent Department of Agriculture to be headed by a commissioner without Cabinet status, the agriculturalist Isaac Newton was appointed to be the first such commissioner.
Lincoln called it the "people's department." In 1868, the Department moved into the new Department of Agriculture Building in Washington, D. C. designed by famed DC architect Adolf Cluss. Located on Reservation No.2 on the National Mall between 12th Street and 14th SW, the Department had offices for its staff and the entire width of the Mall up to B Street NW to plant and experiment with plants. In the 1880s, varied advocacy groups were lobbying for Cabinet representation. Business interests sought a Department of Commerce and Industry, farmers tried to raise the Department of Agriculture to Cabinet rank. In 1887, the House of Representatives and Senate passed bills giving Cabinet status to the Department of Agriculture and Labor, but the bill was defeated in conference committee after farm interests objected to the addition of labor. On February 9, 1889, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill into law elevating the Department of Agriculture to Cabinet level. In 1887, the Hatch Act provided for the federal funding of agricultural experiment stations in each state.
The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 funded cooperative extension services in each state to teach agriculture, home economics, other subjects to the public. With these and similar provisions, the USDA reached out to every county of every state. During the Great Depression, farming remained a common way of life for millions of Americans; the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Home Economics, established in 1923, published shopping advice and recipes to stretch family budgets and make food go farther. USDA helped ensure that food continued to be produced and distributed to those who needed it, assisted with loans for small landowners, contributed to the education of the rural youth, it was revealed on August 27th, 2018 that the U. S. Department of Agriculture would be providing U. S. farmers with a farm aid package, which will total $4.7 billion in direct payments to American farmers. This package is meant to offset the losses farmers are expected to incur from retaliatory tariffs placed on American exports during the Trump tariffs.
The Department of Agriculture was authorized a budget for Fiscal Year 2015 of $139.7 billion. The budget authorization is broken down as follows: Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service Animal Damage Control (
In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only woody plants with secondary growth, plants that are usable as lumber or plants above a specified height. Trees are not a taxonomic group but include a variety of plant species that have independently evolved a woody trunk and branches as a way to tower above other plants to compete for sunlight. Trees tend to be long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old. In wider definitions, the taller palms, tree ferns and bamboos are trees. Trees have been in existence for 370 million years, it is estimated. A tree has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground by the trunk; this trunk contains woody tissue for strength, vascular tissue to carry materials from one part of the tree to another. For most trees it is surrounded by a layer of bark. Below the ground, the roots spread out widely. Above ground, the branches divide into smaller shoots.
The shoots bear leaves, which capture light energy and convert it into sugars by photosynthesis, providing the food for the tree's growth and development. Trees reproduce using seeds. Flowers and fruit may be present, but some trees, such as conifers, instead have pollen cones and seed cones. Palms and bamboos produce seeds, but tree ferns produce spores instead. Trees play a significant role in moderating the climate, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store large quantities of carbon in their tissues. Trees and forests provide a habitat for many species of plants. Tropical rainforests are among the most biodiverse habitats in the world. Trees provide shade and shelter, timber for construction, fuel for cooking and heating, fruit for food as well as having many other uses. In parts of the world, forests are shrinking as trees are cleared to increase the amount of land available for agriculture; because of their longevity and usefulness, trees have always been revered, with sacred groves in various cultures, they play a role in many of the world's mythologies.
Although "tree" is a term of common parlance, there is no universally recognised precise definition of what a tree is, either botanically or in common language. In its broadest sense, a tree is any plant with the general form of an elongated stem, or trunk, which supports the photosynthetic leaves or branches at some distance above the ground. Trees are typically defined by height, with smaller plants from 0.5 to 10 m being called shrubs, so the minimum height of a tree is only loosely defined. Large herbaceous plants such as papaya and bananas are trees in this broad sense. A applied narrower definition is that a tree has a woody trunk formed by secondary growth, meaning that the trunk thickens each year by growing outwards, in addition to the primary upwards growth from the growing tip. Under such a definition, herbaceous plants such as palms and papayas are not considered trees regardless of their height, growth form or stem girth. Certain monocots may be considered trees under a looser definition.
Aside from structural definitions, trees are defined by use. The tree growth habit is an evolutionary adaptation found in different groups of plants: by growing taller, trees are able to compete better for sunlight. Trees tend some reaching several thousand years old. Several trees are among the oldest organisms now living. Trees have modified structures such as thicker stems composed of specialised cells that add structural strength and durability, allowing them to grow taller than many other plants and to spread out their foliage, they differ from shrubs, which have a similar growth form, by growing larger and having a single main stem. The tree form has evolved separately in unrelated classes of plants in response to similar environmental challenges, making it a classic example of parallel evolution. With an estimated 60,000-100,000 species, the number of trees worldwide might total twenty-five per cent of all living plant species; the greatest number of these grow in tropical regions and many of these areas have not yet been surveyed by botanists, making tree diversity and ranges poorly known.
The majority of tree species are angiosperms. There are about 1000 species of gymnosperm trees, including conifers, cycads and gnetales. Most angiosperm trees are eudicots, the "true dicotyledons", so named because the seeds contain two cotyledons or seed leaves. There are some trees among the old lineages of flowering plants called basal angiosperms or paleodicots. Wood gives structural strength to the trunk of most types of tree; the vascular system of trees allows water and other chemicals to be di