Cotton is the largest, and one of the oldest, sources of textile fibers in the world. It is the largest single source of fiber for global apparel. Cotton is both an important cash crop for many small farmers and a valuable source of foreign exchange for many economies.
The conversion of forests and key habitat to cultivation areas is among cotton’s most prominent environmental impacts along with the immense use of agrochemicals (especially pesticides) and water. Most cotton is grown on well-established fields, but their exhaustion leads to expansion into new areas and the attendant destruction of habitat.