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Overview of organic agriculture

Kristiansen, P. and Merfield, C. (2006) Overview of organic agriculture. In: Kristiansen, P.; Taji, A. and Reganold, J. (Eds.) Organic Agriculture: a Global Perspective. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, pp. 1-23.

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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).

EPrint Type:Book chapter
Keywords:organic; history; policy; research issues; funding
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Research affiliation:Other countries
Australia > University of New England
Related Links:http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/21/pid/5325.htm
Deposited By: Kristiansen, Dr Paul Erik
ID Code:14043
Deposited On:07 Sep 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:37
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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