how can we reduce the environmental impact of agriculture



Soil conservation methods, such as contour planting or no-till farming, reduce levels of soil erosion, as these methods help to keep the soil in place during heavy rains or floods, which is an increasing concern due to climate change.Sep 17, 2020

How can we reduce Agriculture’s emissions?

 · Recommending best practices to growers that can improve their sustainability and reduce their environmental impact including: Stewardship measures: good agricultural practices such as buffer strips, tillage practices, cover crops or drift and… Integrated Pest Management: a holistic and systemic …

Why promote environmentally sustainable agriculture?

 · Sustainable Ways Farmers can Reduce Impact on Environment Improve Energy Efficiency. Farms, like all businesses, can require large amounts of energy to perform effectively. Develop A Management Plan. With farming, it is crucial to be fully aware of your current situation to improve any future… …

How does agriculture affect the environment?

The need to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, including dairy production, requires changes in the management strategy and methods of production of dairy systems. Dairy farms …

How is the environment changing the way farmers farm?

 · Irrigation. Worldwide, agriculture accounts for 70 percent of human freshwater consumption. A great deal of this water is redirected onto cropland through irrigation schemes …


What is the environmental impact of agriculture?

Agriculture contributes to a number larger of environmental issues that cause environmental degradation including: climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, dead zones, genetic engineering, irrigation problems, pollutants, soil degradation, and waste.

How can farmers reduce agricultural pollution?

Farmers can reduce NPS pollution from irrigation by improving water use efficiency. They can measure actual crop needs and apply only the amount of water required. Farmers may also choose to convert irrigation systems to higher efficiency equipment.

What are the solutions to agricultural problems?

Below are the top solutions to the Problems of Agriculture: Provision of Adequate Education to Farmers. … Provision Large Area of Land to Farmers. … Reducing of the Cost Farmer Inputs to Farmers. … Encouragement of the Gender and Age in Farming Sector. … Farmers should be Encourage to Join Co-operative Society.More items…•

What are 10 ways to reduce pollution?

10 Best Ways to Reduce Air PollutionUsing public transports. … Turn off the lights when not in use. … Recycle and Reuse. … No to plastic bags. … Reduction of forest fires and smoking. … Use of fans instead of Air Conditioner. … Use filters for chimneys. … Avoid usage of crackers.More items…•


Why is agriculture important to the EU?

It also permits more efficient carbon storage in the soil. Agriculture accounts for 70% of all water use. Given that many scientists predict worsening drought and hotter temperatures around the globe, agriculture will need to adapt to climate change if the EU is to meet its ambitious energy and climate agenda.

How does biotechnology help farmers?

Biotechnology can play a major role in helping farmers overcome challenges such as protecting crops against insects, weeds and disease, as well as battling vagaries of the weather. Much can be achieved without resorting to environmentally-harmful products and processes or over-reliance on irrigation, contributing to more sustainable farming …

What are the advantages of GM crops?

Advocates of biotechnology list many advantages of GM crops in addition to increased yields. They point to innovative second-generation products which are either already grown in countries outside Europe or still in development – such as ‘Golden Rice’, a variety designed to contain extra beta-carotene and so alleviate vitamin-A deficiency.

What is the only crop grown in the EU?

At present, only one such crop for food use is authorised for commercial cultivation in the EU. That crop is MON 810 maize, developed and marketed by US company Monsanto; the only country where it is grown to any significant extent is Spain.

Is maize drought tolerant?

Drought-tolerant maize could be available to farmers within a few years, providing yield stability during periods of low rainfall by mitigating the effects of water scarcity. Herbicide-tolerant GM crops could help farmers save fuel by reducing the need to plough fields before planting, while insect-resistant crops will require less pesticide – together leading to more carbon-emission reductions.

Is biotechnology a part of EU agriculture?

Biotechnology looks set to continue to have a place in EU farm policy, particularly as an innovation-based science within the EU 2020 smart growth strategy. With the Commission’s November 2010 Communication on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), it is clear that a key priority after 2013 will be greater integration of environmental concerns, particularly the use of sustainable farming to help mitigate climate change and a mandatory ‘greening’ component within direct farm payments.

