It is understood by many, that man's sin caused God to curse all of creation, but according to the text, the curse found in 3:17-19 was localized. It was directed at the ground (adamah) from which Adam was taken (Gen. 3:19, 23), not the whole earth. It was most likely the land of Eden (a name probably meaning paradise) and the garden therein which were cursed.
Genesis 3:17, 19 and 23 indicate that after being banished from the garden Adam was to live, work and die in the land from which he was taken (See Ezek. 21:30). We know that Adam was cast just outside of the Garden (Gen. 3:24) and that the garden was within the land of Eden (Gen. 2:8). Since Adam was not formed in the garden (Gen. 2:7-8, 15) and because it wouldn't make since to create him far from the garden in which he was to live, I believe he was created in Eden.
More evidence comes from Genesis four. In this chapter Cain kills his brother and in 4:14 he says to God "You have driven me this day from the face of the ground (adamah)." Obviously he was not driven into the sea, so he must have been referring to leaving a specific land. Also, in this chapter, this ground represents the "face" and "presence" of God. This fits with the paradise that was Eden. In verse 16 we are told that Cain went out and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Therefore, it would seem that Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel were living in the land of Eden up until this point. Therefore, the curse was on this ground/land. Eden, once a paradise, would now produce thorns and thistles like the rest of the world.
Genesis 2:6 But a raincloud began to rise up from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.
7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground…
8 And the LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.
15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden…
Genesis 3:17 Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
18 "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you
19 By the sweat of your face You shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken…
23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim…
Genesis 4:10 And He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground.
11 "And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.
12 "When you cultivate the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you; you shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth."
14 "Behold, Thou hast driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Thy face I shall be hidden, and I shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth…
16 Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.