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Impact of Agriculture on the Physical Environment - Loss of natural habitat.

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Introduction

Impact of Agriculture on the Physical Environment Loss of natural habitat Farming can lead to the loss of natural habitats. One of the most significant natural habitats for the UK's flora and fauna is the hedgerow. However thousands of miles of hedgerow have been removed and the rest is still under threat. The total amount of hedgerow removed or damaged is 6 x the circumference of the globe. This is destroying natural habitats and changing the very nature and look of our rural landscape. Increased mechanisation in agriculture encourages farmers to increase the size of their fields. This they do by removing hedgerows. The UK has lost over 25% of its hedgerows in the last fifty years. The USA is also concerned about the effect of hedgerow loss that is removing the habitat for several butterfly species - the monarch being one example. ...read more.

Middle

They were planted by farmers in the first place so are not traditional. P.S: 39 out of 42 hedgerow birds are beneficial to farmers. Farmers to increase the available land and reduce the potential disease from stagnant water have drained ponds. This removes another habitat for birds, fish, insects and plants. The soil itself is an ecosystem and inappropriate farming techniques can lead to soil erosion. Overgrazing, over cultivation and deforestation all damage the soil making it more prone to the effect of erosion. This can be made worse if hedgerow has been removed. The hedgerow acts as a natural windbreak and the roots help hold the soil together. In East Anglia where much of the hedgerow has been removed soil loss through erosion is twice the global average. Water will also wash away soil. ...read more.

Conclusion

Eutrophication Fertiliser and slurry are used to increase the nitrogen content of the soil so encouraging healthy plant growth. If too much is used then it can be leached into underground water supplies and rivers. This is called eutrophication. It then encourages algal and plant growth in the river or lake. This algae and other autotrophs ( brainy name for plants) multiply rapidly then die off as oxygen is used up. Bacteria then multiply as the plants decompose. These bacteria use up any remaining oxygen and produce toxic bi-products. The lack of oxygen and increased toxicity kill fish life. This can encourage even more harmful bacteria. Pesticides are another problem. Without pesticide crop yields would be drastically reduced but many objectors claim pesticides are harmful to humans. Indeed in the developing world there are countless examples of pesticide poisoning. In the UK the "Mammal Society" claim there are 24 species in danger of extinction as a consequence of pesticide use. ...read more.

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