10 Positive Impacts of Agriculture on the Environment

 Without a doubt, Agriculture has negative impacts on the environment. However, let’s take a quick look at 10 positive impacts of agriculture on the environment.

Agriculture has tradeoffs with the benefits we derive from it, and it might not help the environment in any major way. However, some types of sustainable agriculture can reduce the negative impacts of agriculture on the environment.

Agriculture accounts for the majority of human use of land. Pasture and crops alone took up 37% of the earth’s land area in 1999. Over two-thirds of human water use is for agriculture; in Asia, the share is four-fifths.

The environmental impact of agriculture is the effect that different farming practices have on the ecosystems around them, and how those effects can be traced back to those practices.

The impacts of agriculture on the environment vary widely based on the practices employed by farmers and the scale of the practice. Sustainable agriculture practices have been adopted by Farming communities that try to reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture.

The negative impact of agriculture is an old issue that remains a concern even as experts design innovative means to reduce destruction and enhance eco-efficiency.

Though some pastoralism is environmentally positive, modern animal agriculture practices tend to be more environmentally destructive than agricultural practices focused on fruits, vegetables, and other biomass.

The emissions of ammonia from cattle waste continue to raise concerns over environmental pollution. In as much as the negative impacts are felt in the environment, agriculture still has positive impacts on the environment. When agriculture is done through natural means, it is highly beneficial.

In this article, we’ll discuss the positive impacts of agriculture on the environment.

Positive Impacts of Agriculture on the Environment

10 Positive Impacts of Agriculture on the Environment

Discussed below are the positive impacts of Agriculture on the Environment

  • Enhances Rainfall and Ecology
  • Ecosystems Preservation
  • Carbon Sequestration
  • Helps in Soil Retention and Prevention of Erosion
  • Human and Animal Health
  • Conservation of Water
  • Helps to Create Habitat
  • Boost in Soil Fertility
  • Agriculture has a role in the Water Cycle
  • Sets back Ecological Succession

1. Enhances Rainfall and Ecology

As part of agriculture, people tend to build water recharge points and grow excess plants. This leads to an improvement in rainfall. Also, appropriate cultivation enhances the population of insects and larvae.

This sets the stage for the birds to breed, as they rely on insects to feed their progeny. Farming enables both wild and domestic animals to get sufficient feed opportunities. Hence, agriculture supports ecology.

2. Ecosystems Preservation

Valuable ecosystems are maintained with the help of Agriculture. A perfect example is the extensive farming of increasingly rare permanent grasslands in Romania.

Grasslands provide habitat for a great number of animals and native plants. These areas have been almost entirely wiped out in other countries in Europe due to modern development, industrialization, urbanization, or intensive agriculture.

The importance of these grasslands has been recognized by the European Union, and the concept of High Nature Value Farmland was created to provide incentives for farmers to protect these areas and manage them accordingly.

3. Carbon Sequestration

Agriculture sequesters carbon as with any other plant; growing crops, especially perennial polyculture systems used in permaculture farming and agroforestry, add oxygen to the atmosphere as plants photosynthesize and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The more land the plant covers, the more it uses carbon dioxide to support its life functions. Carbon is also sequestered by soils, which have a natural carbon-carrying capacity that increases when soils are managed with minimum disturbance.

For example, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions states that United States arable soils currently sequester 20 million metric tons of carbon per year and their full potential can be up to 7 times higher if some soil conservation practices were applied

Furthermore, carbon can also be reduced on a livestock farm. In rotational grazing systems, animals help store carbon in the soil. Through grazing for a limited period in one area, the biodiversity of native plants increases because grasses have time to regrow equally without one species taking over and becoming invasive.

Also, richer and better quality pasture means more organic material entering soils, which makes soils healthy and increases their capacity to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

4. Helps in Soil Retention and Prevention of Erosion

Loss of soil is one of the biggest threats to our well-being, and intensive agriculture with monoculture fields is known to be one of its main contributors. Farmers, however, can reverse this damage.

