The article linked above concisely illustrates the ecological demise that is happening right now by way of industrial farming–one of the leading causes of environmental devastation. Industrial farming techniques are the equivalent of slashing and burning combined with Frankensteinish chemical warfare on the land. The land is plowed, burned with intense chemical fertilizers made from fossil fuels, and then planted with a single crop–usually a GMO crop which is dependent upon monoculture techniques combined with specially engineered herbicides and pesticides to wipe out all the competition. It is a technique that kills bacteriological, fungal and faunal life in the soil. The soil–thus dead–is subject to erosion and can no longer sustain itself, requiring future treatments of fossil fuel fertilizers in order to be productive.
The single cropping eliminates above-ground biodiversity, also. In a monocropped environment, there is no place for the insects, birds, mammals and other creatures that create a dynamic, living environment. Thus, a monocropped farm essentially becomes ‘addicted” to this self-destructive technique, for without that balanced biodiversity, monocrops are easily preyed upon by certain pests and thus must rely on chemical poisons to protect them, rather than assistance from other life sharing the environment (as you see in organic/permaculture farm methods).
Monocropped farms also require more water as dead soil cannot hold water effectively.
Industrial farming occurs because it is less labor-intensive than alternate gentle permaculture and organic growing methods. It yields a lot of food fast, thus providing a faster initial profit margin while creating the delusion that we are able to keep up with the food needs of massive overpopulation. This is only a delusion, however, as monocropping is a long-term loss proposition.
For industrial farming is much like banditry. One could trade in order to develop prosperity. Over time this leads to sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships and security for everyone. Or one could rob in order to gain some quick benefit now, but at the cost of alienating and exhausting one’s trade partners–a long-term dead-end for everyone.
Only a short-sighted people would resort to industrial farming. And yet it is the dominant food production paradigm due to the marketing and political influence of mega-corporations like duPont and Monsanto.