Graduation Date

Spring 2024

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Biology

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Paul Bourdeau

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Richard Boone

Second Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Amy Sprowles

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Fourth Committee Member Name

Dr. Sean Craig

Fourth Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


Agriculture, Climate, Food production, Environmental impacts, Biosphere, Climate change, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Carbon, Water impacts, Implications, Human impact, Food, Fertilizer, Water use, Irrigation

Subject Categories



This project explores the pathways by which agriculture affects the environment and determines which foods have the greatest climate, water, and land impacts. Agricultural effects on the environment are extensive, from loss of habitat and declines in regional biodiversity to disruption of global nutrient cycles and climate change. Global food production accounts for 26-34% of annual anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, makes up 38-46% of habitable land, and is responsible for 70% of freshwater extraction. The effect of agriculture on the environment is most significantly dictated by what type of food is being produced. Animal-based food products consistently have the highest impact on water, land, and climate; whereas plant-based foods consistently have the least. This means that the most effective method to limiting food-related environmental impacts is to prioritize plant-based food consumption and limit animal-based foods, particularly ruminant (red) meat and dairy.

Citation Style




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