Does biotechnology reduce pesticides?

While there are longstanding disagreements over the merits of biotechnology for reducing pesticide use, there is some evidence that , in Europe at least, farmers have managed to cut down on pest control costs when growing biotech crops. At present, only one such crop for food use is authorised for commercial cultivation in the EU. That crop is MON 810 maize, developed and marketed by US company Monsanto; the only country where it is grown to any significant extent is Spain.

How does agriculture affect the Earth?

Agriculture production is the major driver of destabilizing the earth system towards or over the boundary of a safe operating space for humanity ( Rockström et al., 2009a, b ). Five of the nine planetary boundaries ( Steffen et al., 2015) are either at high risk (biosphere integrity, biogeochemical flows) or at increasing risk (land system change, fresh water use, global warming). Agriculture also contributes to changes in remaining planetary boundaries, which are still in the safe zone ( Campbell et al., 2017 ).

How can dairy farmers reduce their environmental impact?

The need to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, including dairy production, requires changes in the management strategy and methods of production of dairy systems. Dairy farms need to be managed as ‘whole’ systems with the environmental impact of the system, sustainability and efficiency of production per unit of dairy product, and animal welfare standards, all being important factors. In the future, systems will need to be more sustainable and less reliant on the importation of purchased concentrate feeds. Many plant species can be grown on the farm to produce either forage or combinable grain crops with the potential to improve the energy or protein content of the diet. However, many of these species have not been evaluated fully or subjected to breeding programmes to improve their key traits and more research is required to exploit fully the potential of these plants. Globalisation and the removal of trade barriers indicate that the milk price paid to dairy farmers will continue to be low irrespective of whether the milk is destined for the liquid or processing markets. This trend suggests that dairy farmers may have to consider new strategies to ensure their businesses remain viable in the future. One option is to minimise costs by establishing larger dairy units where milk volume and low production costs are the key factors with the milk sold and marketed away from the farm. An alternative option that is increasingly being undertaken is to both produce and process the milk within the same business, with the marketing of the dairy products aimed at niche markets that will often be within the same geographical location as the dairy farm. Niche markets require high-quality products and further research is required to improve the shelf life of dairy products, enhance flavour and establish a closer link between the producer and consumer. This improves the understanding of the ‘whole system’ and boosts confidence in the benefits dairy products can provide in the human diet.

What is sustainable intensification?

Sustainable intensification has been defined as “simultaneously raising productivity, increasing resource use efficiency , and reducing negative environmental impacts of agriculture” ( Bolton and Crute, 2011 ). For example, De Klein et al. (2012) identified, through modeling of a database of farm system information, that by incorporating targeted mitigation strategies into pastoral dairy production systems increases in milk production without a concomitant increase in nitrogen leaching and greenhouse gas emissions is theoretically possible and needs to be tested in the field. Currently, there are few catchmentscale examples that demonstrate increased production and economic wealth while simultaneously maintaining highquality surface waters in intensive agricultural settings, highlighting that sustainable intensification remains a continuing challenge.

Why has the percentage of the US population engaged in farming declined significantly since 1900?

The percentage of the US population that is engaged in farming has declined significantly since 1900 due to mechanization and consolidation of farming operations.

How has agriculture changed over time?

2.19 ). Mechanization, enhanced understanding of genetics, plant and animal breeding, and use of fertilizers, pesticides, and animal medications have led to increased productivity without an overall expansion in the amount of land used in agriculture . However, how and where we farm has changed across the United States. A comparison of the history of agriculture in two states tells the story of farming in the United States.

What do North Carolina farmers produce?

North Carolina farmers produce about half of the tobacco produced in the United States and contribute to animal food production. Source: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics, 2007 Census of Agriculture, US Census Bureau 2012, Settlement in Iowa by European Americans began in the early 1800s.

How has agriculture evolved?

