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Environmental Performance of Agriculture

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, as well as the provision of ecological goods and services, such as biodiversity and providing a sink for greenhouse gases. 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 (Chapter 4). 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 are also enriching the understanding and analysis of the environmental effects of possible future policy scenarios and agricultural projections. This report provides the latest and most comprehensive data across OECD countries on the environmental performance of agriculture since 1990. A set of agri-environmental indicators (Annex 1, Section II) has been developed through several specific theme-focused workshops involving OECD country analysts and scientific experts, complemented with thorough reviews of the literature. The OECD’s Driving Force-State-Response model (DSR) is the organising framework for developing the indicators.

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