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Critical impact assessment of organic agriculture

By Biao Xie, XiaoRong Wang, ZhuHong Ding, YaPing Yang

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Abstract

Based on its production guideline, organic agriculture has set for itself the goals of minimizing all forms of pollution and maintaining sustainability of the farming system. By striving for these goals, organic farming meets the demands of an increasing number of consumers who are critical of conventional production methods. This paper gives an overview of the present state of the art in the different issues. Possibilities of and limitations in performing the self-aimed goals under the basic standards of organic agriculture are discussed. Concerning environmental protection, in general, the risk of adverse environmental effects is lower with organic than with conventional farming methods, though not necessarily so; with reference to soil fertility and nutrient management, organic farming is suited to improve soil fertility and nutrient management markedly on the farm level; regarding biodiversity, comparison studies show that organic farming has more positive effects on biodiversity conservation; in relation to product quality, under the basic standards of organic farming, there is no sufficient evidence for a system-related effect on product quality due to the production method.

Date 2003
Publication Title Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
Volume 16
Issue 3
Pages 297-311
ISBN/ISSN 1187-7863
DOI 10.1023/A:1023632201788
Language English
Author Address School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjin, 210093, China. biaox@hotmail.com
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Tags
  1. Agriculture
  2. Biodiversity
  3. Biological resources
  4. Ecological agriculture
  5. Environment
  6. Farms
  7. natural resources
  8. nutrients
  9. organic culture
  10. organic farming
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. soil
  13. sustainability
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  1. peer-reviewed