How does agriculture contribute to environmental degradation


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.

Agriculture is the leading source of pollution in many countries. Pesticides, fertilizers and other toxic farm chemicals can poison fresh water, marine ecosystems, air and soil. They also can remain in the environment for generations.


What is the environmental impact of Agriculture?

This environmental impact of agriculture is the effect of various farming practices, and it can vary greatly depending on the country we are looking at. Many critical environmental issues are tied to agriculture, such as climate change, dead zones, genetic engineering, pollutants, deforestation, soil degradation, waste, and many others.

What are the causes of environmental degradation?

While natural disasters can cause environmental degradation, more often it is the result of human activities. There are many causes of environmental degradation, nearly all of them rooted in human technology.

How does land degradation affect plants and animals?

Land and soil degradation can harm many plants. Since plants are usually quite sensitive to their natural living conditions, the contamination of soil with harmful substances may lead many plants to die off. Moreover, animals who rely on these plants will also decrease in population.

How do pesticides contribute to soil degradation?

In terms of soil and soil degradation, they are responsible for the phenomenon of erosion, which is the loss of the first soil layer. This is due to the lack of plants and trees that can keep the soil strong, but also the lack of insects which are killed by pesticides.


How does agricultural growth contribute to environmental pollution?

Agricultural pollution has many different sources. Nitrogen-based fertilizers produce potent greenhouse gases and can overload waterways with dangerous pollutants; chemical pesticides with varying toxicological effects can contaminate our air and water or reside directly on our food.

What are the negative effects of agriculture?

Top 16 Negative Effects of Agriculture on the EnvironmentSoil/Land degradation.Deforestation.Biodiversity.Climate change.Pest problems.Industrial & agricultural waste.Irrigation.Livestock grazing.More items…•

Does agriculture ruin the environment?

Agricultural livestock are responsible for a large proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions, most notably methane. In addition, overgrazing is a major problem regarding environmental sustainability. In some places, stretches of forage land are consumed so extensively that grasses are unable to regenerate.

What is the effect of agriculture on the ecosystem?

Agriculture produces more than just crops. Agricultural practices have environmental impacts that affect a wide range of ecosystem services, including water quality, pollination, nutrient cycling, soil retention, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity conservation.

How does sustainable agriculture affect the environment?

In addition to preserving the earth’s natural resources, sustainable agriculture benefits the environment through helping maintain soil quality, reducing erosion, and preserving water.

What are the environmental factors affecting agricultural production?

Environmental factors that influence the extent of crop agriculture are terrain, climate, soil properties, and soil water. It is the combination of these four factors that allow specific crops to be grown in certain areas.

What are 3 effects of agriculture on the environment?

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 does agriculture contribute to global warming?

Agriculture contributes to climate change At every stage, food provisioning releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Farming in particular releases significant amounts of methane and nitrous oxide, two powerful greenhouse gases.

What is the relationship between agriculture and 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.

How is India’s agricultural development causing environmental degradation?

Loss of soil fertility, erosion of soil, soil toxicity, diminishing water resources, pollution of underground water, salinity of underground water, increased incidence of human and livestock diseases and global warming are some of the negative impacts of over adoption of agricultural technologies by the farmers to make …

What are the pros and cons of agricultural ecosystem?

7 Pros and Cons of Conventional FarmingLesser Costs, Higher Gains. … More Job Opportunities. … Increase of Food Production. … Lower Costs of Produce. … Presence of Pesticides. … Health and Environmental Hazards. … Disadvantageous to Small Farmers.


Effects of environmental degradation on agricultural sector of Europe is examined.


Currently, one of the most significant challenges of agricultural sector of an economy is to keep pace with the world’s rapidly growing population in order to feed them. But continuous environmental degradation is posing serious threat to the agricultural production.

1. Introduction

To effectively restrict environmental consequences, there is broad consensus that stress should be directed not only at the appearance of environmental problems, but also at the larger socioeconomic drivers of those impacts, which are often overlooked ( Pendrill et al., 2019, Liu et al., 2015, Kanemoto et al., 2014 ).

3. Data and method

The investigation of the link between environmental degradation and agriculture has caught the attention of economists, policy management, and the public at large. As a result, this study tends to examine this area in the context of the agricultural sector in 35 Europian countries during 2009–2018.

