A brief discussion on energy use and greenhouse gas emmision in organic farming

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Key Laboratory of Mollisols Agroecology, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Harbin, 150081, China.

2 College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, 150030, China.


Organic farming has become increasingly popular in the world. This is mostly attributed to
escalating consumer concerns over the impacts of pesticides and chemical fertilizers on human
health as well as growing concerns over environmental pollution derived from modern
agricultural practices, such as rising greenhouse gas emissions and water contaminations. But
does organic farming actually displace the environmental impacts commonly associated with
conventional agriculture? In this article, we analysed the recent results of environmental impacts
from organic farming. The aim was to fill the gap in assessing organic farming’s relationship to
climate change and evaluating sustainability of this system with a minimal energy and
environmental damage over time. Despite the efforts of recent years, there is still considerable
room for the environmental optimisation of organic farming systems. The lower, similar or
higher impacts of organic farming, depended on crop types, site effects and differences in
management intensity. The conclusions here are exploratory and act as a call to action to natural
scientists to further explore how organic farming functions. Feeding the growing world
population under conditions of restricted land for agricultural cultivation, restricted natural
resources and changing climate demands new and innovative solutions. These solutions require
the agricultural community, to address agricultural systems from a perspective of increasing the
productivity per area with lower external inputs and enhancing resource use efficiency without
negative effects on crop yield and system sustainability.