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Agriculture and loss of biodiversity

“Between 2015 and 2020, the rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million hectares per year, down from 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s. The area of primary forest worldwide has decreased by over 80 million hectares since 1990.” 

– The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)

Agricultural expansion is the primary contributor to deforestation and the loss of biodiversity. A study conducted by Chatham house has concluded that the constant conversion of forest to farmland is the main reason behind biodiversity loss. Animal agriculture has a disproportionate impact on biodiversity, land use and the environment according to a report supported by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and Compassion in World Farming.

Cattle ranching, soya and palm oil cultivation make up a huge chunk of large scale agriculture and a previously diverse species of animals found on the planet are now getting replaced with cows, goats, sheep and pigs.

“In the hypothetical scenario in which the entire world adopted a vegan diet the researchers estimate that our total agricultural land use would shrink from 4.1 billion hectares to 1 billion hectares. A reduction of 75%. That’s equal to an area the size of North America and Brazil combined,” according to a report on Environmental Impacts of Food Production by Our World Data.

Agricultural practises, mainly the industrialisation of agriculture are harming natural ecosystems with its overuse of pesticides, fertilisers and chemicals. These pollute our groundwater and water systems.

Not only cultivation, but meat production is also threatening to wipe out thousands of species in the next few decades. If the world continues to go the same way in terms of meat production and consumption, the habitats of more than 17,000 species of animals will be under threat according to research
published in the prestigious journal Nature.

A specially commissioned report by the UN released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) clearly indicates that plant-based diets provide a major opportunity to slow down the climate crisis. The only two ways to tackle this threat is by cutting down on the consumption of meat and also changing the farming methods side-by-side..


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