4. Results and discussion

To examine the impact of the independent variables on total agricultural production, cereal production, and vegetable production, we used a sample of 350 observations for the European Union countries during 2009–2018.

5. Conclusion and policy recommendations

In this research, we address environmental degradation as one of the most urgent problems that today’s society must solve and its relationship with agricultural production.

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

How does land degradation affect the world?

Land degradation is happening at an alarming pace and is affecting regions inhabited by over one-third of the global population. This phenomenon contributes to a dramatic decline in the productivity of croplands and rangelands worldwide, thereby, threatening food security and environmental quality.

What is soil degradation?

Soil degradation is a process in which the value of the land and its biophysical environment is affected by a combination of human actions and non-natural phenomenons. The degradation comes from several sources but it is mainly from extensive agriculture.

What causes soil biodiversity decline?

Biodiversity decline. Induced by soil contamination, erosion, salinisation and sealing; Soil biodiversity reflects the mix of living organisms in the soil. These organisms interact with one another and with plants and small animals forming a web of biological activity. Soil compaction.

How much of Europe’s soil is degraded by humans?

We can consider that agriculture is responsible for 80% of the soil degradation in Europe and scientists estimate that 40% of lands in Europe are already degraded because of human actions. If playback doesn’t begin shortly, try restarting your device.

How many ha of soil are affected by human induced soil degradation?

Globally, human-induced soil degradation has affected 1965 million ha. In the case of the World’s drylands, estimates by Dregne and Chou (1992) indicated that the continents of Africa and Asia are particularly affected by land degradation.

How much of the world’s land is degraded?

The areal extent of global degraded areas varies depending on the definitions. Globally, about 24% of the global land area has been affected by degradation and over 1.5 billion people live on degraded lands. Globally, human-induced soil degradation has affected 1965 million ha.

What is the loss of soil layer?

In terms of soil and soil degradation, they are responsible for the phenomenon of erosion, which is the loss of the first soil layer. This is due to the lack of plants and trees that can keep the soil strong, but also the lack of insects which are killed by pesticides.

Why is land degradation important?

According to the UN, land degradation is one of the biggest environmental challenges, destabilizing societies, lowering food security and increasing poverty. Countries producing biofuels in response to energy security fears, adds to the food crisis as crops for biofuel replace food crops.

How does pollination affect agriculture?

Global agriculture relies heavily on pollination for crop production and is essential for around seventy-five percent of food crops across the world. A decline in wild insects caused by deforestation and climate change has sparked concern over food security among scientists. Biodiversity has irreplaceable value for food production, according to a recent worldwide study, which shows that wild pollinators are twice as effective in producing seeds and fruit on crops as honeybees. The study warns of the dangers of relying on a few managed species for pollination and underlines that further environmental degradation will have severe impacts on pollination systems. ( Guardian)

What is the UN declaration on the food crisis?

This declaration calls upon UN members and international agencies to implement short-, medium- and long-term solutions to the global food crisis. The text urges member states to increase aid to small-scale farmers in affected countries and raise investments for research to boost food production. World leaders failed to agree on the specific causes of the food crisis, including the role played by biofuel production. Instead, the declaration recommends further investigation into the impact that biofuel production has on food security. ( Food and Agriculture Organization)

How many hectares of paddy fields were destroyed by the 2011 floods?

Floods in the beginning of 2011 destroyed over 16,000 hectares of paddy fields and around ten percent of the early harvest and were followed by severe drought for most of 2012. This unpredictability is threatening farmers’ harvests and livelihood, increasing food and water insecurity.

How will heat waves affect crop yields?

Severe heat waves are having destructive effects on crop yields. Unless significant steps to curb climate change are taken, global warming will deepen the food crisis. A recent study published in Nature Climate Change indicates that if we continue on this road, wheat and soybean harvests will fall by up to 30% by 2050. Modern agricultural advancements have caused an increase in crop yields over the past 50 years; however, agro-industrial methods have heavily contributed to the release of greenhouse gases. The study shows that if global carbon and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced crop damage will improve. In light of this study, Ed Davey, the UK’s secretary of state for energy and climate change, said that it is “vital we stick with the UN climate change negotiations and secure a global legally binding deal by 2015”. (Guardian)

What is the link between the food crisis and the environment?

