Environmental Concerns

Greater amounts of chemical fertilizer and pesticides are used per acre of lawn than on an equivalent acre of cultivated farmland.

The continued use of these products has been associated with environmental pollution, disturbance in the lawn ecosystem, and increased health risks to the local human population.

Other concerns, criticisms, and ordinances regarding lawns come from the environmental consequences:

  • Most lawns are composed of a monoculture (single species) of plants, which reduces biodiversity, especially when the lawn covers a large area. They usually are composed of introduced species not native to the area, which can further decrease a locale's biodiversity and vital habitats supporting an ecosystem.
  • Lawn maintenance often uses inorganic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, which can harm the environment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has estimated nearly 70,000,000 pounds (32,000,000 kg) of active pesticide ingredients are used on suburban lawns each year in the United States. It has also been estimated that more herbicides are applied per acre of lawn than are used by most farmers to grow industrial crops.
  • It has been estimated that nearly 17 million gallons of gasoline are spilled each summer while re-fueling garden and lawn-care equipment in the United States; approximately 50% more than that spilled during the Exxon Valdez incident.
  • The use of pesticides and fertilizers, requiring fossil fuels for manufacturing, distribution, and application, have been shown to contribute to global warming, whereas sustainable organic techniques have been shown to help reduce global warming.

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