Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Agricultural Intensification and the Environment

This story puts blame on the meat industry for largest ever "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico.

The authors of the original study are advocating reduction or elimination of meat consumption.

Others tend to think focusing more on 'low-input' agriculture is the solution. However this study finds organic farming systems have a 37% higher eutrophication potential.  (HT: Breakthrough Blog)

Note also, in the study I cite here low input agriculture is inherently coupled with large scale grain and livestock production.

This paper (using simulation) finds a land sparing and GHG mitigating effect from intensification of livestock production in Brazil.

This paper finds "investment in yield improvements compares favorably with other commonly proposed mitigation strategies. Further yield improvements should therefore be prominent among efforts to reduce future GHG emissions."


Comparative analysis of environmental impacts of agricultural production systems, agricultural input efficiency, and food choice
Michael Clark1,4 and David Tilman2,3
Published 16 June 2017 • © 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd
Environmental Research Letters, Volume 12, Number 6

To what extent does organic farming rely on nutrient inflows from conventional farming?
Benjamin Nowak1,2, Thomas Nesme1,2, Christophe David3 and Sylvain Pellerin1,2
Published 5 December 2013  2013 IOP Publishing Ltd
Environmental Research Letters, Volume 8, Number 4

Greenhouse gas mitigation by agricultural intensification Jennifer A. Burneya,Steven J. Davisc, and David B. Lobella.PNAS  June 29, 2010   vol. 107  no. 26  12052-12057

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