Organic farming - Positive impact on the environment
Organic farming is the best way of making food without being a burden to the Mother Nature. Organic farming focuses more on making use of natural ecological and biological processes to obtain maximum results. In this method, every component of the local ecosystem is given an equal and prominent place. It is a course which progresses with a proper understanding of nature’s ways.
Unlike, the conventional techniques of agriculture which employ extreme ways of obtaining a bulk harvest and profits within a short duration of time, organic farming employs an environmentally sound, yet economically sustainable agricultural production system. As a result, apart from the considerable degree of economic benefits, it most significantly exerts a huge positive impact on the environment.
- Preserves biodiversity
Organic farming concept pays attention to every tiny bit of the local ecosystem. It involves subtle observations of the relationships between the soil, native plants, crop plants, microorganisms, water sources, and the atmosphere.Rather than completely rooting out any of the above, organic farming focuses on maintaining each one of them within the farm in a beneficial manner for the agricultural purposes.
Organic farms cultivate a variety of crops either as mixed cropping or in rotation depending on the condition of the soil and the climatic variations. In addition, farm animals like cattle and cows are also kept as a part of the agriculture system.
The soil ecosystem is full of biodiversity, where a number of different kinds of organisms ranging from invisible microorganisms including bacteria and virus to macro-fauna including earthworms and termites. In conventional agricultural methods, most of these organisms are destroyed by the use of strong chemical pesticides. Conversely, the organic farming ensures the maximum degree of biodiversity within the ecosystem. According to a meta-analysis done in Sweden in 2002,organic farming increases species richness, displaying on average 30% higherspecies richness than conventional agricultural systems.
- Preserves the nutrient composition of the soil
Organic farming is carried out in such a way that the soil structure and the nutrient cycles of the soil are maintained at an optimum level. Utilization of practices like mulching, composting, using green manure, crop rotation, and minimal tilling of soil ensure that the nutrient cycles of the soil are properly functional with minimal nutrient loss or soil erosion. The dung of farm animals can beeffortlessly used as manure, reducing the need for external fertilizer inputs.
- Prevents contamination of water sources
Conventional farms are characterized by utilization of a lot of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and weedicides and these chemicals result in pollution of surface and groundwater water sources. For example, when the soil contains too much nitrogen from synthetic fertilizers than the plants can absorb, it results in a process called nitrogen leaching, which in turn results in groundwater contamination and water eutrophication. On the other hand, organic farming makes use of organic fertilizers and natural methods of weed and pest control, improving the soil structure and water infiltration. In addition, it also significantly reduces the risk of groundwater pollution.
- Less contribution to global warming
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), agriculture is the main source of emission of nitrous oxides and methane into the atmosphere, which is about 10-12% of total greenhouse emissions. These greenhouse gases result in global warming, climatic change, and extreme, but unpredictable weather conditions like droughts and floods affectingthe growth of crops in return.
However, scientific data suggests that organic farming has a lower global warming potential than other conventional methods of agriculture.Two long-term comparison experiments with arable rotations in Switzerland revealed that the global warming potential of all crops was reduced by 18% in the organic systems.
Organic farming definitely does beyond producing high yield crops. It restores and maintains the natural balance of the environment while preserving the biodiversity and protecting the natural resources of the ecosystem.