Intensive agriculture is a crisis to nature

Share |

Keskiviikko 4.5.2022 klo 17:18 - Mikko Nikinmaa


For a long time intensive agriculture was considered to be just a blessing to the humankind. The farm yields increased everywhere in the world thanks to the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers. The fear-mongering about population bomb seemed completely unfounded. Intensive agriculture could easily feed ten billion people.

This rosy dream was true as long as there were refuges for pollinating insects in areas not treated by pesticides, as long as the agricultural land remained uneroded and as long as new agricultural land had the same quality as the earlier soils. Unfortunately, none of these premises hold true any more. A recent report in Nature (Outwhaite et al.  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04644-x) shows how climate change and intensive agriculture reduce insect populations throughout the world. It is actually quite natural that the heavy use of insecticides causes insect populations to be reduced markedly, since the poisons cannot differentiate between beneficial and harmful insects. Now that there are not enough refuges, where the beneficial insects could breed to restore the populations in agricultural areas, they are decreasing quite rapidly.

Up to three quarters of plant material we eat needs insect pollination. Because of this, it is very funny that especially agriculture lobby groups have been strongly against banning of some insecticides. The short-term gains markedly outweigh the yield losses which will happen in longer term. I bet that the agricultural sector which has been against banning insecticides then screams for subsidies as pollination fails.

Another problem in addition to pollination problems is that the methods used in agriculture slowly decrease the fertility of the soil. To avoid fertility losses the fields should always be plant-covered. It would also make the fields carbon dioxide sinks throughout the year. Now they are probable carbon dioxide sources.

All in all, human race is using an increasing percentage of land area, and a large part is used for habitation and roads. This use is the worst possible for sustainability and therefore should serve as a strong reason to have population control as an important component of climate actions.

Avainsanat: pesticide, insecticide, climate change, biodiversity


Kommentoi kirjoitusta


Nimi:*

Kotisivun osoite:

Sähköpostiosoite:

Lähetä tulevat kommentit sähköpostiini