Ecology and food economy

The rise of agriculture: Challenges for our diet and the environment

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Domesticating and transforming nature to produce food

Human beings have always used nature to meet their needs

The Neolithic revolution occurred around 10 000 years BCE. Humanity abandoned gathering food and moved on to agriculture. This evolved over time, as techniques and means of production improved.

The main methods developed included deforestation, irrigation and soil fertilisation, as well as control of animal and plant reproduction.


There are two main types of farming, which evolved alongside each other and address different issues: extensive and intensive farming.

Intensive farming has enabled many countries to achieve food security, making it possible to feed the population better by providing sufficient quantities of food. However, it also poses problems, such as depletion of soil fertility (thus requiring the use of ever-larger quantities of fertiliser), or reduction in biodiversity, and pollution of soil and water.

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