Effect of Agriculture on Our Environment

2102 WordsJun 9, 20059 Pages
Effects of Agriculture on the Environment Introduction: Agriculture has changed dramatically, especially since the end of World War II. Food and fibre productivity rose due to new technologies, mechanization, increased chemical use, specialization and government policies that favoured maximizing production. These changes allowed fewer farmers with reduced labour demands to produce the majority of the food and fibre. Humans, like all other species, exploit their surroundings for the resources they need to survive. Our current exploitation of the world, however, is greater than those of most species. There are many reasons for this exploitation but we will focus on one and that is our technology, which is used for various purposes. Like a…show more content…
Soils disturbed by ploughing and cultivation are flat to erosion by water runoff and wind. Much of the eroded sediment eventually is deposited in streams, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. When the sediments enter waterways, habitat quality for aquatic plants and animals may decline, as well as water quality for human use. The effects of erosion are also felt elsewhere in the environment. Eroded soil clogs streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, resulting in increased flooding, decreased reservoir capacity, and destruction of habitats for many species of fish and other aquatic life. The eroded soils contain nutrients and other chemicals that are beneficial on farm fields, but can harm water quality when carried away by erosion. As a result, drinking water supplies may contain nitrate or organic chemicals in concentrations that exceed public health standards or surface waters may become clogged with excessive plant growth from the added nutrients. Farmland should be allowed to recover by allowing it to remain uncultivated and letting natural progression take place. Soil erosion can also be reduced by actively bringing back the original vegetation type. However, soil forming processes can be very slow. Removing highly erodible land from production is another way that can be used to reduce soil erosion. A variety of ploughing and cultivation techniques can be used to reduce soil erosion. These include contour ploughing (following topographic contours) and
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