How does agriculture effect the environment?
- Production of sufficient human food, feed, fiber, and fuel to meet the needs of a sharply rising population
- Protection of the environment and expansion of the natural resources supply
- Sustainment of the economic viability of agriculture systems
What are the environmental impacts of Agriculture?
Agriculture can have significant impacts on the environment. While negative impacts are serious, and can include pollution and degradation of soil, water, and air, agriculture can also positively impact the environment, for instance by trapping greenhouse gases within crops and soils, or mitigating flood risks through the adoption of certain farming practices.
What is the impact of farming on the environment?
- Nutrient deficiency.
- Nutrient imbalance particularly micro- nutrients.
- Loss of organic matter.
- Water and wind erosion.
- Lowering of the ground water table.
- Soil salination.
- Groundwater contamination due to the high use of nitrogen.
What are the positive effects of Agriculture?
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How has agriculture increased?
Agricultural methods have intensified continuously ever since the Industrial Revolution, and even more so since the “green revolution” in the middle decades of the 20 th century. At each stage, innovations in farming techniques brought about huge increases in crop yields by area of arable land. This tremendous rise in food production has sustained a global population that has quadrupled in size over the span of one century. As the human population continues to grow, so too has the amount of space dedicated to feeding it. According to World Bank figures, in 2016, more than 700 million hectares (1.7 billion acres) were devoted to growing corn, wheat, rice, and other staple cereal grains—nearly half of all cultivated land on the planet.
Why is it so hard to meet the demand for accelerated agricultural productivity?
The reasons for this have to do with ecological factors. Global climate change is destabilizing many of the natural processes that make modern agriculture possible.
What is the effect of nitrogen on soil?
In addition, fertilizer application in soil leads to the formation and release of nitrous oxide, one of the most harmful greenhouse gases.
What is irrigation related to?
Irrigation has also been connected to the erosion of coastlines and other kinds of long-term ecological and habitat destruction. A huge amount of agricultural territory is used primarily as pasture for cattle and other livestock.
How much of the world’s freshwater is consumed by agriculture?
Worldwide, agriculture accounts for 70 percent of human freshwater consumption. A great deal of this water is redirected onto cropland through irrigation schemes of varying kinds. Experts predict that to keep a growing population fed, water extraction may increase an additional 15 percent or more by 2050. Irrigation supports the large harvest yields that such a large population demands. Many of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, from California’s Central Valley to Southern Europe’s arid Mediterranean basin, have become economically dependent on heavy irrigation.
What causes algae blooms in China?
Nutrient pollution is a causal factor in toxic algae blooms affecting lakes in China, the United States, and elsewhere. As excessive amounts of organic matter decompose in aquatic environments, they can bring about oxygen depletion and create “dead zones” within bodies of water, where nothing can survive.
What are the consequences of irrigation?
One of the most obvious consequences is the depletion of aquifers, river systems, and downstream ground water. However, there are a number of other negative effects related to irrigation.
How does agriculture affect the environment?
While negative impacts are serious, and can include pollution and degradation of soil, water, and air, agriculture can also positively impact the environment, for instance by trapping greenhouse gases within crops and soils, or mitigating flood risks through the adoption …
What is the challenge of agriculture?
A key challenge for the agriculture sector is to feed an increasing global population, while at the same time reducing the environmental impact and preserving natural resources for future generations. Agriculture can have significant impacts on the environment.
What are the twin challenges of ensuring global food security for a growing population?
In addition, the twin policy challenge of ensuring global food security for a growing population while improving environmental performance will require raising the environmental and resource productivity of agriculture, enhancing land management practices, minimising pollution discharges, curtailing damage to biodiversity, and strengthening policies that avoid the use of production and input subsidies which tend to damage the environment.
What are some of the best practices farmers have made?
Farmers have also made good progress in adopting more environmentally beneficial practices, such as conservation tillage, improved manure storage, or soil nutrient testing. Notwithstanding these improvements, there is still more to do, with an important role for policymakers.
Is nitrogen balance increasing in OECD countries?
Nitrogen balances are increasing in several OECD countries, farmland bird populations continue to decline and the sector’s contribution to water use and contamination is still high relative to other uses.
Is there a one size fits all solution for agriculture?
