Agriculture plays a small part in the economies of NAFTA countries, contributing between 1-2% of GDP and 3% of employment, although these shares are larger in Mexico. But in terms of its impact on the environment and natural resources, agriculture’s role is more significant accounting for 45% of total land use and 40% of water use, except in Canada where these shares are lower.
As well as producing food and fibre, agriculture is also increasingly being required to provide various environmental services, such as habitat for wildlife; providing ecological services, for example, acting as a sink for greenhouse gases; and supplying amenities, like attractive landscapes. There are concerns, however, that the scale of agricultural expansion is going to place greater pressure on the environment over the coming decades if it is to meet the 1.5 billion growth in the global population expected by 2020.
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