What environmental benefits does organic agriculture produce?
Long-term sustainability Many of the changes that have been observed in the environment are long-term and slow. Organic agriculture takes into account the medium and long-term effects of agricultural interventions in the agroecosystem.
It is proposed to produce food while establishing an ecological balance to protect soil fertility or avoid pest problems. Organic agriculture assumes an active approach instead of facing problems as they arise.
- Soils In organic agriculture, soil enrichment practices, such as crop rotation, mixed crops, symbiotic associations, cover crops, organic fertilizers and minimum tillage, which benefit the fauna and flora of the soil, are fundamental. soil, improve the formation of this and its structure, promoting more stable systems. In turn, it increases the circulation of nutrients and energy, and improves the capacity for retention of nutrients and water in the soil, which compensates for the lack of mineral fertilizers. These management techniques are also important to combat erosion, reduce the time period in which the soil is exposed to it, increase the biodiversity of the soil and reduce the loss of nutrients, which helps to maintain and improve the productivity of the soil. ground. The emission of nutrients from crops is usually offset by renewable resources of agricultural origin, although it is sometimes necessary to add potassium, phosphate, calcium, magnesium and oligoelements from external sources to the soil.
- Water. In many agricultural areas, pollution of groundwater streams with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is a major problem. As it is forbidden to use these substances in organic agriculture, they are replaced with organic fertilizers (for example: compost, animal manure, green manure) and through the use of greater biodiversity (with respect to cultivated species and permanent vegetation), which improve the structure of the soil and the filtration of the water. Well-managed organic systems, with better capacities to retain nutrients, greatly reduce the danger of groundwater contamination. In some areas where pollution is a major problem, the adoption of organic agriculture is encouraged as a means of restoring the environment (for example, by the governments of France and Germany).
- The air: Organic agriculture reduces the use of non-renewable energy by reducing the need for agrochemicals (whose production requires a large amount of fossil fuels). Organic agriculture has helped to mitigate the greenhouse effect and global warming through the ability to retain carbon in the soil. Many management practices used for organic agriculture (such as minimum tillage, the return of crop residues in the soil, the use of vegetables and rotations, as well as the greater integration of legumes corresponding to nitrogen fixation ) Increases the return of carbon in the soil, which increases productivity and promotes carbon storage.
- Biodiversity Organic farmers are the guardians of biodiversity as well as employees, at all levels. In the plane of genes, we prefer seeds and traditional and adapted varieties, for their greater resistance to diseases and climate pressures. On the plane of species, the various combinations of plants and animals optimize the cycles of nutrients and energy for agricultural production. Regarding the ecosystem, we maintain the natural areas in and around the cultivation fields, as well as the chemical inputs, the adequate habitat for the flora and fauna. The frequent use of underutilized species reduces the erosion of agrobiodiversity and the creation of a healthier gene pool, which is the basis of future adaptation. By providing structures that offer food and shelter, and those that are not available pesticides, the property of the arrival of new species or the other previous parts return to colonize the organic zone, the species of flora and fauna -like some birds – and the beneficial organisms for the organic system, such as pollinators and predators of pests
- Ecological services The repercussions of organic agriculture on natural resources favor an interaction with the agroecosystem that is vital for agricultural production and for the conservation of nature. The ecological services that are obtained are:
• Conditioning and stabilization of the soil
. • Reuse of waste
• Carbon retention.
• Circulation of nutrients.
• Pollination and habitat supply. By preferring organic products, the consumer promotes, with its buying power, a less polluting agricultural system.
They reduce the hidden costs of agriculture for the environment, from the point of view of the degradation of resources.