The impact of agriculture on the environment is significant in three ways.

It requires large quantities of clean water, which can lead to significant environmental pressures, especially in areas with water shortages. It involves water for input and releases nutrients that pollute rivers, lakes, and oceans.

This is the main driver of climate change, accounting for about a quarter of greenhouse gases.

Agriculture has an enormous impact on the environment because of its use. A large portion of the planet’s habitable lands are used for agriculture.

Agriculture has taken over large areas of land that were previously covered in forests or wildlands. The loss of habitats has led to a reduction in biodiversity. We can help wildlife to recover by reducing agricultural land use.

One of the biggest challenges we face is ensuring that everyone has access to a nutrient-rich diet sustainably. You can find data, visualizations, and writing on this page about the environmental impact of food.

The production of food has an impact on the environment in many ways

What is the effect of agriculture and food on the environment?

This visualization shows some of the most important global impacts.

  • The worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to food production.
  • Agriculture occupies half of the world’s land that is habitable. Land that is free of ice and desert is considered habitable.
  • 70% of freshwater withdrawals worldwide are used by agriculture
  • The pollution of waterways by nutrient-rich waters is 78% the result of agriculture.
  • 94% of the non-human mammal mass is made up of livestock. The livestock is 15 times heavier than wild mammals.
  • 71% of the bird biomass comes from poultry. Poultry livestock is more than three times heavier than wild birds.

The way we produce and eat our food is crucial in combating climate change. It also helps reduce water stress and pollution and restore lands to grasslands or forests.

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