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Unit 5

5.10 Consequences of Agricultural Practices

2 min readmay 19, 2020

Pooja Kalyan


As you probably know, agricultural practices can have a wide range of consequences, whether it's environmental or societal, but in this section, we’ll get into the specifics. 

Environmental Effects of Agriculture 

  • Overgrazing 
    • Grassland is grazed so much that the vegetation and topography are permanently damaged
  • Desertification 
    • The fertile land becomes desert-like, oftentimes a consequence of over-cultivation of deforestation 
    • Existing vegetation becomes stripped away and soil loses vital nutrients 
  • Overfishing 
    • Over-exploitation where fish are reduced to below acceptable levels 
  • Pesticides 
    • DDT is a major example 
    • Have harmed wildlife and polluted our waters 
  • Soil Salinization 
  • Pollution 
  • Conservation efforts (to preserve the environment) 

Changing the Physical Landscape

  • Slash and burn/Shifting Cultivation
    • Large scale slash-and-burn is detrimental to the environment
    • Cutting down trees (reducing biodiversity)
    • Burning their stumps (damages the soil) 
  • Terrace Farming 
    •  Rainwater saturation (too much water absorbed into the ground) could lead to mudslides 
    • Can lead to greater soil erosion if not managed properly 
  • Irrigation 
    • Can result in salinization, increasing the salt content of the soil
      • Leads to a decrease in crop yield and soil fertility 
    • Land submergence - the collapse of land because of too much ground water be pumped to the surface 
  • Draining wetlands 
    • Done to increase farmland but...
    • Decreases biodiversity in plants and animals 
  • Pastoral Nomadism 
    • Overgrazing of fields leads to vegetation depletion 

Societal Effects of Agriculture 

  • Changing diets 
  • Role of women in agriculture production and consumption
    • Food gathering -> farming -> managing agribusiness 
    • Different types of food are being consumed (would you like pomegranate, some coffee, or perhaps some edamame?) 
    • Food is being prepared in new ways (mmm stir fried veggies!) 
  • The purpose of agriculture (geared towards the economy) 
    • Although agriculture was once geared toward individual consumption, it has since shifted to global consumption. Agriculture has become a necessary component of our economy and the purpose of agriculture has become increasingly focused on profits.

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