Regenerative Agriculture Goal, Principles, Benefits, Disadvantages
The primary goal of regenerative agriculture is to boost agricultural productivity and biodiversity by aligning with natural ecologic cycles and conditions. Principles of regenerative agriculture are; natural regeneration, biodiversity preservation and enhancement, and organic soil enrichment. Benefits of regenerative agriculture are; soil, water, air quality improvement, high-quality organic production, ecosystem production and restoration, biodiversity increase, and environmental impact mitigation. Disadvantages of regenerative agriculture are; low initial yield, high capital and labor, specialized skill and knowledge requirement, and potential ineffectiveness toward farm problems.
-Goal of Regenerative Agriculture
-Difference between Regenerative and Sustainable Agriculture
-Principles of Regenerative Agriculture
-Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture
-Regenerative Agriculture and Climate Change
-Disadvantages of Regenerative Agriculture
Goal of Regenerative Agriculture
The primary goal of regenerative agriculture is to boost soil fertility and agricultural productivity through a holistic approach that facilitates sustainable natural recycling of biomass and nutrients.
To achieve this goal, regenerative agriculture adopts organic, permacultural and biodynamic principles which convert the farm into a sustainable ecosystem or living entity .
Some studies describe the goal of regenerative agriculture to involve mimicking natural ecosystems , like forests and grasslands, in a bid to achieve sustainability.
Regenerative agriculture is also backed by some objectives, which are all designed to aid in achieving its primary goal. The objectives of regenerative agriculture are;
3). Natural regeneration
4). Mitigation of environmental impact(s) and resource depletion
5). Productivity optimization
6). Establishment of sustainability
Difference between Regenerative and Sustainable Agriculture
The difference between sustainable and regenerative agriculture occurs in terms of scope and purpose, where sustainable agriculture covers all principles and practices that ensure continuity of optimal production; while regenerative agriculture deals solely with the practices implemented to establish natural remediation, restoration and regeneration of resources in agricultural ecosystems.
Another way to describe the difference between sustainable and regenerative agriculture is to state that regenerative agriculture falls under sustainable agricultural practice, and is therefore a type of sustainable agriculture.
The above statement is supported by the fact that, when carried out properly and effectively, regenerative agriculture leads to a state whereby sustainability becomes fully established with regards to the growth of crops and livestock.
Sustainable agriculture is a much broader concept which addresses the social, economic and environmental needs and aspects of farming, unlike regenerative agriculture which is more focused on ecologic factors that revolve around the environment in which agriculture is being practiced.
In sustainable agriculture, the ultimate goal is to reach a state where production becomes continuous, stable and reliable, with minimal consequences for the economy, environment and society. On the other hand, regenerative agriculture aims to make the farm self-replenishing, so that agricultural resources that are lost in the course of farming may be restored.
This is still a form of sustainability, so that both regenerative and sustainable agriculture can help mitigate the issues of greenhouse emission, global warming, and climate change; as well as their implications that include food insecurity, hunger and economic recession.
It could be argued that the concept of sustainable agriculture is more proactive than that of regenerative agriculture, because it tries to optimize production on a continuous basis whereas regenerative agriculture is less active by relying more on natural resource-recycling as a means to optimize production.
Lastly, sustainable agriculture is more inclined toward concepts like crop rotation, conservation tillage, mulching, and contour farming (which are all sustainable agricultural practices) while regenerative agriculture is more inclined toward other concepts like organic farming, permaculture, biodynamic farming, and integrated crop-livestock management (which are principles of sustainable agriculture).
The table below summarizes the difference between sustainable and regenerative agriculture;
Social, economic, environmental
Principles of Regenerative Agriculture
Principles of regenerative agriculture are;
1). Soil restoration
2). Resource conservation
3). Natural regeneration
4). Biodiversity preservation and enhancement
5). Organic soil enrichment and conservation
Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture
Benefits of regenerative agriculture are;
1). Soil, water and air quality improvement
2). High-quality organic production
3). Ecosystem protection and restoration
4). Increase in biodiversity
5). Mitigation of environmental impacts
Regenerative Agriculture and Climate Change
Some entities consider regenerative agriculture the solution to climate change, because of its dynamic effects on the ecosystem that collectively lead to lower environmental impacts, especially in comparison to conventional agriculture.
Regenerative agriculture helps to reduce CO2 from the atmosphere, through a combination of photosynthetic conversion and carbon sequestration .
Because of their conservative nature; regenerative agricultural practices reduce the rate of open biodegradation of agricultural biomass, rather converting such organic resources to compost that is used in place of chemical fertilizer.
Regenerative agriculture optimizes the carbon-capture performance of soil, as a natural carbon sink. At the same time, it facilitates the natural capture of atmospheric carbon by plants through photosynthesis.
These simultaneous mechanisms result in a state whereby the amount of carbon (and therefore; the total volume of greenhouse gases) emitted into the atmosphere from agriculture becomes low, and perhaps even lower than that which is captured.
Since greenhouse gases play a huge role in global warming and climate change, the reduction of CO2 emissions by regenerative agriculture may well be a step in the direction of total decarbonization and climate change-mitigation, in the agricultural sector and beyond.
Disadvantages of Regenerative Agriculture
Disadvantages of regenerative agriculture are;
1). Lower initial yield compared to conventional agriculture
2). High capital and initial labor-demand
3). Usually requires significant scientific and technical knowledge
4). May not always be effective for addressing problems like infertility, pests and diseases
5). The effects may not be positive for some crop and livestock species
The goal of regenerative agriculture is to harmonize agricultural and ecologic processes in such a manner that boost soil fertility, protects the environment and optimizes production.
The main difference between regenerative and sustainable agriculture is that regenerative agriculture focuses on ecologic equilibrium and natural regeneration, while sustainable agriculture is focused on social, economic, and environmental continuity.
Principles of regenerative agriculture are; soil restoration, resource conservation, natural regeneration, biodiversity preservation and enhancement, and organic soil enrichment.
Benefits of regenerative agriculture are; soil, water, air quality improvement, high-quality organic production, ecosystem production and restoration, biodiversity increase, and environmental impact mitigation.
Regenerative agriculture and climate change are inversely related, so that the higher the effectiveness of regenerative agriculture, the lower the rate and severity of climate change.
Disadvantages of regenerative agriculture are; low initial yield, high capital and labor, specialized skill and knowledge requirement, and potential ineffectiveness toward farm problems.
1). Gremmen, B. (2022). “Regenerative agriculture as a biomimetic technology.“ Outlook on Agriculture, 51(1), 39-45. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/00307270211070317. (Accessed 14 December 2022).
2). Kenne, G.; Kloot, R. W. (2019). “The Carbon Sequestration Potential of Regenerative Farming Practices in South Carolina, USA.” American Journal of Climate Change 08(02):157-172. Available at: https://doi.org/10.4236/ajcc.2019.82009. (Accessed 14 December 2022).
3). O’Donoghue, T.; Minasny, B.; Mcbtatney, A. B. (2022). “Regenerative Agriculture and Its Potential to Improve Farmscape Function.” Sustainability 14(10):5815. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/su14105815. (Accessed 14 December 2022).