Agricultural Impacts

Agriculture is responsible for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of deforestation worldwide (“Agriculture is the Direct Driver for Worldwide Deforestation,” Science News, 2012) and is a major contributor to soil loss. As the foundation of food production, soil is a considered a non-renewable resource due to its slow generation process. Soil conserving technologies and practices are critical for reducing the detrimental effects conventional agriculture practices have on soil quality, such as “(o)ptimizing nutrient inputs to agricultural systems (that) will benefit food production and water quality protection, as well as reduce energy inputs from fertilizer production.” (The Food-Energy-Water Nexus in Agronomy, Crop and Soil Sciences, February 4, 2016) Soil degradation comes in many forms and has numerous environmental impacts. Agricultural and food production innovations and practices that result in the ability of the soil to be used for future food production is the topic of this section. See the energy use and water use sections for agricultural impacts on those sectors and the integrated approaches section for mitigating climate change through climate smart agriculture, land-use and urban planning and practices.