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'Intensive farming has led to major environmental destruction'. Discuss this statement with reference to two contrasting areas.

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Introduction

Sunny Bhanot 16H 'Intensive farming has led to major environmental destruction'. Discuss this statement with reference to two contrasting areas. Introduction: With the growing world population (estimated to increase at a rate of 100 million per year) greater demand is being placed on the production of food. Coupled with this is the excessive demand and consumption of food by many richer countries. As population globally is expected to reach 9.4 billion by 2020, (International Programs Centre, US Bureau of the Census) demand for food shall continue to rise, the current population is 6.2 billion (International Programs Centre, US Bureau of the Census). One of the few remaining possibilities has been to resort to intensive farming. Intensive farming is where systems of farming are characterised by high levels of factor inputs; physical inputs - weather, climate, relief - [height, shape and aspect], soil, geology and latitude). Human inputs - machinery, fertiliser, pesticides, seeds, livestock, animal feed, workers/labour and buildings. Such systems keep land continually in use, in order to gain maximum output (grains, eggs, milk, meat etc). * Flow diagram 1: shows the physical and human inputs of farming. Environmental destruction is likely to occur where an intensive farm is unsustainable; where no considerations have been taken into outcome of certain processes made on farming systems or about the future consequences that some intensive farming methods may have upon the ...read more.

Middle

It is formed principally of glacial boulder clay overlying chalk, although large areas in the south have been reclaimed from the estuary. It has one of the fastest eroding coastlines in the world (approximately two metres per year). Collin Hogg BSc carried out a study to see what the environmental impacts of intensive livestock units (ILU's) were. I have summarised his findings into the table below. Category Main Impacts Landscape There was visual intrusion especially in the lowland landscape with little tree cover. The ILU's caused there to be a loss of important landscape features, as they were larger and more utilitarian in appearance than traditional farm buildings, and resembled an 'Industrial' nature. Water pollution There are two main sources of the water pollution; leakage of slurry or polluted water from inadequate or effluent storage, or surface water run-off arising from excessive or poorly executed disposal to land. In either case the result can be highly toxic pollution of water courses leading to fish kills, ecological damage and threats to drinking water. Pollution of groundwater and aquifers is possible. Land Pollution All animal wastes in Holderness are disposed of direct to land. This can be an agriculturally beneficial practice as long as the amount spread is balanced against the nutritional requirements of the crop. ...read more.

Conclusion

Well a case study of a cotton fields in America demonstrates that there are certain ways to cut out the major negative factors from intensive farming - pesticides. In this case more of the crop was being lost to pests each year and so an Internal Pest Management (IPM) advisor was employed to help find a solution. Common problems were pest resurgence (where pesticides kill the enemies of the pests as well which resulted in subsequent outbreaks or resurgence), secondary pest outbreak (an example is where one type of pest is killed, but then another type of pest emerges, because the type of pest killed used to keep the population of this new pest low, but now that it is dead, a new type of pest emerges - secondary pest) and evolution of resistance, (where pesticides had been applied so frequently that overtime some of the pest became immune to the pesticide). This led to the scenario where a wider range of pesticides were being used and their use was becoming more frequent. By using cultural control methods (planting alfalfa in narrow strips within the field attracted the pests, as this was a preferred food) and supplying additional nutrients to increase natural predators, the problem was resolved, at a much lower cost in terms of money and the environment than the use of pesticides. 1 ...read more.

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