Thousands typically cows, chickens, pigs, and turkeys. Even

Thousands of years ago, farming was not money oriented giant
business, often farmers are closely connected with the environment, and both of
them had a mutual benefit. Early farms were comparatively small, and there were
no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or Genetically Modified plants (GMO) to
increase the yield; farms were more diverse with rotational system and instead
of chemicals, old farmers used natural methods to protect their crops from
insects. The methods that traditional farmers practice, such as using variety
of crops, species and lands contribute to preserve the biodiversity unlike in
industrial agriculture and food manufacturing systems; their inherent
experience about farming helped them to intently observed the changes in
environment and positively reacted to those changes (Berkes et al. 1995).

 Indispensable food necessary motivates to begin the giant livestock factories
and massive farmlands to acquire more money by rewarding immutable ecological
drawbacks. There was a significant increase in agricultural production between
1940 and 1960 due to the Green revolution; the green revolution has spread the
technologies such as pesticides, irrigation projects, and synthetic
fertilizers, which were not being used before “outside of the” developed world
(Sebby 8). Due to the agricultural revolution, besides the crops, there were
prominent changes occurred in animal farm structure; factory farms or feedlots
are created to hold large quantities of animals, typically cows, chickens,
pigs, and turkeys. Even though, the development of agricultural system could
enhance the productivity, as consequences of deforestation for agricultural
needs, using the vast amount of pesticides and fertilizers, deprived drainage
system, monoculture farming, introduction of GMO crops and improper methods of
animal waste discharge granted many complications to the environment.

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The modern agriculture suggests the industrialized formation
of farm animals, crops, and fishes that developed after the decades of World
War II, by introducing single-crop farms, fertilizers, pesticides and
facilities for the mass animal production. As coincide with the industrial
revolution, industrial agriculture had been launched to satisfy the food needs
of the global population, and after the identification of nitrogen and
prosperous essentiality of plant growth, fertilizers have been introduced to
increase productivity. Those inventions created massive changes in the
agricultural sector, and as further the development of synthetic pesticides,
gene manipulation, and hydroponics were originated to expand the agricultural
industry. The procedures of mechanical agribusiness are often money oriented,
budgetary, and political; therefore, commercial agriculture involves
agricultural machinery, new farming methods, and genetic technology to achieve
the financial goals in their production.

Highly demanding food necessities and financial goals
encouraged people to involve with the industrial farming system instead of
traditional farming methods; aftereffects of that, most of the natural forest
in the land transformed to massive agricultural factories with alienated plants
and animals. Often, these forests are cleared to grow corn, oil palm, soy,
rubber, coffee, tea, and rice among many other crops because of its higher
demand; however, knowingly or unknowingly we all contribute to forest
conversion in the consumption of everyday products. Clay states, according to
the estimation of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
(FAO), around 13 million hectares of forests are being logged for farming
per year in developing countries (48). Forests are home to thousands of plants
and animal creatures, but self-oriented humans use these primary lands to
fulfill their limitless necessities, without concern about the life of other
species. For most of the animals, deforestation means losing their primary food
source. Herbivorous constitutes a great proportion of animal population and
they all rely on large forests for their food supply. In the United States, the
growth of farming has claimed from 30 to 80 percent of edge habitat and natural
waterways since the 1930s, says Kimbrell. (2002) The book “World Agriculture
and the Environment” concluded that the “disappearance of woodlots, hedgerows,
windbreaks, and grass-covered waterways, draining of wetlands and the
channeling of many streams has eliminated the last vestiges of natural habitat
from the earth” (Clay 49). These conversions reduce the probability of
breeding, foraging, and migration of many animals, especially birds; mating is
one of the reasons behind the migration of birds, but the deforestation create
an insecure situation to build nests, and it would gradually decrease the
migration rates of birds.

