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Over the years, anything “organic” is associated with something healthy. This explains why organic labeled food sells at a higher price compared to others. As more people learn about the benefits of organic herbal farming, it is becoming popular. Not only is organic herbal farming beneficial to humans alone but the environment as well.
Organically grown vegetables, for instance, have a good taste and are nutritionally beneficial. When you consider that many people are now aware of the chemical residues’ hazards from pesticides and other chemicals used in farming, they will limit their exposure to such food.
There are research series that continue to shed light with strong evidence on the numerous benefits of organic herbal agriculture to man and the environment. Before dissecting the details of organic agriculture, the definition will help lay a good foundation.
The central idea behind organic herbal farming is based on agriculture ecosystem management and not external agricultural inputs. In other words, the system eliminates the use of synthetic inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, genetically modified breeds and seeds, vet drugs, preservation, irradiation, and additives.
Rather than using the systems above, the system adopts site-specific management practices to boost soil fertility, control erosion, and fight disease.
Here are the benefits of organic herbal farming to the environment:
The Organic Trade Association once advised that if every US farmer could switch to organic farming, it will eliminate 500 million pounds of harmful and persistent pesticides from getting to the environment per year.
There are several detrimental effects of pesticides and other chemicals:
Organic farming, however, encourages the use of natural products like compost fertilizers and the planting of disease-resistant plants. With this, man can reduce the chemicals that get into the atmosphere.
Practices that enrich and build the soil, such as cover crops, crop rotations, inter-cropping, organic fertilizers are primal to organic practices. This practice supports flora and fauna, which improves soil formation, thereby creating a stable system for farming.
The system also recycles the soil’s nutrients and energy, alongside its ability to retain water, which replaces mineral fertilizers’ absence. This is a vital management control that plays a terrific role in controlling soil erosion. Since soil erosion reduces, biodiversity increases, reducing nutrients’ loss as the soil is less susceptible to erosion. All this leads to good soil productivity.
In addition to building healthy soil, organic herbal farming also helps deal with erosion. There was a study that compared two wheat fields that have been treated with chemicals and the other cultivated organically. The study revealed that the organic field had eight extra inches of topsoil than the field treated chemically.
Erosion is a serious issue that affects land, food production, and supply. Organic herbal farming, however, proves helpful in reducing it. Cultivation of cannabis plants is an organic farming practice as well. The long roots of the cannabis plant can also fight erosion as it fuses the soil. Since it does not need chemicals to survive, it enriches the soil.
Over the years, the natural ecosystem provides a conducive habitat for plants and animals. The diverse system was a result of evolution that has happened millions of years ago. The farming system and many choices humans (like deforestation) made over the years have led to the degradation and disappearance of the ecosystem, leaving animals with a little home. The use of chemicals to get rid of pests and weeds leads to more issues.
A lot of wildlife prefers to live in the rainforest. The cultivation of kratom in the rainforest of Southeast Asia provides a habitat for many wildlife to thrive. On the other hand, organic farming has a less harmful impact on the environment. It encourages the thriving of earthworms and other organisms that are essential to the health of the soil.
According to a study from the scientific journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, it was revealed that Organic vineyards located in Spain had a lot of butterflies and plants compared to others not cultivated organically.
Another way organic farming is beneficial is the reduction in air pollution since there is less carbon footprint. Also, since little herbicides and insecticides are sprayed, chemicals that get into the atmosphere reduces drastically. Such chemicals affect the environment by contributing to the greenhouse gases available.
According to a study, organic farming can help reduce climate change by restricting carbon to the soil that would have been released into the atmosphere. A joint research work between The organic Center and the National Soil Project at Northeastern University compared more than 1,000 soils from conventional and organic farms. The aim was to understand how each cultivation method (the organic and traditional farming practice) affects the soil’s organic carbon. The findings revealed that organic farming had more carbon in the soil, preventing it from leaching into the atmosphere than conventional farming principles.
Most, if not all, fertilizers have Nitrogen as their key component. Continuous use in the conventional farming system has increased over the years. As a result, about 67% of this nitrogen ends up in land and water bodies, affecting the environment, leading to acid rain, damaging forest, and a crucial role in climate change.
Its pollution affects biodiversity negatively, which harms the soil and forest. On the other hand, organic farming does not depend on synthetic-based chemicals, reducing how Nitrogen is leached into the environment.
For humans to have sustainable agriculture, organic farming needs to be embraced as it benefits the environment tremendously and man. The world population is increasing, which translates to an increase in demand for food. This makes it essential to subscribe to a sustainable practice that can help with food availability and ensure that the environment and natural resources can satisfy human needs in the future.
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