Conversion of forests to grassland and farmland

Photo credit: CIFOR

Landscape near Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil. Cattle farming is a major driver of deforestation in Brazil.  Kate Evans/CIFOR photo

Study: As forests, grasslands gave way to farms, soil carbon emissions soared

The conversion of pasture to agricultural land has released more carbon from the soil in several South American grasslands in the past 40 years than the conversion of forests to grassland during the three centuries before, according to a new report.

Not only does lost soil carbon cause land degradation and undermine biodiversity, the carbon emissions also contribute to climate change.

With 2015 named the UN International Year of Soils, the book in which the report is published, Soil Carbon: Science, Management and Policy for Multiple Benefits, is well timed.

Read the full article: CIFOR

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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