Industry Impacts

Impacts of Industries that Compete for Food Resources

Major industries that compete for land, soil and aquatic resources other than the agriculture and food industries vary from country to country. Industries that tend to degrade or consume large tracts of land globally include the construction, paper and energy industries through deforestation. Deforestation contributes not only to land degradation but “…accounts for around 18% of all global greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities – this is more than global emissions from transport” (“How Does Deforestation Contribute to Climate Change?” Climate Council, October 19, 2013). “The most important direct causes of deforestation include the conversion of forest lands for agriculture and cattle raising, urbanization, road construction, industrial logging, mining, oil exploitation, construction of oil and gas pipelines, shrimp farming (in the case of mangroves), fires and the construction of huge hydroelectric dams. Large-scale monoculture tree plantations to ensure the global paper industry with cheap raw material, are also a direct cause of deforestation as in many cases they have been preceded by firing or clearcutting of native forests” (“The Causes of Deforestation and Those Responsible for It”, World Rainforest Movement, August 2002.).

The energy supply chain of biofuels, hydropower, photovoltaics, wind, wave and tidal technologies, petroleum, coal and natural gas extraction and distribution have major impacts on resources required for food production. Topics that discuss technologies and practices in these industries for conserving land resources for future food production are included in this section.