In perennial systems, vegetation with deep roots helps to hold the soil together and prevent erosion. This is especially the case when farmers have constructed swales and other types of earthworks that help to stabilize steep slopes, or when applying techniques with low soil disturbance such as no-tillage.

5. Human and Animal Health

Agricultural food products provide humans with the nutrition (like protein and calories) needed to live or stay healthy, and some agricultural food products make up a majority of the world’s food, protein, and energy supply and intake.

Fibre products provide humans with products such as clothing, which are essential for warmth, protection, and other basic human needs. While raw materials like wood (from plantation forests) also obviously contribute to shelter (essential for warmth, safety, etc)

6. Conservation of Water

Modern farming methods such as strip or no-till farming, dry farming, and the planting of cover crops significantly reduce the need to irrigate.

According to researchers from UC Davis, cover crops such as rye on organic farms can retain 50% more rainwater and reduce surface runoff by 35%.

The higher the water content in the soil, the less irrigation is needed during dry spells to preserve crops, which saves significant amounts of water over the long term.

7. Helps to Create Habitat

Some species even increase in number due to agricultural activities. One such species is the North American White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), which does very well in open farm field habitat.

Agricultural systems that work in harmony with nature, such as organic, permaculture, or biodynamic farming, create diverse natural habitats. For example, open meadow habitats are important for species like waterfowl, amphibians, and pollinators.

Maintaining land for agricultural use can also prevent that land from being developed and urbanized, in areas where native species have difficulty finding original habitat.

8. Boost in Soil Fertility

Good agricultural practices also focus on the health of soils. Practices such as crop rotation, cover cropping, no-tillage, and the application of compost, improve soil fertility naturally and can even speed up the process of topsoil formation.

In addition to preventing the exhaustion of soils, and therefore, helping secure stable yields, these practices increase biodiversity of favorable soil fauna and flora.

Soils rich in organic matter and flourishing with life also contain greater concentrations of the natural enemies of pests, thus supporting the growth of more resilient crops.

9. Agriculture has a role in the Water Cycle

Plants and trees in agricultural systems help to retain and add water to underground aquifers. This process is most effective when the crops being grown are perennials that continue to grow every year and have deep, well-established root systems.

A successful strategy that has already been applied by our ancestors is to plant trees, bushes, and grasses mixed. By combining plants of different sizes, soils are evenly covered and can withstand torrential rains without being washed away.

This improves soil structure and enables rainwater infiltration. Once water enters the soil, it passes through different soil layers all the time getting rid of pollutants until it reaches groundwater reservoirs perfectly clean and safe for us to drink.

Examples of some perennial plants grown on farms are alfalfa, fruit trees, olive trees, berries, and grapes.

Together, they act as an important buffer in the landscape, preventing flooding, reducing water pollution from agricultural runoff, and preventing erosion, while providing us with nutritious food at the same time.

10. Sets back Ecological Succession

Successional habitats are needed by species to thrive in their earlier stages, such as prairies. The habitats are mostly ephemeral and can be identified by vigorously growing grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees, which need disturbance to be maintained.

Open meadow habitats, which fall under this category, and native wildflowers are important for many pollinators like birds and bees.

Without farmland, succession may need to be deliberately set back by management activities, such as prescribed burning, to help early successional species survive.

Intentional burning was one of the primary ways that native people managed the landscape in North America before European settlement to provide for their own agricultural and hunting activities.


As we are trying to meet the increasing food demand, it is important to note that it is our collective responsibility to eliminate the negative impacts of food production and focus on achieving a balance between the land’s productivity and the preservation of natural habitats.

Let’s try and practice Sustainable Agriculture to help save our environment, as its positive impacts are more than its negative impacts on the environment


Environmental Consultant at Environment Go! | + posts

Ahamefula Ascension is a Real Estate Consultant, Data Analyst, and Content writer. He is the founder of Hope Ablaze Foundation and a Graduate of Environmental Management in one of the prestigious colleges in the country. He is obsessed with Reading, Research and Writing.

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