Environmental degradation and losses of cropland and biodiversity threaten food production. The report analyses the impact of ecocide on agricultural yield and the food system and calls for sustainable investments along with policy regulation of the food market. ( UNEP)

Why are aquifers depleting?

Many countries are suffering from aquifer depletion as they drill deep to increase food production. Aquifers are layers of water-bearing saturated rocks from which groundwater can be extracted. Overpumping aquifers temporarily inflates food production, enabling farmers to expand their harvest, but creates a food bubble that is bound to burst when water supplies shrink. Water tables are falling globally at unprecedented rates and most irrigated areas have peaked in India, China, and the US, the three biggest grain-producing countries. According to Lester R. Brown, unless countries address the growing water deficit, food bubbles will burst and create unmanageable food shortages, posing an imminent threat to global food security and political stability. ( IPS)


Quality environment is argued to be essential for ensuring food security. The effect of environmental degradation on agriculture has thus gained the attention of researchers. However, the analyses of aggregate and sectoral effect of carbon dioxide emissions on agricultural development are limited in the literature.


Kwakwa, P.A., Alhassan, H. and Adzawla, W. (2022), “Environmental degradation effect on agricultural development: an aggregate and a sectoral evidence of carbon dioxide emissions from Ghana”, Journal of Business and Socio-economic Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.


Published in Journal of Business and Socio-economic Development. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence.

1. Introduction

Agriculture plays a critical role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

2. Literature review

Climate change caused by the emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, remains one of the greatest threats to the future of humanity and ecosystems in recent times. Data show that 2015–2020 were the six warmest years on record, with greenhouse gas concentrations reaching a new high in 2019 ( WMO, 2021 ).

3. Methods

The endogenous growth theory ( Mankiw et al., 1992) posits that aggregate production (Y) is a function of real capital stock (KAP), physical labour (LAB) and technological progress (A). Thus:

4. Empirical results and discussion

In this section, the results from the data analysis are presented and discussed.


This study empirically investigates the agriculture-induced environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) hypothesis in an agrarian framework.


Environmental sustainability has been priority of most if not all economies. The necessity for management, conservation, and sustainability of the world’s flora and fauna is pertinent, especially considering the increasing global consciousness for friendlier and cleaner energy sources (Emir and Bekun 2018 ).

Conceptual framework and literature review

The environmental Kuznets (EKC) hypothesis is conceptualised as the inverse nexus between per capita income level and environmental degradation. This nexus explains the inverse consequences on the trajectory of the economic growth path and environmental quality. This argument was asserted by Grossman and Krueger ( 1991 ).


This section of this study dwells on the data selection, variables choice, and econometrics procedure that is applied in the course of the study.

Empirical results interpretation and discussions

It is pertinent to analyse the trend analysis of variables in time series econometrics to attempt to understand how the variables fare. As such, we examined the visual plot of the variables under review (Fig. 2 ).

Concluding remarks and policy implications

Climate change mitigation over the last decades has become a topical discourse for policymakers, environmental scientist, and the academics. Most if not all nations are working diligently to achieve emissions targets. As such, the present study revisits the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) hypothesis with a new perspective.

Author information

Finance and Banking Department, College of Business Dar Al Uloom University, 1 Mizan St., Al Falah, Riyadh, 13314, Saudi Arabia

What Is Environmental Degradation?

The environment is just the natural world that surrounds us. Our environment provides us with everything we need: air, food, water, and all the natural resources needed to build our civilization and keep it running.

Causes of Environmental Degradation

There are many causes of environmental degradation, nearly all of them rooted in human technology. While some are the result of the unintended consequences of technological advancement, others are examples of humans becoming too successful and efficient at resource extraction. Here are some of the ultimate causes of environmental deterioration.

Effects of Environmental Degradation

Environmental degradation has a host of negative outcomes that effect human beings both directly and indirectly. Here are just a few.

Preventing Environmental Degradation

While governments and industry are positioned to make the biggest difference in preventing environmental degradation, there are things everyone can do to reduce their impact. Try implementing some of these changes to minimize your damage to the environment.


