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Kristiansen P, Merfield C. Overview of Organic Agriculture. 2006.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/813
Overview of Organic Agriculture
"The most important factor that will enable organic agriculture to usefully contribute to food security is the attitude of decision-makers. Organic agriculture must be discussed with an open mind, with the advantages and disadvantages being clearly considered." (Wynen 1998). The acquisition of food, textiles and other resources from plants and animals has been a major concern for human societies, from the earliest days as hunter-gathers, through pastoral and swidden phases, to agrarian societies, with an associated trend away from nomadic to sedentary lifestyles. Yet as agricultural production intensified and expanded, the negative effects on the underlying resource base have also increased. The history of environmental damage caused by agriculture is well documented; impacts include air pollution from greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide; land degradation as a result of clearing, cultivation of sloping land and salinity; water pollution from fertilisers, pesticides, overuse and wetland draining; and the loss of biological and ecological diversity (Norse and Tschirley 2003). In the area of conventional weed science, for example, considerable attention has been placed on herbicides but this has not achieved a long-term decline in agricultural weed populations. Instead, farmers have become dependant on herbicides as widespread resistance in a range of weed species has emerged (Gill 2002).