Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 297-311

First online:

Critical Impact Assessment of Organic Agriculture

  • Xie BiaoAffiliated withSchool of the Environment, Nanjing University
  • , Wang XiaorongAffiliated withSchool of the Environment, Nanjing University
  • , Ding ZhuhongAffiliated withSchool of the Environment, Nanjing University
  • , Yang YapingAffiliated withSchool of the Environment, Nanjing University

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Based on its productionguideline, organic agriculture has set foritself the goals of minimizing all forms ofpollution and maintaining sustainability of thefarming system. By striving for these goals,organic farming meets the demands of anincreasing number of consumers who are criticalof conventional production methods. This papergives an overview of the present state of theart in the different issues. Possibilities ofand limitations in performing the self-aimedgoals under the basic standards of organicagriculture are discussed. Concerningenvironmental protection, in general, the riskof adverse environmental effects is lower withorganic than with conventional farming methods,though not necessarily so; with reference tosoil fertility and nutrient management, organicfarming is suited to improve soil fertility andnutrient management markedly on the farm level;regarding biodiversity, comparison studies showthat organic farming has more positive effectson biodiversity conservation; in relation toproduct quality, under the basic standards oforganic farming, there is no sufficientevidence for a system-related effect on productquality due to the production method.

biodiversity environmentally friendly production nutrient management organic agriculture product quality soil fertility