Modern agriculture has vastly increased the amount of food that farms are capable of producing with great gains in efficiency, but it can also have a major negative impact on the environment. Large-scale farms are vital for keeping the world fed, but they can devastate local ecosystems through clearcutting and runoff, which often releases methane, ammonia and other toxic chemicals into the environment.Continue Reading
In order to grow crops, the natural flora of an area must first be removed. This can lead to habitat destruction and a major change in the ecological balance. Much of the destruction of the rain forests is due to the expansion of agricultural operations. Removing old-growth plants and trees can also increase erosion, remove nutrients from the soil and spur flooding. The dust storms that plagued the Midwest in the 1930s were, in part, due to over-farming of the land and clearing of natural plant cover.
Runoff from farming operations can often include toxic substances. Pesticides and ammonia are common pollutants leftover from industrial farming operations, and they may find their way into the water table through the natural water cycle. In addition, livestock farms can be a massive source of methane and other pollutants from animal waste, and if this runoff enters lakes and streams, it can trigger dangerous algae blooms and kill fish and other wildlife.Learn more about Agriculture
Fertilizers can expedite plant growth and provide economic benefits to farmers and nurseries, but they can also introduce toxic substances into the environment. Fertilizers make plants and crops grow more quickly and appear greener, fuller and healthier. However, they often contain synthetic chemicals, which do not biodegrade upon entering surrounding waterways and the atmosphere.Full Answer >
Fish farming has the advantage of providing a consistent supply of fish for food and providing a source of income and employment. Disadvantages of fish farming include possible water pollution and the need to provide feed for the fish.Full Answer >
One of the advantages of commercial farming is that it significantly increases food production, allowing local consumers to buy the same quantity of food for a lower price. Intensive commercial farming, however, uses various kinds of fertilizers and pesticides, posing a threat to ecosystems.Full Answer >
Advantages of genetically modified food products include reliable crops, more food for hungry populations and less need for pesticides. Some potential dangers of GM food products are possible damage to internal organs, unintended damage to insects who ingest altered crops and loss of safer plant seeds.Full Answer >