The use of biotechnology in agriculture has fewer effects on ecology as compared to the traditional farming because it results in the production of higher yields on less land. Biotechnology is one of the ways through which natural systems can be upgraded. Herren states that biotechnological research results in the development of herbicide tolerant, disease and pest resistant plants this as a result increases farmland biodiversity while reducing the need for spraying, an aspect that greatly minimizes pressure on fragile wildlife ecosystems (p, 245). Herbicide tolerant and pest resistant crops offer farmers a wider flexibility in weed and pest control.

This however, is not the case with conventional farming where crops require early weeding, pest and disease control in order to thrive. Varieties produced through biotechnology on the other hand allow farmers to control weeds at a later stage (Herren p, 245). Krimsky states that weeds left in the field for a longer period acts as food for insects and birds that would otherwise harm crops (p, 45). Spraying and leaving weeds in the field to form mulch is a good way of improving soil quality. Another indirect beneficial effect of biotechnology on farming is saving on bio-diesel fuel thereby significantly reducing the emission of carbon dioxide which would otherwise lead to devastating effects on the climate. Biotechnology makes farming easier depending on the natural system. It also helps reduce the cost of production because it leads to massive production on the same system (Herren p, 245). Biological fertilizers, which have a high content of helpful bacteria, are developed as a result of biotechnological research. These bacteria help improve the quality of soil by enhancing the symbiotic system and tying up nitrogen from the air. This as a result increases the crop production. Some of these bacteria can also be helpful in absorbing toxic substances, thus decreasing environmental pollution. Biotechnology also allows for the utilization of lands that cannot be utilized in conventional farming because of presence of certain toxic substances, for example acidic or alkaline soil (Krimsky p, 46).

Biotechnology helps develop acid and certain toxic metals tolerant plants. This reduces the need to open up new croplands that are free from toxic substances. Biotechnology increases crop production and as a result minimizes the pressure to extend farming to new lands thereby reducing human interference with fragile ecosystems. Increased yields as a result of biotechnology have saved land with reduced pressure on the environment such as reduced deforestation than it would have been the case with conventional farming (Herren p, 246). Conventional farming, in the process of increasing cropland in order to produce enough food for the ever increasing population, results in cut down of millions of acres of forest, an aspect which leads to deforestation and destruction of natural wildlife habitat (Borlaug para, 11).

Increased cropland in traditional farming results in increased use of herbicides and other chemicals, which adversely affect the environment. Biotechnology through production of disease and pest resistant varieties significantly reduces the use of agrochemicals that greatly affect the symbiotic relationship of various organisms. Various varieties of crops that have been developed through biotechnological research can be intercropped. Plans such as bananas, cassava, yams, sweet potato and even trees can be grown on the same plot with affecting one another (Herren p, 247).

This reduces the need to open up new lands to grow each crop independently, as it happens with conventional farming, and as a result reduces the cut down of trees. Biotechnology therefore allows farmers to have less effect on soil erosion, wildlife, biodiversity, grasslands and forests (Herren p, 246).


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