Fields, pastures, orchards, and growing vegetables: wherever you look, there is agriculture.
No wonder, because people need agriculture! After all, you feed on what grows in fields and plantations and on meat, milk and cheese. For some time now, in addition to food, other raw materials have also been grown, for example, so-called energy crops.
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How does agriculture affect the environment?
Since agriculture is so significant, the environmental effect is also great. Agriculture has been practiced for many centuries.
Agriculture does not only depend on what grows in the fields. Also, the type of management influences which plant species and wild animals can live well in the cultivated land.
In addition, in agriculture, the soil is worked, fields are fertilized, and pesticides are often used to protect plants. Therefore, the type of agriculture also influences how the soil, groundwater and streams, rivers and lakes are doing.
Fertilizer: desirable in the fields, harmful in water
Pesticides and fertilizers can also cause harm to the environment. Some of the nourishments are washed away by rain because they are not absorbed by the plants in the field. Plant nutrients get into the bodies of water because of this. This can cause algae and other plants to be over-fertilized. They grow excessively in the rivers and the like and that can damage plant and animal species.
Some of the nutrients also get into the groundwater. It seeps away with the rainwater, and this leads to a high proportion of the substance nitrate in the groundwater. The problem is: A large part of the drinking water is obtained from the groundwater. However, nitrate can be harmful to health in the body.
This is more environmentally friendly
For many farmers, it is still an important part of tradition today to preserve and look after nature’s treasures. Because without healthy soils and intact nature, there will be no good harvest in the long term.
Organic farming is particularly environmentally friendly. There are firm rules for organic farming. This includes handling fertilizer with particular care. In addition, artificial chemical pesticides are not allowed.