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Inga miljövinster med ekologisk produktion?: Lägesrapport över den svenska jordbruksdebatten
Södertörn University, School of Life Sciences.
2011 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Organic agriculture is financially promoted in Sweden by special environmental support and as consumers we are all encouraged to buy organic food. At the same time scholars at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences claim that organic farming does not provide any environmental benefits. The main criticism is that organic farming has lower yields than conventional, which means that more land is needed to produce the same amount of food as in conventional farming, leading to deforestation and loss of biodiversity. As for climate change, the critics claim that the significantly higher productivity in conventional crop production compared to organic, releases surplus land, which could be used for bio-fuel production and thereby replace the fossil fuels. The critics also claim that organic farming causes higher nutrient leaching than conventional. Scholars who advocate organic farming fight back against the criticisms and claim; that organic farming benefits biodiversity, as organic farms have on average 30% higher species richness than conventional farms, that conventional farming due to fertilizer use causes higher green house gas emissions than organic, and that the conventional farming causes higher nutrient losses than the organic one from a system perspective. The purpose of this essay is to present and analyze arguments of both sides of the Swedish agricultural debate and try to find answers to how scholars can have such widely differing views about which farming-system is preferable. At first glance, it may seem as if scholars totally disagree on the issues regarding scientific facts. This essay however, suggests that this is not the case at all. On the contrary, scholars agree on quite a lot when it comes to facts. The reasons for disagreement appear to be about much more than just a scientific controversy. My explanation to how they can have such different views is that agriculture, to a large extent, is a social and political issue, which means that scholars' values and view of nature also play a crucial role in their overall perception.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 31 p.
Keyword [en]
Farming, agriculture, farming, organic, conventional, environment, climate, eutrophication, biodiversity
Keyword [sv]
Jordbruk, lantbruk, odling, ekologiskt, konventionellt, miljö, klimat, övergödning, biologisk mångfald
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-13863OAI: diva2:464637
Subject / course
Environmental Science
Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Forestry
Available from: 2011-12-14 Created: 2011-12-13 Last updated: 2011-12-14Bibliographically approved

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