It can be. One of the main rice farming techniques is soil puddling, which allows the density of crop planting to increase three-fold. This also prevents crop rotation, and can destroy the soil quality. The use of chemically treating the rice or soil in the form of pesticides damages not just the pests, but affects the entire ecosystem in the area, damaging soil quality and destroying other animals in the process.
It all comes down to how the rice is farmed, really. There are ways to farm roce that include organic methodology as well as crop rotation.
Rice farming typically requires intensive irrigation. This uses up a lot of water, and as fresh water supplies are growing scarce, this can be a problem. Rice farming can be made less wasteful by switching to more efficient means of irrigation, such as drip-feed irrigation as opposed to traditional gravity-fed irrigation. A drip-feed company in India was able to reduce water usage by 40% by switching from gravity-fed to drip-feed irrigation.
Source: The Economist news magazine, February 26th 2011. Special Report on agriculture, pg. 9.
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