Biodiversity, a combination of “bio” (life) and
“decent” variety, for the most part, indicate to the assortment and
changeability of life on Earth. Even though biodiversity is highly essential to
the earth, industrial agriculture becomes one of the major reasons for the loss
of biodiversity in the world. The methods used in industrial agriculture such
as drainage, intercropping, rotation, pesticides and fertilizers may affect
biodiversity in various ways. There is a significant loss in wetlands in many
countries through agricultural land drainage. McLaughin noted Keating’s
founding about disappearance of 90% of native wetlands in southwestern Ontario
and 70% in Prairies due to the agricultural drainage system (204). The wetlands
are habitat to many wild species; the committee of the Status of Endangered
Wildlife in Canada (FON, 1987) revealed that, “one-third of wildlife species
currently recognized as endangered, threatened, or rare” (Clay 49). Marsh
drainage, which improves agricultural land, can negatively affect
“marsh-dwelling faunal species” by directly or as a result of pollutant loads
of drainage water (McLaughin 204). Pesticides, fertilizers, and animal waste
are the main polluting factors of drainage water and these runoff chemicals,
which are highly used in industrial cultivation effect on fish species, water
birds, and other marine species. According to the United States Environmental
Protection Agency, the main compounds of modern agricultural fertilizers are
nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Due to the over-fertilization in the
agricultural lands, rivers get polluted and increased the nitrate level of the
water, and leads to eutrophication, which results in death of animals and
plants because of the lack of oxygen (Kaushik, 34). A Higher level of nutrients
enhance the growth of algae species, and after the algae die, Oxygen is
consumed to process of decomposition and thereby Oxygen level in the water gets
short; it eventually effect on other species in the water. Thus, a vast amount
of nitrogen and prosperous fertilizer can affect the soil PH level and increase
the acidity level in the soil; change of acidity level of the soil have a
negative impact on crops and thousands of living organism in the soil. Modern
agriculture is highly productive; but its environmental cost is enormous.

The use of pesticides can greatly have effect on habitat and
other species as well; even though pesticides can protect the crops from
diseases that come from insects and pests, it can greatly damage the
biodiversity on the earth by killing living organisms. Modern agriculture
largely depends on agrochemicals; pesticide is one of the most prominent
chemical compounds, which is highly used in industrial agricultural system. In
the United States, “the amount of pesticide use is nearly tripled from 215
million pounds to 588 million pounds in 1964 to in 1997” (Kimbrell 2002, as
cited in clay 53). These pesticides allowed farmers to eliminate the crop rotation
system, and facilitated to grow same demanding crop in a larger areas year
after year without rotating to gain more money. The problem of using these
pesticides is, it can create resistance to the pests, produce new pests, and
kill non-target organisms. McLaughlin concluded that, the pesticides, such as
insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals are “designed to kill
something somewhere” (206).  Most of the pesticides are not designed to
kill specific species, and therefore chemical compounds contained in pesticides
can be harmful to non-target insects, like pollinators, natural predators and
other species in different ways. Sarah E. Boslaugh notes Rachel Carson’s words,
as “pesticides should properly be called “biocides” because of their impact on
organisms other than the target pests” (Silent spring). There are some
pesticides like neonicotinoids pesticide typically applied to the seeds, and it
can be highly toxic to the songbirds and other migrating birds. Research was
done to show the effect of neonicotinoids pesticides and found that the birds
become weak within an hour when they eat less than a single corn seed, develop
stomach difficulties, and also they speedily lost 17-25% of weight depending on
the quantity, and show difficulties to find direction of their journey
(Margaret et al. 1). Even though it has been already proven the harmfulness of
pesticide, farmers are hesitant to stop the use of pesticides because of the
financial reasons.

            A
vast range of rare or endemic insects and aqua creatures also has higher risk
due to the bulk usage of pesticides and herbicides. These pesticides are often
sprayed or spread to the entire agricultural field, so, crops can absorb these
pesticides through the roots and leaves and when insect feed on these crops,
the toxic of the plant kill it. Runoff from the agricultural lands and
rainwater can carry the pesticides to the aqua environment, and it can have
effects on fishes and other marine organisms. According to Kimbrell, in the
coast of South Carolina pesticide poisoning was accredited to eliminate “half
of all the fishes” from 1977 to 1984 (2002). These pesticides are highly
harmful to all the marine species and it can affect other species as part of
the food chain. Even though it is not much visible, pesticides, especially from
insecticides, also affect soil- fauna. For example, compounds of insecticide
like carbofuran, phorate, and terbufos, which are commonly used to control soil
insects, are remarkably toxic to earthworms (Clements et al. 1986).

Biodiversity is really important to keep the stability of ecosystem by
connecting different animal and plant species, but today it has been highly
damaged by industrial agriculture, which formed to satisfy the unlimited
desires of humans. Even it is a prominent fact that the use of pesticides and
fertilizers can have a massive impact on animal creatures, and plant species,
we are still using these poisonous and dangerous chemicals to get higher
productivity from agribusiness. Even though the United States regulates the
pesticide at the national level to defend endangered species and non-target
organisms, still, the use of pesticide is dramatically increasing every year.