The evolution of agriculture within the states has been influenced by social, economic, and political factors. Each of the 50 states has a history of agriculture production that is interwoven with the culture and people of that state. A comparison of two states, Iowa and North Carolina, illustrates the differing progression of agriculture in states of similar land size.

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.

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 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 much land is used for growing corn?

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.

Which country is the leading producer of nitrogen fertilizers?

They are particularly effective in the growing of corn, wheat, and rice, and are largely responsible for the explosive growth of cereal cultivation in recent decades. China, with its rapidly growing population, has become the world’s leading producer of nitrogen fertilizers.

What is sustainable agriculture?

The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform explains that sustainable agriculture “is the efficient production of safe, high quality agricultural products, in a way that protects and improves the natural environment, the social and economic conditions of farmers, their employees and local communities, and safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species.” Collectively, these goals are in place to ensure food security for all. Specifically, however, these goals deserve careful attention to guarantee we reach sustainability. While each carry significant weight in delivering sustainable results, attention to the environment encourages us to ponder the ways in which we can give back to nature in the way that it has given to us. To be sure, sustainable agriculture should improve the environment from which it grows.

How does food security help the environment?

The World Food Bank makes efforts to positively impact the environment through improved storage methods, reducing post-harvest loss through conscious integration of all sectors within our global agriculture systems. This helps to create a balanced and mutually-beneficial ecosystem that lifts smallholder farmers out of poverty, allowing for the efficient distribution of food to those who need it without detrimental environmental impacts.

How much of Africa’s rainforest is lost?

Africa is home to 25 per cent of the world’s remaining rainforests and 17 per cent of all forests, and these provide habitat for much of the region’s biodiversity. But the continent lost an estimated 15.6 million hectares of forest between 2010 and 2015, driven largely by agricultural expansion.

How can agriculture reduce environmental impacts?

The appropriate means of reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture while ensuring sufficient production to meet growing global demand are contested. Some commentators have suggested that the use of technologies, such as robotics and gene editing, can increase yields while using fewer agro-chemicals, and less land and water; with lower emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and water pollutants. 1,2,3,4,5,6 Others propose regenerative agriculture approaches. These are defined as a system of principles and practices that generates agricultural products, sequesters carbon and enhances biodiversity at the farm scale. 7 It involves a agri-environment practices to restore soils, increase biodiversity, improve water quality and enhance provision of other ecosystem services, 8,9 such as minimising ploughing, eliminating bare soil and encouraging water percolation. 7 Regenerative agriculture includes encouraging plant diversity, such as through agroforestry, planting trees across arable or pasture fields, and integrating crop and livestock management on farms, such as the use of livestock manure to maintain soil nutrient levels. 9 Some commentators also argue that both approaches will be required. 10,11

How does agriculture affect biodiversity?

The production of crops and livestock is a major driver of biodiversity loss, occupying 50% of the global habitable land surface (excluding ice covered land, etc.). 12 This has led to the fragmentation of habitats, degrading their condition and the connectivity between them (the extent to which species or other environmental resources, such as nutrients, can move between similar habitat patches). 13,6,14 Cropland even occurs in many protected areas in temperate zones. 15 Some evidence suggests that balancing demands for land between agriculture and biodiversity may be possible. 16 But there are risks that, in areas where production is intensified, biodiversity costs could affect ecosystem service provision. 17,18 The appropriate ways of increasing land productivity while minimising environmental impacts, such as increasing biodiversity within agricultural systems, 11 continue to be debated. A three-way approach of high yield high intensity, low intensity low yield, and protected natural habitats has been suggested. 19 The EU intends to reduce fertiliser use by 20% and pesticides by 50% in Europe, with a quarter of farmed land to be organic by 2030. 20 The EU also aims to reduce the land needed for crops and livestock, planting 3 billion trees and restoring 25,000 km of rivers. 21 However, this may result in increased food imports from countries with less regulation to protect biodiversity. 22 Modelling of the consequences of a 100% shift to organic food production in England and Wales showed that meeting supply shortfalls would increase overseas land use and lead to greater GHG emissions. 23

How does agroecology help biodiversity?

