World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Environmental impact of agriculture

Article Id: WHEBN0023534209
Reproduction Date:

Title: Environmental impact of agriculture  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of renewable resources produced and traded by the United Kingdom, Population ethics, Physiological density, Malthusian catastrophe, Population dynamics
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Environmental impact of agriculture

The environmental impact of agriculture varies based on the wide variety of agricultural practices employed around the world.


Climate change

Climate change and agriculture are interrelated processes, both of which take place on a world wide scale. Global warming is projected to have significant impacts on conditions affecting agriculture, including temperature, precipitation and glacial run-off. These conditions determine the carrying capacity of the biosphere to produce enough food for the human population and domesticated animals. Rising carbon dioxide levels would also have effects, both detrimental and beneficial, on crop yields. The overall effect of climate change on agriculture will depend on the balance of these effects. Assessment of the effects of global climate changes on agriculture might help to properly anticipate and adapt farming to maximize agricultural production.

At the same time, agriculture has been shown to produce significant effects on climate change, primarily through the production and release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, but also by altering the Earth's land cover, which can change its ability to absorb or reflect heat and light, thus contributing to radiative forcing. Land use change such as deforestation and desertification, together with use of fossil fuels, are the major anthropogenic sources of carbon dioxide; agriculture itself is the major contributor to increasing methane and nitrous oxide concentrations in earth's atmosphere.[1]


One of the causes of deforestation is to clear land for pasture or crops. According to British environmentalist Norman Myers, 5% of deforestation is due to cattle ranching, 19% due to over-heavy logging, 22% due to the growing sector of palm oil plantations, and 54% due to slash-and-burn farming.[2]

In 2000 the United Nations [3]

Genetic engineering

Genetic engineering has caused controversies.

Seed contamination is problematic.


Irrigation can lead to a number of problems:[4]


A wide range of agricultural chemicals are used and some become pollutants through use, misuse, or ignorance.

Soil degradation


Plasticulture, the use of plastic materials in agriculture, raises problems around how to carry out the recycling of agricultural plastics.

Issues by region

Sustainable agriculture

The exponential population increase in recent decades has increased the practice of agricultural land conversion to meet demand for food which in turn has increased the effects on the environment. The global population is still increasing and will eventually stabilise, as some critics doubt that food production, due to lower yields from global warming, can support the global population.

Deeply moved by the lives of several farmers in Maharashtra (India), Mrs Mrunalini Bhosale is planning to moulde a Civil Society Origination to support their rehabilitation, through education, bringing in of better farming practices and other beneficiary options. As an initial step for it Mrunalini Bhosale have directed a debut movie Kapus Kondyachi Goshta which goes through the struggle of farmers and a courageous saga of women spirit.

sustainable agriculture set of practices that can have a lower impact on the environment

Other specific methods include: permaculture; and biodynamic agriculture which incorporates a spiritual element.

See also

Report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


  1. ^ "UN Report on Climate Change". Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 25 June 2007. 
  2. ^ Hance, Jeremy (May 15, 2008). "'"Tropical deforestation is 'one of the worst crises since we came out of our caves. / A Place Out of Time: Tropical Rainforests and the Perils They Face. 
  3. ^ Alain Marcoux (August 2000). "Population and deforestation". SD Dimensions. Sustainable Development Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 
  4. ^ ILRI, 1989, Effectiveness and Social/Environmental Impacts of Irrigation Projects: a Review. In: Annual Report 1988, International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI), Wageningen, The Netherlands, pp. 18–34 . On line: [1]

External links

  • [2] Holistic Management International
  • Environmental Issues in Animal Agriculture – Choices magazine article
  • [3] Website with free articles and software on environmental impacts of irrigated agriculture like waterlogging and salinization
  • Environmental Planning on Livestock and Poultry Operations describes several different planning processes that can be used on farms. It also includes links to several webcasts. Part of the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.