As a part of the biotech revolution, some multinational
companies have introduced GMO plants to reduce the chemical-intensive farming
process, and develop a sustainable farming system. GMO crop varieties can be
either resistant  to toxic pesticide or contains chemicals that are
poisonous to insects (Alteiri 60). Even farmers tend to grow GMO crops and
purchase fewer insecticides, the outcome of this novel invention had not
granted any benefit to the ecosystem. The invention of GMO crops can be harmful
to the genetic diversity of the plants because it can create genetic erosion
and may lead older varieties to become extinct. GMO crops are genetic
engineered by adding genes from herbicide-resistant crops to wild or
semi-domesticated plants. This could result in “super weeds”, and could damage
“soil organisms, and nutrient cycling” (Altieri 60). Corn and soybeans are most
prominent GMO crops in the United States, and the many of the farmers abandoned
their diverse farms to cultivate these two crops due to the higher demand of
the market. Even though, GMO crops have failed to prove the resistance to weed
and insects, the fast growing and the higher productivity increased the demand
for the GMO crops every year.  Alteiri states that, by 1997, there were
12.8 million hectares of genetically modified crops around the world. Field
trials for 72% of the 25,000 genetically modified varieties have been conducted
in the United States and Canada (60). However, today, many of the food products
and non-food products are made out using inexpensive extract versions of these
GMO commodity crops. Planting a single crop variety in a large area known as
monoculture has expanded significantly around the world. Although, cultivating
a variety of plants can naturally provide the essential nutrients to the soil,
the planting a single plant type continuously can affect the soil fertility.

The soil structure gradually becomes less nutritive for the plants, and
therefore farmers use chemical fertilizers to encourage the plant growth, but
the fertilizers can contribute to more nutrients deprive of the soil.

The soil is imperative to the entire living beings on the
earth and the growth of plants extremely depends on the quality of soil. The
natural system of decaying plants, animals, animal waste and microorganisms is
sufficient to maintain the fertility level and the structure of the soil, but
the consumption of pesticides, fertilizers, and monoculture farming can be
degraded the soil fertility. In the process of harvesting, all the hay and
straw being removed from the land rather than leaving them to decay and nurture
the soil (46). Even though plants absorb the nutrients from the soil through
the natural process, to balance the ecological system, some parts of the
animals and plants are again decomposed to the soil, but when it comes to
agribusiness there is nothing going back to the soil except chemicals. Decaying
organic matter or unavailability of the protective covering layer of plants
lead to soil erosion, which is a severe problem in industrial farming. Clay
says, “One evening of heavy rains on conventionally farmed land can erode as
much as 12 to 15 metric tons of topsoil per hectare” (46). Though erosion is
not noticeable, the rate of erosion is far more than the rebuilding of the soil
in a year and as a result of that fertile farm could transform to infertile
land or desert. Another problem that occurred by industrial agriculture is soil
degradation; soil degradation is a serious problem, which means the decline of
soil condition as a result of many human activities. As clay demonstrates, about
10 million hectares of agricultural land in the world  become uncultivable
due to erosion and other issues per year. One third of agricultural lands
existed in 1960 have already gone. (48) Deforestation, monoculture farming,
intensive harvesting, improper methods of fertilizer usage, overgrazing and
poor irrigation system are the main reasons of soil degradation.  The soil
quality is highly important to maintain the biodiversity, and in fact, the soil
holds the majority of biodiversity on the earth; when the quality of the soil
is declined by degradation, it will end up affecting all the biodiversity and
food production. Although it is easier to destroy the natural resources, it is
very difficult to get it back; clay states fixing of the degraded soil is
difficult because the soil no longer can keep sufficient moisture.( 47). The
consequences of degradation create many environmental impacts such as
salinization, loss of soil fertility, disorganized the soil structure and
increase or decrease the acidity level of the soil. It can also severely affect
microorganism in the soil and the nutrient cycling. Moreover, poor drainage
system, use of fertilizer and poor irrigation system can increase the salt
level in the soil which known as salinization. High level of salt in the soil
reduces the ability to take up the water from the land, and the land gradually
becomes less fertile. Latey concluded that, around 4.5 million acres of irrigated
farming lands in California have been affected by the increase of salt level in
the soil (43). Soil salinization is a serious problem that many countries are
facing today; it gradually decreases the fertility of the land, and can be
harmful to the crops in many ways. The soil is the main element of the earth,
and protecting the soil means protecting thousands of lives.

Industrial agriculture is expanded to satisfy the food
necessities of the global population, and therefore the water usage is greatly
increased for agricultural needs; today, agriculture becomes the largest user
of the freshwater source. According to the Ongley, globally, 70% of all surface
water supplies are being used for farming (2). In the same time industrial
agriculture contributes to pollute the fresh water and groundwater in many
ways. Agriculture is the main culprit of water pollution in the world, and it
is involved with many pollutants, such as fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides,
salts, animal waste, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Water with these chemical
substances have effects on rivers, lakes, fresh water, groundwater, and all
other ecosystems including aqua creature, microbes, animals, and plants. Clay
states the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) study saying that, the
agricultural activities are responsible for the polution of around 72% of the
rivers and 56% of lakes (51). The excessive level of nitrogen and phosphorous
is a growing problem in lakes, rivers and freshwater sources, and those
chemical compounds are accountable for enhancing the eutrophication in
freshwater. Aquatic plants, coral reefs  and other habitats could be
affected by the “Eutrophication” both in fresh and marine waters.

