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Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD Countries Since 1990

Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD Countries Since 1990

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Agriculture can have significant impacts on the environment as it uses on average over 40% of water and land resources in OECD countries. The impacts occur on and off farm, including both pollution and degradation of soil, water and air. But agriculture also supplies ecosystem services, such as biodiversity, provides a sink for greenhouse gases, and contributes to flood control and the aesthetic value of landscapes. Most OECD countries are tracking the environmental performance of agriculture, which is informing policy makers and society on the state and trends in agri-environmental conditions, and can provide a valuable aid to policy analysis. As countries are increasingly using a wide range of policy measures to address agri-environmental issues, indicators provide crucial information to monitor and analyse the effects of those policies on the environment. They can also help the understanding and analysis of the environmental effects of future policy scenarios and agricultural projections. This work is unique in many ways. The co-operative process in preparing the indicators ensured that as far as possible they are the most up to date and readily available comparative data on the environmental performance of agriculture in OECD countries. The report includes both those indicators that most closely satisfy the criteria of policy relevance, analytical soundness, measurability and ease of interpretation - in other words those that are most comparable across time and countries - and those that are less developed or of importance to only a few countries or group of countries. This publication also provides valuable agri-environmental information for each OECD country.