While there is unlikely to be a “one-size-fits-all” solution for dealing with environmental concerns in agriculture, as agro-ecological conditions and public preferences differ across countries, policymakers must have at their disposal a deep understanding of, and capacity to measure, the linkages between policies and outcomes in order to evaluate and achieve better environmental outcomes in a cost-effective manner.
Is agriculture a part of the OECD?
In recent years, there have been some encouraging signs that the agriculture sector of OECD countries is capable of meeting its environmental challenges. In particular, farmers in many OECD countries have made improvements in the use and management of nutrients, pesticides, energy and water, using less of these inputs per unit of land.
What are the environmental concerns of agriculture?
One of the primary environmental concerns with modern agriculture has to do with the chemicals we put on crops and what happens when those crops end up in the watershed. Pesticides and other chemicals are often used to produce more crops, and these pesticides don’t just fall on the crops and stay there: they are transported via wind and water …
What happens when we clear land for agriculture?
Forests, grasslands, and other ecosystems are converted for farmland. When we clear land for agriculture, we often lose some soil.
What is the result of eutrophication?
The result may be eutrophication, an excessive amount of nutrients in a body of water resulting in a substantial growth of plants, such as algae, and a lack of oxygen in the water because of this increase in plants. There is a finite amount of land on the planet, and agricultural practices take up a lot of land.
Where do fertilizers end up?
Fertilizers, while a nutrient for some plants, end up in streams and lakes in amounts higher than would occur naturally.
Does soil degrade over time?
Thus, the soil degrades over time. If we’re in areas with heavy rainfall, replacing forests with cropland often results in an increase in flooding. Another problem has to do with the amount of water some crops require. Agriculture is the industry with the largest water consumption.
How does agriculture affect the environment?
The Potential Negative Effects Of Agriculture On The Environment, & The Sustainable Use Of Resources. Agriculture has a positive impact on the economy, provides employment and income, and provides food and fibre production, just as a few examples of it’s benefits. But, there can be some downsides to agricultural production as well.
What are the issues related to livestock?
Issues related to livestock specifically, such as overgrazing, waste (like manure), and emissions (burping, farting, etc) Intensive or unsustainable farming practices which don’t consider long term soil health, topsoil, and other potential long term consequences.
What are some examples of land degradation?
Two examples of causes might be: – the damage done to land by ruminants such as cattle from overgrazing … leading to land degradation and topsoil erosion. – and, agricultural chemicals such as synthetic fertilizers that contain reactive nitrogen … leading to different types of pollution, such as water pollution.
What are the key variables that contribute to environmental sustainability?
Key Variables That Can Contribute To Environmental & Sustainability Issues In Agriculture. The clearing of land and forests, and conversion into farms and ranches. The use of synthetic fertilizers like nitrogen (that contain reactive nitrogen), phosphorus and potash fertilizers.
How much of the world’s rangelands were damaged by overgrazing?
wikipedia.org lists the forms and effects of land/soil degradation from agriculture in their resource. Overgrazing: More than 60% of the world’s rangelands were damaged by overgrazing during the past half century. As much as 85% of rangeland in the western US is being degraded by overgrazing.
What are the causes of water pollution?
Pollution – Water Pollution, Air Pollution, & Land Pollution. There’s a range of ways agriculture can cause pollution, such as: – Water Pollution. Agriculture is one of the leading causes of water pollution in the world – in particular nutrient pollution of nitrates and phosphates.
How much of the world’s land is used for agriculture?
About 50% of the habitable land on earth is being used for agriculture. However, compared to crops, livestock uses up a disproportionate amount of land compared to the % of the world’s caloric and protein supply that is supplies.
How does agriculture affect the environment?
The following points highlight the five main impacts of agriculture on environment. The impacts are:- 1. Degradation of Land 2. Deforestation 3. Biodiversity 4. Pest Problem 5. Disposal of Industrial & Agricultural Wastes.
How does mechanisation affect agriculture?
The mechanisation of agriculture require various energy resources such as diesel, electricity, petrol etc. Moreover, higher use of fertilizers as well, has negative impact on the ecology of the country by air pollution.
What is the degradation of land in one form or the other?
The degradation of land in one form or the other is matter of serious concern endangering sustainability of agriculture. Landslides caused by rains and flowing water in hilly areas and deforestation, overgrazing and faulty cultural practices in the forest and other plain areas expose the soil to water and wind erosions. As may be seen from Table. 1, out of total geographical area, 141.3 million hectare (10.3 per cent) area is subject to such water and wind erosions.