Human activity is the ultimate driver of environmental degradation, but it doesn’t have to be. Cleaner, more sustainable technologies are being developed all the time. By minimizing your contribution to problematic activities and supporting sustainable ones whenever possible, you can do your part to preserve the environment for future generations.

What are the causes of environmental degradation?

Agricultural pollution. Another cause of environmental degradation is agricultural pollution. Since in agricultural processes, large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides are used, the soil can become degraded due to harmful components in these substances.

How does environmental degradation affect plants?

Environmental degradation can also lead to a loss of biodiversity. Land and soil degradation can harm many plants. Since plants are usually quite sensitive to their natural living conditions, the contamination of soil with harmful substances may lead many plants to die off.

Why is plastic bad for the environment?

Since plastic often has to be burned in order to get rid of it, this combustion leads to the emission of harmful gases into our atmosphere. Moreover, part of the plastic trash also ends up in our oceans where it leads to enormous water degradation and to the death of many sea animals.

How does mining affect the environment?

Mining. Mining can lead to serious degradation of the environment since for mining practices, large areas of land have to be used. This often also includes deforestation in these areas and the related adverse effects. Thus, natural habitats for many animals and plants may be destroyed due to mining practices.

What are the effects of illegal dumping?

Illegal Dumping. Illegal dumping can also cause environmental degradation since it can lead to several kinds of pollution. For example, by dumping waste into rivers, lakes or the ocean, the water gets polluted to a severe degree which in turn can lead to the contamination of many fishes and other sea animals.

Why is trash dumped in the ocean?

Trash is often just dumped in our oceans in order to get rid of it. In many poor countries, illegal dumping is also a big problem. Large amounts of industrial waste are just disposed of into nearby rivers or lakes, causing tremendous water degradation.

What is the cause of atmospheric degradation?

Atmospheric degradation occurs due to our increased consumption levels and the implied increased demand for material goods. In order to meet the demand for goods, industries have to produce large amounts …

What are the causes of crop extinction?

Deforestation is a leading cause of climate change, which is a leading cause of crop extinction. If our forests continue to vanish and release greenhouse gases into the air, crops like coffee, tea, avocados, chocolate, and bananas could be largely lost in our lifetime.

How does deforestation affect soil?

Deforestation removes vegetation, which anchors soil in place. Without enough trees, soil is vulnerable to erosion and nutrient loss. The absence of roots causes topsoil to easily wash or blow away, leading to decreased soil quality and increased landslides. It’s estimated that a third of the world’s arable land has been lost to soil erosion and degradation since 1960. Once land is cleared and roots are ripped away, cash crops like coffee and soy are planted which can make erosion worse, since their roots cannot anchor into the soil like those of a tree.

What are the effects of deforestation on the rainforest?

This extreme clearing of land results in habitat loss, amplification of greenhouse gases, disruption of water cycles, increased soil erosion, and excessive flooding. A significant amount of total deforestation occurs in rainforests, which are home to over 50 percent of plant and animal species on the planet.

Why is meat important to deforestation?

Meat production is a leading cause of deforestation. It destroys animal habitats, cripples biodiversity, and increases GHG emissions in our atmosphere. Consumers often unknowingly support deforestation by purchasing foods, animal byproducts, and wood products sourced from unsustainable operations.

How many acres of forest are cleared per day?

Deforestation is the large-scale clearing of land, generally for agriculture, industry, or transportation. Upwards of 50,000 acres of forest are cleared by farmers and loggers per day worldwide. An area equivalent to over 10,000 football fields is destroyed each day in the Amazon Basin alone. This extreme clearing of land results in habitat loss, …

What are the causes of deforestation?

Cattle ranching, animal agriculture, and logging are the leading causes of deforestation in our forests. The forest is cut to provide timber to build houses and create specialty wood products, or burned to make room for cattle grazing and feed crop production. This constant destruction of our forests threatens biodiversity, …

Why is soy production increasing?

Soy production has doubled in the past 20 years, largely because of expanding animal agriculture. Every year around 1.2 million acres of land are cleared for soy production in tropical climates, and that number will continue to climb if the world does not reduce consumption of animal protein.


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