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UNECE Regional Workshop on Agri -Environmental Statistics (in cooperation with FAO & EUROSTAT) Budva (Montenegro), 13-15 May, 2013 Impact of Agriculture on the Environment. Salar Tayyib FAO Regional Statistician for Europe and Central Asia.
UNECE Regional Workshop on Agri-Environmental Statistics(in cooperation with FAO & EUROSTAT)Budva (Montenegro), 13-15 May, 2013Impact of Agriculture on the Environment
FAO Regional Statistician
for Europe and Central Asia
Dramatic change in agriculture since end of World War II following the “Green Revolution” (most markedly as of the 60’s):
Today agriculture accounts for the major share of human use of land.
Not an unmixed blessing:
The FAO definition of sustainable agricultural:
“The management and conservation of the natural resource base, and the orientation of technological and institutional change in such a manner as to ensure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for present and future generations.
Such development conserves land, water, plant and animal genetic resources, is environmentally non-degrading, technically appropriate, economically viable and socially acceptable."
Unsustainable farming affects the basis for its own future
through land degradation, salinization,
over-extraction of water and
reduction of genetic diversity in crops /livestock.
Unsustainable agricultural (esp. intensive mono-crop systems)
and certain aquaculture practices
present a great and immediate threat to species and ecosystems.
Negative environmental impacts from unsustainable farming :
Erosion clogs & pollutes waterways:
Deforestation also leads to soil erosion and increased flooding.
Agriculture and deforestation
contribute by about 30%
of all global GHG emissions
Percentage of annual nitrogen emissions from different sources (1998):
(adapted from 1998 studies)
Burning of plant biomass: major source of air pollutants
(incl. carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide & smoke particles)
Human activity is responsible for about 90% of biomass burning through the deliberate burning of forest vegetation, of pastures and of crop residues to promote re-growth and destroy pest habitats
The loss of genetic diversity reduces the potential for modern crops to adapt to, or be bred for, changing conditions – directly threatening long-term food security
Biodiversity is lost when overall area available for wildlife is reduced and natural habitats fragmented due to:
without sufficient understanding of their overall impacts.
- can lead to bacterial resistance in the animals and in the environment, and can be passed on to bacteria that infect humans
- the effects of growth hormones in the production of meat may be passed on to people
Cotton is the largest money-making non-food crop produced in the world
- in developing countries, estimates suggest that
half of the total pesticides used on all crops
are applied to cotton
of irrigated land in the world.
- many areas devoted to cotton growing are experiencing serious salinisation(alkaline soil)
- Half of the irrigated land in Uzbekistan has lost productivity due to salinisationfrom
higher risks of landslides and erosion damage
- Hardest hit will be small-scale farmers and other low-income groups in areas prone to drought, flooding, etc. and fishers affected by falling catches caused by higher sea temperatures and shifts in currents (and over-fishing!)
from rising sea levels
are currently poor
and may not enjoy the resources
to pay for flood protection