What is the pest problem?
Pest Problem: With the shift in crop pattern, increase in area under irrigation and higher cropping intensity, the pest problem has become very severe. The seriousness of pests has further increased by way of indiscriminate and increased use of pesticides.
What are the causes of toxicity in plants and animals?
Affluent water, smoke and un-degradable solid waste from industries and domestic uses have also been responsible for toxicity in plant and animal particularly fish and unbalanced soil nutrients which needs to be checked through treatment plants. Impact, Agriculture, Environment, Impact of Agriculture.
What are the main reasons for decline in forest wealth?
The main reasons for decline in forest wealth are: 1. Increase in population resulting in more demand for fuel wood and timber. 3. Indiscriminate siting of development projects.
What are the environmental problems caused by the depletion of vegetative cover?
The depletion of vegetative cover such as grass lands and forest tree species and similarly extinction of wild animals, birds and insects is matter of concern. According to another estimate, over 1,500 plant species, 79 mammals, 44 birds, 15 reptiles, 3 amphibians and several insects are listed as endangered.
How does agriculture affect the environment?
As we know that modern agriculture improved our affordability of food, increases the food supply, ensured the food safety, increases sustainability, and also produces more biofuels. But at the same time, it also leads to environmental problems because it is based on high input–high output technique …
Why is agriculture important?
Agriculture is an important source of livelihood because it is the process of producing food, feed, fiber, and many other desired products by the cultivation of plants and the raising of domesticated animals (livestock). It is an art of managing the growth of plants and animals for human use. Let’s study how the development in …
What is the effect of fertilizer on lakes?
Excessive use of fertilizers that consists of nitrogen and phosphorus lead s to over nourishment of the lakes/water bodies and gives rise to the phenomenon of eutrophication (EU = more, trophication= nutrition). There are many pesticides that are used for destroying pests and boosting crop production.
Why is soil salinity low?
The salinity of the soil is one of the reasons of low productivity just because of the improper management of farm drainage. In this situation, the roots of plants do not get enough air to respiration then it leads to low crop yield as well as low mechanical strength. Eutrophication.
What is modern agriculture?
Modern agriculture is an evolving approach to agricultural innovations and farming practices that help farmers increase efficiency and reduce the number of natural resources like water, land, and energy necessary to meet the world’s food, fuel, and fiber needs. The agribusiness, intensive farming, organic farming, …
Why is soil erosion important?
This leads to the loss of nutrient-rich soil that hampered productivity. It also causes global warming because the silt of water bodies induces the release of soil carbon from the particulate organic material.
Is agriculture a livelihood?
Agriculture is an important source of livelihood. However, modern irrigation techniques are largely impacting the environment. In this article, we shed some light on modern agriculture and its impact on the environment. The topic is very useful in the preparation of competitive examinations like UPSC, SSC, and State Services.
How does urban agriculture help the environment?
Urban agriculture on a small scale can help to localize food production, reducing the overall environmental footprint of our modern food systems. Benefits include lower greenhouse gas emissions, minimal transportation requirements, and reduced energy use for food production.
Why is agriculture important?
Agriculture helps preserve valuable ecosystems. A perfect example is the extensive farming of increasingly rare permanent grasslands in Romania.
How many bacteria are in one teaspoon of soil?
According to Dr. Elaine Ingham, one teaspoon of healthy soil can contain up to 1 billion helpful bacteria, while concentration in intensively farmed soils might drop to one hundred .
How does rotational grazing affect biodiversity?
Through grazing for a limited time period in one area, biodiversity of native plants increases because grasses have time to regrow equally without one species taking over and becoming invasive.
What are some examples of agricultural systems?
For example, open meadow habitats are important for species like waterfowl, amphibians and for pollinators. Some species even increase in number due to agricultural activities.
How to help early successional species survive?
Without farmland, succession may need to be deliberately set back by management activities, such as prescribed burning, to help early successional species survive.
Why is maintaining land important?
Maintaining land for agricultural use can also prevent that land from being developed and urbanized, in areas where native species have difficulty finding original habitat. The United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) created seven voluntary land conservation programs for this purpose.
What is the main cause of eutrophication?
Eutrophication – the pollution of water bodies and ecosystems with excess nutrients – is a major environmental problem. The runoff of nitrogen and other nutrients from agricultural production systems is a leading contributor.
