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close this bookAgriculture - Initial Environmental Assessment Series No. 1 (NORAD, 1995)
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View the documentForeword
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsPart I: General account
Open this folder and view contentsPart II: Documentation requirements for initial environmental assessment
View the documentWill the project

Will the project

1. Have consequences for air and climate? (cf. ch. 3.2)

· Will clearing for new farms and/or farming activities lead to a substantial burning of forest and vegetation so that the air is polluted locally, leading to large emissions of CO2?

· Does the project involve significantly increased areas of wet-rice cultivation, a factor which may contribute towards the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane {CH4)?
· Can the project cause particular changes in the local climate (changes in humidity, temperature, etc.)?

2. Lead to soil damage? (cf. ch. 3.3)

· Will erosion be a possible consequence of soil cultivation or other qualities about the project (deforestation, the removal of soil-preserving vegetation, etc.)?

· Will the project implement special measures in order to reduce the danger of soil erosion (e.g. build terraces, introduce planting for the purpose of soil-preservation, cover exposed soil, etc.)?

· Can the agricultural activities possibly result in soil compaction, so that the soil's ability to yield good crops is reduced significantly?

· If the farming is based on irrigation, can this lead to significant problems with respect to sedimentation of soil, and in the event of this occurring, what measures will be implemented?

· If the farming is based on irrigation, can this lead to waterlogging/bog creation, and will the project ensure that there are good drainage installations in order to avoid or reduce this problem?

· In cases of nutritional deficiencies in the soil, will the project consider both organic and artificial fertilizers and then decide which one to use? Will any use of artificial fertilizers follow the guidelines? Has the use of nitrogen-fixing trees and plants been considered?

· Is it possible that the use of fertilizers (whether produced organically or industrially) could result in acidification (low pH] of the soil, so that aluminium, iron or magnate poisoning could occur, or that the ability of the soil particles to bind nutrients is reduced? Could there possibly arise a need for liming?

· Could the project possibly result in salinization of the soil?

· Could the soil possibly be polluted through use of pesticides or large quantities of artificial fertilizers with a certain cadmium content?

3. Result in damage to water resources? (cf. ch. 3.4)

· To what extent could the project possibly pollute surface water and nutrients, salts, environmental toxins, and particles?

· Could the supply of the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorous possibly become sufficiently large to contribute towards increased growth in algae and eutrophication?

. Will suspended particles reduce the water quality [drinking water) and/or reduce the sunlight's penetration into the water and hence have an impact on aquatic plants and animal life?

. Could nitrates from fertilizers and from the decomposing of organic matter possibly occur in concentrations large enough to cause the pollution of important sources of ground water? Increased nitrate contents in water may represent a health hazard.

. Is it possible that pesticides may be employed in a manner which would cause the pollution of ground water?

· Could important water supplies possibly be contaminated by pollution from waste oils originating from fuel tanks and machinery in agricultural use?

. Could a deterioration of the quality of water sources possibly be caused by the sedimentation of particles from soil erosion in connection with the agricultural project?
4. Result in damages to ecosystems, natural and cultural landscapes and/or historical relics? (cf. ch. 3.5)

· Will the project conflict with the desire to preserve biological diversity, and retain continuous natural habitats or with the preservation of specific ecosystems and types of natural landscape?

· Will the occupation of large areas of land, e.g. for plantations, obstruct the migrational paths of wildlife?

· Will the project lead to increased activity and impacts on natural environments beyond the actual area of cultivation?

· Could the project possibly bring about changes to a rich cultural landscape characterized by great biological diversity, which has been created by the farming activities of several generations?

· Could the project possibly change the visual content of the landscape? What measures are planned for the mitigation of any such negative visual impacts?

· Could the project possibly affect historical relics, burial sites, sacred sites, or other objects of significance to the local population?

5. Result in the spreading of pests and diseases? (cf. ch. 3.6)

· Will the project involve the introduction of new plants and varieties, changes to production systems [e.g. transition from intercropping to monoculture, the disappearance of fallow periods, etc.), or a rise in the amount of pests?

· Will a possible rise in the amount of pests result in a significant increase in the use of pesticides? Will the project consider the pros and cons of using chemical agents or integrated measures (Integrated Pest Management - IPM)?

· Would an irrigation project or flood-control measures bring about the proliferation of water-borne diseases?

6. Result in the import and use of new seeds and genetically modified porganisms? (cf. ch. 3.7)

· Is the import of seeds subject to control by local authorities in order that unintentional imports of plant diseases and pests are stopped?

· Is the national legal framework familiar to those involved in the project, and is it adhered to during the import and spreading of plants for use in the project?

· Approved imported grain seeds may be treated with pesticides which are dangerous to human beings. Are there food shortages which suggest that there may be a danger of people eating such cereals and hence suffer poisoning?

· Could the project possibly affect the existing genetic variation in the agriculture (possibly perhaps cause a reduction thereof: genetic erosion], or pose a threat to wild species? If so, it should be considered whether strategies can be developed which give the desired developmental effect without the loss of genetic material, or whether measures should be implemented in order to render possible the continued cultivation of species close to extinction.

· Will the project introduce and use genetically modified organisms? If so, caution should be applied.

7. Cause changes to land use and have an impact on traditional ways of life and utilization of natural resources? (cf. ch. 3.8)

· Could the project possibly create conflicts with other purposes of land use such as forestry, animal husbandry, etc.?

· Will the project involve the occupation of considerable land areas so that the permanent residents are forced to leave their homes?

· Will the project obstruct the migration paths of people and animals through the occupation of large land areas, e.g. for plantations?

· Could the project possibly generate a significant unintended influx to the project area by groups of people seeking work or trade possibilities, etc.?

· Will the project provide amenities (housing, sanitation, water supplies, refuse collection and disposal, etc.) for those who have to be relocated or who move into the area? Does the capacity exist within local authorities and infrastructure to deal with such changes?

. To what extent will migration into or out of the area lead to increased pressure on the natural resources?

. Will the project consider the existing distribution of work between men and women in agriculture, so that the conditions are adapted to all parties in the best possible way, and so that women are not burdened with a significant increase in their workload?

· Will the project provide employment opportunities for women and invite them to take part in the planning of activities for which they possess special qualifications and knowledge?

. Will the project possibly result in an increased workload for children?

· Will the project honour dietary norms and taboos enough to avoid going for agricultural produce which would not be eaten?

. If implemented, will an introduction of new cultivation systems pay sufficient respect to existing rituals tied to the different phases of the cultivation process?

· Will the project introduce new cultivation systems which require expensive inputs (pesticides, artificial fertilizers, machinery, etc.), with the possible effect of putting poor farmers under pressure, and/or leaving them with excessive debts, should the crops fail?

· Will institutions on national and local levels have the capacity to follow up in terms of supervision and other aspects about the project?

8. Other general aspects.

. Will the farming be based on the principles of sustainable agriculture?

· Has a system of control been established, with the purpose of ensuring that directions and guidelines given by plan of operations and/or management are followed?

· Are all parties familiar with local, national, and, if any, international environmental requirements?