Agricultural activity is the earliest human’s activity on the natural ecosystem. It not only changes the local natural ecosystem but it also has a huge impact on the ecological environment. When many scholars trace back the historical roots of the problems of ecological environment, naturally they will be concern about the traditional mode of agricultural production, even back to the age when the foundation of traditional agricultural technology system was formed. Agricultural development for thousands of years both created a splendid civilization, but also accumulated a lot of environmental problems. The negative effects both affect the prevailing agricultural production and left some bad condition to future generations. In this paper, the whole process of the impact of human activities on natural ecology was discussed to provide more adequate historical basis for future environmental protection.
Impact on the ecological environment of ancient agriculture
In primitive societies, many forests were destroyed. People deforested to stave off the wild animals, develop farmlands and build houses. The disafforestation caused great damage to the forest and the animals inhabited there. Easter Island once had lots of forests. There are a lot of statues made by stone in Easter Island (Hughes, 102). Sculpture and transportation required a mass of mainpower and resources. Therefore, the subtropical forests in the island disappeared after deforestation. There were no raw materials for shipbuilding and transportation of the statues and no edible wild animals because of the extinction of tree species. In 1774, Europeans came to the island, kidnapped natives as slaves, brought infectious diseases such as smallpox and introduced sheep. And then overgrazing led to soil erosion and extinction of species. This situation continued until 1953, and slowly improved after the Chilean government decided to re-afforest.
Many types of grassland became desertification. Uncontrolled development of agriculture made many original fertile soils into desert. Egypt as an example, the region was steppe with plenty of plants thousands of years ago. It was occupied by agricultural nation. With fierce of population, the demographic pressure exceeded the affordability of the land, so the vegetation had been destroyed here. Original grass land became barren bare land. The sands were moved by wind in dry season, which made the barren area continue to expand. There was increasing desertification at that region, and it eventually became desert (Hughes, 41).
Soil erosion became more and more serious. With the improvement of farming techniques and the increase of population, the scope of agricultural production was growing. Some areas which were not suit for agricultural production were also opened as farmland. Many parts of the world had conducted a large-scale reclamation, so the vegetation was severely damaged, causing serious soil erosion. The most typical is Maya. A long...