Which country has the highest food emissions?
In the map we see the share of global food emissions that are produced in each country. The largest emitters are countries that we might expect, either because they have a large population size or are large agricultural producers. There are five countries which each contribute more than 5% to global emissions: China (13.8%); Indonesia (8.8%); United States (8.2%); Brazil (7.4%); and India (6.3%). There is then a large gap between the top five and the rest. Russia is next, but accounts for just 2.6%. [You can see each country’s emissions in absolute terms here].
How much of the world’s calories are thrown away?
Around one-quarter of the calories the world produces are thrown away; they’re spoiled or spilled in supply chains; or are wasted by retailers, restaurants and consumers. 44 To produce this food we need land, water, energy, and fertilizer inputs. It all comes at an environmental cost.
How to reduce your footprint?
Eating less meat, or switching to lower impact meats such as chicken, eggs or pork is the most effective way for individuals to reduce their dietary footprint.
Is the impact of transport small?
The impact of transport is small for most products, but there is one exception: those which travel by air.
Is it true that food is transported by plane?
This is certainly true for foods that are transported by plane. But the reality is that very little of our food is.
Agriculture Impacts Many Different Aspects of Society Overall
Greenhouse Gas Emissions & Climate Change
Globally, agriculture leads all industries in methane and nitrous oxide emissions. There’s several ways that agriculture might contribute to a changing climate: – The clearing of land of trees and vegetation (and sometimes forests) to convert them into farms, ranches and agricultural land (changing their land use) One reason for this might be that …
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Deforestation, Land Clearing, & Change in Land Use
Different types of forests (and vegetation) can be cleared for new land uses These new land uses might include agriculture, logging, palm oil plantations, cocoa plantations, and a range of other uses Farming and agriculture are actually the leading causes of deforestation globally Some of the impacts of deforestation and land clearing might involve: – Removal of trees and vegetation …
Land Degradation, & Soil Degradation
There’s many different types of land and soil degradation, but, physical and chemical degradation and contamination can be two of the broad categories When it comes to agriculture, intensive and unsustainable farming practices can degrade the land and soil over time (the structure and the quality of the land/soil) Some examples of these practices might include: – Overgrazing, harvest…
Pollution – Water Pollution, Air Pollution, & Land Pollution
There’s a range of ways agriculture can cause pollution, such as: – Water Pollution Agriculture is one of the leading causes of water pollution in the world – in particular nutrient pollution of nitrates and phosphates. Both ground water sources (like aquifers), and surface water sources (like streams, rivers, lakes, etc) can be contaminated. Water pollution mainly occurs from the ru…
General Waste Generation, & Also General Waste Pollution
Agricultural waste is one of the main types of waste in the world In general, agricultural waste needs to be managed correctly if it isn’t to end up as waste pollution There’s a range of types of agricultural waste – pesticides, fertilizers, waste water, livestock waste such as manure, veterinary medicines, and general farm waste like plastic sheets used for drip irrigation (which al…
Use of Resources
Resources are used in different ways and for different purposes in agriculture. Resource use in agriculture can sometimes be unsustainable, inefficient, or simply divert resources away from other means’ of production. The waste of food at the consumer level also contributes to wasted agricultural resources indirectly, particularly for more perishable or fresh items like fruit and veg…
Genetic Engineering & The Use of GMOs in Agriculture
Genetic engineering in agriculture can be a controversial topic when considering the potential environmental side effects. Just a few might be: Whether or not GMOs contribute to the development of super weeds (that are resistant to herbicides) Cross contamination of GMO seeds with conventional, or natural/organic seeds on the same farm, or other farms Read more about t…
A Few Other Notes on Agriculture
The impact of any agricultural process or product will differ depending on variables such as: – The individual farm or agricultural operation – The geographic region (different States or Provinces within a country, or different countries such as developed and developing countries) – The agricultural practices usd (e.g. intensive agriculture vs more sustainable agriculture, or conv…
Other Potential Effects of Agriculture
For a balanced view on the potential effects of agriculture, these guides contain some of the other potential effects: Positive Potential Positive Effects Of Agriculture On Overall Society Negative Potential Negative Effects Of Agriculture On Human, Health, Society & The Economy Potential Negative Effects Of Agriculture On Animals, Wildlife & Biodiversity Sources 1. https://en.wikipedi…