The process of decreasing the use of capital and inputs (e.g. fertilizers, pesticides, machinery, energy) relative to land area. Due to a decrease in inputs per land area the pressure on the environment may be decreased. A decrease in pesticides used, for instance, is likely to decrease the risk of pesticide run-off in surface and groundwater (‘loss per unit area’). However, the actual effect of a decrease in the use of inputs on the environment does not only depend on the amount of inputs used but also on how they are applied and the extent to which decreased inputs lead to lower production (‘loss per unit produce’). Therefore, extensification does not necessarily lead to an environmentally more benign situation.