Agriculture has changed much of Earth’s surface from its natural state. For at least 10,000 years, people have cut down forests to clear areas for farmland. They have dug canals and redirected water supplies to irrigate their farms. Even the crop plants and livestock animals have changed significantly from their wild ancestors through breeding. Since the 1980’s, plants and animals have also been changed through genetic engineering.
The clearing of wilderness to make room for farmland can damage topsoil and destroy fragile ecosystems. Planting monocultures and relying on only a few widespread crops threatens biodiversity, the variety of living things in the environment. Industrialized agriculture relies on large amounts of fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals, contributing to pollution. Today, agriculture has a greater impact on the environment than ever before.
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Source: Rhoades, Robert E. "Agriculture." World Book Student, World Book, 2017, www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar007880. Accessed 9 Apr. 2017.
Image source: Farm and General Services. Terinea IT Support. Flickr, 2006.