International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics > Vol 18 > Issue 1-2

The Environmental Impacts of Agriculture: A Review

R. Karina Gallardo, School of Economic Sciences, Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Washington State University, USA,
Suggested Citation
R. Karina Gallardo (2024), "The Environmental Impacts of Agriculture: A Review", International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics: Vol. 18: No. 1-2, pp 165-235.

Publication Date: 31 Jan 2024
© 2024 R. K. Gallardo
Environmental economics
JEL Codes: Q50Q54Q59
Agricultureimpactenvironmentmitigationadaptationassessment methodsclimate change


Open Access

This is published under the terms of CC-BY.

In this article:
1 Introduction 
2 Agricultural Contributions to GHG Emissions 
3 Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forests 
4 Agriculture's Impact on Biodiversity and Wild/Nondomesticated Species 
5 Agriculture's Impact on Water Quality and Quantity 
6 Pesticides' Impact on the Environment 
7 Selected Approaches to Assess Agriculture's Environmental Impact 
8 Agriculture Adaptation 
9 Conclusions 


Agriculture and the entire food production system play a critical role in sustaining the human species. However, as we strive to secure our means of subsistence, our extensive use of land and water has led to the depletion of the environment and biodiversity. This raises the pressing question of whether we can sufficiently produce food to support a growing population while simultaneously mitigating the inevitable environmental impacts. This article presents a comprehensive review of the significant effects of agriculture on the environment including contributions to greenhouse emissions, land use and land-use change, and forests, impact on biodiversity, impact on water quality and quantity, and the impact of pesticide use. The article also offers a list of approaches used to measure and evaluate the impact of agriculture. The primary aim of this article is to comprehensively review the latest insights in the field and to stimulate further research in this area.