Since the Industrial Revolution, agricultural practices have continued to advance, and this trend has accelerated since the “green revolution” in the middle of the 20th century. At every step, improvements in agricultural methods led to enormous gains in crop yields per unit of arable land.
The Impact of Agricultural Modifications
The three ways extensive agriculture jeopardizes the fragile balance of non-agricultural ecosystems are briefly described here.
70% of the freshwater consumed by people worldwide comes from agriculture. Several types of irrigation plans are used to shift a significant amount of this water to agriculture.
By 2050, experts project that water extraction may have increased by another 15% to feed a burgeoning population.
The high harvest yields needed by such a large population are supported by irrigation.
A sizable portion of agricultural land is primarily used for cattle and other livestock. Hundreds of millions of acres are set aside for this use in the western United States, more than for any different land use, if one includes government-controlled and privately held grazing grounds.
From World War II until now, nitrogen and phosphorus-containing synthetic fertilizers have been at the core of increased farming. These chemical inputs have become essential to modern agriculture, increasing the number of people fed by global farms. They are beneficial for growing corn, wheat, and rice and are primarily to blame for the current explosion in grain agriculture.