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What Are The Impacts Of Hemp On The Environment?

The world is swiftly moving towards the principles of sustainability to preserve benevolent natural resources. A resource is sustainable when it can f

The world is swiftly moving towards the principles of sustainability to preserve benevolent natural resources. A resource is sustainable when it can flourish in the environment to meet the needs without compromising future generations’ needs. Hemp is one such essential crop that fits the definition of sustainability perfectly. This super crop is known to have provided renewable harvest to man since 8000BCE. 

What Is Hemp?

The hemp plant belongs to the family of Cannabis Sativa. However, unlike marijuana, the plant exhibits very low THC levels or the psychoactive ingredient, leaving it unusable for recreational purposes. 

Hemp plant finds a plethora of uses to create fabric, food, fuel, and medicinal products. For example, the fibrous materials derived from hemp have been useful for producing fabrics for several centuries. Today hemp is popularly known as a source for legal CBD as well. You can visit online stores to explore hemp-derived CBD products such as trusted UK suppliers of CBD vape  that are useful to induce therapeutic benefits. 

But the importance of industrial hemp extends beyond its applications. Hemp can sustain the environment while offering a spectrum of benefits that makes the plant quite interesting. From cultivation to usage, hemp can bring tons of significant benefits to the environment. Here we will explore the environmental impact of hemp in detail. 

It Regenerates Soil Nutrients And Prevents Soil Erosion

Improper farming practices tend to drain essential nutrients away from the soil that could influence its potency. These destructive practices could cause soil degradation that will impact the quality and quantity of yield. Over time the land could lose the ability to support farming completely. 

The hemp plant can give back some essential nutrients to improve soil health. When the leaves and stems of the plant, enriched with several nutrients, fall to the ground during maturity, they decompose to replenish the soil with these critical elements. The soil is then ready to support further cultivation and is also capable of producing a rich yield. Also, hemp depends on a strong and deep root system that could sometimes penetrate nine feet into the soil. 

It Can Influence Deforestation

Deforestation has a severe impact on the world that we live in. Tropical forests are disappearing at an alarming rate to provide wood such as timber to the manufacturing sectors and to support the livelihoods of those dependent on it. Forests, streams, and many interdependent resources of these ecosystems are undergoing destruction to harvest trees to produce paper. 

Hemp can be a solution to slow down and eventually eliminate the heavy dependency on timber and other wood fiber trees. The crop is sustainable to grow even in small spaces and is significantly less resource-intensive. 

One acre of hemp can successfully produce almost four times the wood pulp compared to other trees. Compared to other trees that take nearly two decades to reach maturity that qualifies it for paper production, hemp is ready for harvest in a significantly shorter duration. It makes the plant a feasible, repeatable, and environmentally sustainable source to produce paper and other related products. 

It Is Pest And Disease Resistant 

Harmful chemicals in pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides are yet another threat to the environment. While these chemicals directly contaminate the soil, they also leech into water bodies and the atmosphere. It can directly affect the region’s biodiversity or enter the food chain,  which could induce several illnesses. 

One of the biggest advantages of cultivating hemp is that it is inherently competitive. The plant can easily compete with weeds or other crops in the surrounding for nutrients, reducing the need for artificial supplements. It is also naturally resistant to fungi, pests, and disease, which reduces the dependency on chemicals to eliminate them. Cultivating natural plants such as hemp can also lead to healthy agricultural development without compromising natural resources’ quality. 

It Supports Sustainable Farming Practices 

Crop rotation is an efficient way of practicing sustainable farming. Rotating crops with complementary nutrient requirements throughout the year helps to replenish the necessary resources to the soil and keeps the land continuously engaged in enhancing productivity. Hemp is an ideal choice for crop rotation as it can restore several nutrients to the soil. It is an annual crop that requires just four months from seeding to harvest. The plant also requires minimal watering for good growth compared to several other commercial crops.

Being a nitrogen-heavy variety, intercropping the plant with legumes or plants like red clover can support sustainable practices and a good yield. 

It Can Alleviate Carbon Emissions

Cultivating hemp can have a significant impact on carbon emissions levels in the atmosphere. The plant is a potent air purifier that can rapidly capture CO2 from the atmosphere. Compared to trees, hemp can remove about 1.63 tonnes of carbon for every one tonne produced, paving the way to a cleaner and safer environment. 

The carbon absorbed from the atmosphere during photosynthesis tends to deposit in several parts of the plant. Moreover, its element eventually transfers into the processed bio fiber products derived from the plant. This quality makes products derived from hemp completely bio-degradable and environment friendly. They are also free of toxins, recyclable, and renewable.

It Can Be Converted To Bio-Fuel

As we move towards a lifestyle of cleaner and greener choices, we are slowly trying to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels that power almost everything around us. We are continually seeking reproducible, renewable, and greener alternative such as solar energy and biofuels to power the future. 

Hemp is an excellent choice for being made into bio-fuel. The gasoline derived from hemp is greener than the existing alternative and is also significantly more efficient. At present, most biofuel ingredients consume large portions of farming lands dedicated to food crops, which makes mass production a huge challenge. Hemp-infused fuel, on the other hand, derives from the seeds that are a discarded part of the plant. This way, hemp biofuel can be a valuable and eco-friendly resource for humankind. 

Hemp-derived plastics and building materials are slowly becoming popular as they promote a biodegradable alternative to existing materials that end up in landfills. 

Conclusion

Several pilot programs to promote hemp cultivation have started in the United States since the farm bill encourages the growth of this sustainable and beneficial crop. With further commercialization, hemp can reduce dependency on resource-intensive crops that may have severe environmental impacts. The spread of legalization across the globe will further the cause to promote hemp as a dependable and resourceful crop to reduce the effects of global warming and climate change. 

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