Environmental Impacts of Modern Agriculture

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This run-off can adversely affect more people and animal wildlife. Some of the environmental impacts of agriculture include climate change, pollution, soil degradation, and deforestation.


In all ecosystems, the biodiversity held in soil is massive. Healthy soils are vital to creating ample food production.

Environmental Impacts of Agriculture and Land Reclamation

Although agriculture is not the sole cause of soil degradation, poor farming practices are known to cause a considerable decline in in the quality of soil. This mainly results from pesticide contamination, waterlogging and salting.

PSEP :: Fact sheets :: Modern Agriculture: Its Effects on the Environment

Soil erosion leads to loss of soil fertility and structure. Across the globe, cases of forests being cleared for agricultural reasons is on the rise with people seeking to increase their scales of agricultural production.

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Deforestation provides more land for crops and pasture. Deforestation enhances the effects of climate change. Destruction of habitat amongst species also leads to fragmentation and depletion. Extensive deforestation affects the water cycle, which results in interferences with precipitation. The key to protecting the environment against the harmful effects of extensive and unsafe agricultural practices is through sustainable practices.

Sustainable farming incorporates both the conservation of available resources as well as employing farming practices aimed at environmental protection.

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Yet another issue with modern farming is the amount of animal waste generated and concentrated in small areas, which creates unsanitary and potentially dangerous conditions for the animals and humans alike. And the widespread use of antibiotics on farm animals to keep disease in check results in the development of stronger strains of bacteria that resist the antibiotics used by humans to ward off infection and sickness.

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Also, many worry about the potential impacts of the widespread use of genetic engineering, whereby genes in plants, animals and microorganisms are manipulated to select for specific traits. The good news is that rapidly increasing consumer demand for healthier food is forcing agribusiness to see the wisdom of moving away from business-as-usual. Organic farming, which eschews chemical fertilizers and pesticides in favor of more natural choices, holds considerable promise for greening up our agricultural systems.

According to the U. Department of Agriculture , organic cropland acreage averaged 15 percent increases between and , although certified organic cropland and pasture accounted for only about 0.

How does agriculture affect the environment?

So we still have along way to go. Send questions to: earthtalk emagazine. Subscribe : www. Free Trial Issue : www.