 (Novotny, and Olem, 1993). The explosive growth of algae in the water
streams produce harmful toxins to other marine creatures, and also it
devastates the quality of freshwater. This could cause unpleasant smell and
taste in drinking water apart from other issues like summer fish killing.

 (Palmstrom et al.1988).  Even though the earth has an abundance of
water, there is a very small percentage of water usable for humans, but because
of the inadequate agricultural system, the quality of the remaining water gets
decreased every day.

Horticulture likewise affects marine living spaces, beside
the fertilizer and pesticides, livestock waste are also having a higher impact
on aquatic life. Nutrient compounds of the animal waste and other chemical
products, which are used in agriculture, get mixed with water sources, and
create nutrient enrichment in the water; it creates a good environment for the
growth of algaes. When bacterias decompose these algies, oxygen gets dissolved
in to the water (OECD 281). This Hypoxia condition could be harmful for the
functioning of the proper ecosystem in the water  According to the finding
of OECD, Hypoxia usually affects North America during  the spring and summer
months while affecting Europe in summer and autumn (13). And these hypoxic
areas are named as dead zone; the no man’s land in the Gulf of Mexico is an
example for a dead zone and its caused by Midwestern farming pesticide runoff
and animal waste (Clay 49). For the individuals who are worried about the
worldwide condition, the associations amongst horticulture and marine
wellsprings of contamination and biodiversity misfortune have been
progressively certain. Industrial agriculture is not only affected to
earthbound creatures, it also has an impact on freshwater and marine habitats.

 

Global warming occurs due to the emission of greenhouse
gases to the atmosphere, and when these gases gathered, it increases the
temperature level in the air resulting in a warm weather. Agriculture gives
critical support to the climate change through the releasing Carbon dioxide,
Methane, Nitrous Oxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

According to some sources, Hawken and his colleagues found that, farming is responsible
for around 25% of climate changes (1999). Soil infertility is one of the
 main reasons of producing these gases; when soil get infertile, the vast
amount of chemicals added to increase the fertility level and it  can
increase the production of these gases. As a consequence of the agricultural
output such as deforestation, burning of agricultural crop waste, fossil fuel,
and livestock production can also increase the carbon dioxide emersion (Clay
57). The use of vast amount of fertilizers is also responsible for releasing
greenhouse gases to the atmosphere; a mostly nitrous oxide emission comes from
nitrate fertilizers and animal waste. Farmers often use nitrate fertilizers to
increase the productivity, but the crops do not take up the full amount of
nitrate and part of it enters the atmosphere. Livestock production and flooded
rice paddies are responsible for the highest amount of Methane emission,
Wassman and his colleague say (2000). Combination of these greenhouse gases
contribute to global warming in different ways, and the other side of that is
global warming also can negatively impact on agriculture. Animal waste and
fertilizers that contains nitrogen release Ammonia and the air pollution caused
by Ammonia is a serious problem in the United States, Europe, Russia, and China
(University of Columbia). The researchers predict that by 2100 carbon dioxide
level could increase to 540–970 parts per million temperatures to go up by
around 1.4–5.8 degrees Celsius. This can decrease the worldwide food production
(Shafer 2002). The methods we use to expand the productivity can return
negative consequences for the whole population. Air pollution, climate change
and global warming are connected to each other and the change of one factor can
negatively affect others.

The idea of the cutting edge horticultural structure and
contemporary strategies has unequivocally affected the setting of rural
innovation and generation, which thusly has prompted various natural issues.

Given the substances of private enterprise, asset-moderating practices are
demoralized and as a rule such practices are not beneficial for agriculturists,
the impact of ecological system which granted from modern agricultural system
outweigh the outcome of these practices. Farming, and society, is by all
accounts confronting extreme tradeoffs. Horticultural biological systems have
turned out to be unimaginably great at creating sustenance; however, these
expanded yields that have natural costs that can’t be overlooked, particularly
if the rates of nitrogen and phosphorus treatment triple and the measure of
land watered copies. Administration instruments for other agrarian practices,
for example, intercropping and turn to lessen pesticide utilize, appraisal of
the seriousness of vermin species rivalry preceding pesticide utilize, manure
application connected to no-till strategies or supplement spending plans, and
re-seeding enhanced fields with local vegetation, may effectively profit
agribusiness and save the nature of living space for untamed life.

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