Agroecology measures can increase biodiversity and provision of ecosystem services, 31,32,33 without reducing yields or income . 34 Examples of agroecology measures include growing woody species beside crops to increase insect pollinators, 35 using plant species to chemically inhibit weeds within crop rotations, 36 and diverse wildflower strips for pollination services. 37 For example, global demand for vegetable oils is projected to increase by 46% by 2050. But a systems approach combining gene editing to create drought-resistant oil palm varieties, growing other crop plants alongside to support biodiversity and using crop waste to produce insect and fungal protein might reduce impacts. However, there has been little research on vegetable oil crop trade-offs. 38,39

What is the role of isoleucine residue in wheat?

Degen, G, et al. (2020). An isoleucine residue acts as a thermal and regulatory switch in wheat Rubisco activase. The Plant Journal, vol 103 (2), pgs 742-751

How many areas of change are there in the UK?

Experts have helped us identify 30 areas of change to help the UK Parliament prepare for the future.

How do plants adapt to their environment?

Plants have evolved to adjust their growth according to external and internal environmental signals, limiting their growth and productivity. A suite of genes and proteins that limits a leaf’s ability to efficiently use solar energy has been identified, which could be gene edited to enhance crop productivity. 40 Research has also identified: genetic changes to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis, increase growth and use less water; 41 genes in plants that could help agricultural crops collaborate better with underground fungi and reduce dependency on phosphorus fertiliser; 42 agro-chemical substances that could be used to increase plant resistance to pests; and plant hormones that could be used to control herbicide-resistant weeds. 43,44 However, such knowledge has yet to be applied in agricultural practice.

What are the threats of weeds?

Storkey, J, et al. (2021). Agricultural intensification and climate change have increased the threat from weeds. Global Change Biology.

How has agriculture responded to human history?

In the course of human history, agriculture has responded to humanity’s greatest challenges. The sector has increased food production to a level that many believed impossible. The sector now has an opportunity to make yet another major contribution to humanity’s success during this crucial window for action.

What will be the main emissions reductions in 2050?

by 2050 compared with business-as-usual emissions—a reduction of about 20 percent of total emissions from agriculture, forestry, and land use change. Moreover, the top 15 measures by abatement potential would contribute 85 percent of this emissions abatement and touch four major categories: energy, animal protein, crops, and rice cultivation.

What is marginal abatement cost curve?

A marginal abatement cost curve offers a perspective on how 25 proven GHG-efficient farming technologies and practices could reduce emissions by about 20 percent by 2050.

Is agriculture a part of climate?

Agriculture is also significantly less consolidated than other sectors; reducing emissions requires action by one-quarter of the global population. Finally, the agriculture sector has a complicated set of objectives to consider alongside climate goals, including biodiversity, nutrition need, food security, and the livelihood …

Why is land and water important in agriculture?

For agriculture to be sustainable, land and water must be used efficiently to reduce negative impact on the environment and ensure resilience to climate change.

Which countries have supported small payments to farmers for environmentally friendly practices?

Projects in Costa Rica, Colombia and Nicaragua have supported the use of small payments to farmers for environmentally-friendly practices, which has contributed to increased productivity, carbon sequestration, water quality and biodiversity.

How does the Bank of Kenya help farmers?

In Kenya, the Bank has helped farmers use a wide range of techniques to improve soil on 45,000 hectares of lan d. It also works to improve links between farmers and carbon markets through programs that encourage climate smart agriculture as a way to generate additional income for livestock production, among other activities. Projects in Costa Rica, Colombia and Nicaragua have supported the use of small payments to farmers for environmentally-friendly practices, which has contributed to increased productivity, carbon sequestration, water quality and biodiversity.

What is the goal of CSA?

The goal is to maximize productivity, improve livelihoods and minimize negative environmental impact. Put more simply, we can use natural capital without using it up. One such approach is “ Climate-Smart Agriculture ” or CSA which has huge potential to increase productivity, enhance resilience, and lower our footprint.

Leave a Comment