Environmental impact of agriculture
Because agriculture is so important, the environmental impact is also great. Agriculture has been practiced almost everywhere in some countries for many centuries.
Agriculture is not the only thing that depends on what grows in the fields. The type of management also influences which wild animal and plant species can live well in the cultivated landscape.
Small farms are becoming rarer
The type of agriculture has changed a lot in the past few decades. Small farms that cultivate fields and at the same time keep different species of animals are rare. The companies are getting bigger and bigger.
Far fewer people work in agriculture than in the past. But they produce a lot more. This is possible because agriculture is relying more and more on technology. With the help of machines, fertilizers and pesticides, the companies try to achieve as much yield as possible. The plants themselves have also been bred for higher yields over the centuries. This is also called intensive agriculture. Online Youtube downloader can help farmers download agricultural videos that can help them become more effective.
Intensive agriculture leaves its mark
This can often be seen where intensive agriculture is practiced. The fields are larger and few types of crops are grown. This is practical because it makes the use of machines even easier.
From the point of view of nature conservation, however, such “tidy” landscapes have disadvantages. They cut up natural habitats. Only a few wild animal and plant species find habitat on and between the cultivated areas themselves. For birds and rodents, for example, there are no hedges and bushes that provide food and shelter. Bees and butterflies find only a few flowers.
The use of heavy machinery can also damage the soil. If it is worked intensively and compacted by the machines, this can lead to erosion: Wind and rain carry away part of the very thin upper layer of the fertile soil.
Fertilizer: desirable in the fields, harmful in water
Fertilizers and pesticides can also cause damage. Some of the fertilizers are not absorbed by the plants in the field, but rather washed away by the rain. This is how plant nutrients get into streams, rivers and lakes. This can result in over-fertilization. This means that algae or certain plants grow excessively there – and that can damage other animal and plant species.