Over the last few decades, modern industrialised agriculture has wrought havoc on natural systems. It has razed forests, decimated biodiversity, and has done immense damage to soils. Most individual farmers may just want to turn a profit to feed their families and pay off their mortgages, but collectively, if you look at what’s happening around the world, this form of agriculture is a major contributor to the ongoing degradation of our planet.
A primary impact of agriculture is soil degradation. Land-clearing, overgrazing, the impact of heavy farming equipment, chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and irrigation, all contribute to soil degradation. This has resulted in the degradation of one-third of the world’s soils:
- 30 per cent of the world’s cropland has been abandoned over the past 40 years due to degradation and desertification,
- 52 per cent of the land used for agriculture is moderately to severely affected by soil degradation.
- 12 million hectares of cropland are lost per year (23 hectares per minute)