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Agriculture Essay

1489 words - 6 pages

Agriculture’s Environmental Impact Human beings have used our earth’s natural resources to further our evolution and sustain global society. Throughout history, our relationship with agriculture has influenced our ability to cultivate crops and thus influencing the success of survival, evolution and our global community. With the basic essentials, water, soil and seeds we are able to produce food, through agriculture to maintain our society. Agriculture is a relatively new human innovative rapidly spreading across the world only 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, during the agricultural revolution (Diamond 1999, Montgomery 2007, Price & Gebauer 1995, Smith 1995). We have become completely reliable ...view middle of the document...

After the process of deforestation takes place, the land has lost all of its trees leaving the soil exposed and susceptible to the harsh climate. It is estimated that in “Brazil 55 million tons of topsoil is lost every year from erosion due to soy production” (WWF, 2006). Deforestation accelerates erosion in two ways. Firstly, the removal of trees reduces the minerals and nutrients in the soil as there is less dead organic material. Secondly, soil erosion increases, as there is no protection from the rainfall, wind and sun, meaning that the soil is looser and easier to erode. Agriculture is detrimental to the impact of the environment because soil is a nonrenewable resources meaning once the top layer of the soil containing all the nutrients is eroded it is not renewed. We need to take care of this precious resource because once it is gone we will not be able to sustain our society. I think we need to take action and follow through with our responsibilities as stewards of the earth, monitoring and control of logging companies to ensure illegal logging is not threatening our forests. The human population is not slowing down so we need to find better alternatives than destroying our diverse forests; I think we should start looking into making green roofs more common in urban areas. Green roof can help with growing vegetation, habitats for animals and absorbing rainwater. Not only will green roofs have a positive impact on the environment but it will also help us to keep ourselves grounded and aware of nature’s value so, that we do not take it for grated. Thus, it is evident that a higher demand in agriculture results in a greater rate of deforestation, which accounts for loss in biodiversity and soil erosion.

Agriculture’s Environmental Impact 3 In addition, agriculture is a major reason for the soil degradation in many areas of the world. For thousands of years, natural cycling of nutrients has occurred from soil to plants and animals to help maintain essential nutrients for plant growth in the soil. Intensive cultivation completely strip nutrients from the soil so; in order to maintain soil fertility fertilizers are incorporated into the soil. Despite the benefits of fertilizers there has been several consequences with using fertilizers such as leeching, erosion and runoff. If there is an excess of fertilizers uses (such as nitrate) or poorly time with respect to precipitation in that area it may leech into groundwater, streams and oceans, this contaminates the water. Erosion and runoff are contaminated with nitrate, which transmits pollutants into the water system and ecosystems. Pollutants that enter the ecosystem cause harm to juvenile animals, which results in mutation or death. Contamination of groundwater is a hazard because it affects our drinking water. Agriculture relies on fertilizers to maintain their practice, International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) suggest that under current conditions nitrogen fertilizer...

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