Wetlands and agriculture: Are we heading for confrontation or conservationThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Wetlands and agriculture are closely linked. Historically, agriculture had its beginning in riparian wetland habitats and expanded into other wetlands. Later, large areas of riverine, palustrine, and coastal wetlands were converted into paddy fields or drained for agriculture. Agriculture has grown most at the expense of natural wetlands. Today, the intensive agriculture depends upon heavy inputs of water (irrigation) and agrochemicals. Thus, agriculture now threatens the remaining wetlands through alteration of hydrological regimes, siltation, and pollutants. Conservation of wetlands requires an integrated, balanced, and coordinated approach to the management of water resources whereby the impacts of agriculture on wetlands are minimized without compromising agricultural production.