HOME

NEWS

CHARITIES

VOLUNTEER

ACTION CENTER

ADD CHARITY

CONTACT

SUPPORT

World Environment Community Health Animals Celebrity Submit A Site Find A Charity
Larger swaths of tropical forest being lost to commercial agriculture

sciencedaily.com

12 days ago   Article ID# 4157090
Original URL

 

ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND (sciencedaily.com) - Larger patches of tropical forest are being lost worldwide as governments and corporations clear more land to make way for industrial-scale agriculture, a Duke University study shows.

The newly published analysis reveals that clearings for large-scale agricultural expansion were responsible for an increasing proportion -- in some places, more than half -- of all observed forest loss across the tropics between 2000 and 2012.

The trend was most pronounced in Southeast Asia and South America.

"In South America, more than 60 percent of the increase in deforestation was due to a growing number of medium- and large-sized forest clearings typical of what you see with industrial-scale commercial agricultural activities," said Jennifer J. Swenson, associate professor of the practice of geospatial analysis at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

"Brazil, which had stricter policies limiting agricultural expansion until 2012, was the only country showing a reverse trend -- its average forest clearing size actually got smaller," she said. "This unique trend may be short-lived, however, given Brazil's relaxed forest policies of the last few years."

The new findings underscore the growing need for policy interventions that target industrial-scale agricultural commodity producers in the tropics, the researchers say.

A small family farm that produces sustenance crops or food for local consumption typically causes less than 10 hectares -- or just under 25 acres -- of land to be cleared per year, said Ph.D. student Kemen G. Austin, who co-authored the report. These small clearings can have relatively modest impacts on biodiversity, habitat connectivity, carbon storage, water quality, erosion control and other vital ecosystem services the forest provides.

By comparison, an industrial-scale plantation -- such as one that grows and processes palm oil or soybeans for the global market -- can cause nearly 2,500 acres of land to be cleared annually.

"As the size of the cleared land increases, so do the scale and scope of the potential ecological impacts," explained Ph.D. student Danica Schaffer-Smith.

The Duke team conducted their analysis using high-resolution, satellite-derived maps of forest cover produced by researchers at the University of Maryland.

"Using these invaluable maps, we were able to design a new computational approach that allowed us to analyze trends in clearing sizes across the globe," said Schwantes, who programmed the computational analysis with González-Roglich.

Copyright 2017 sciencedaily.com   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 12 days ago   Article ID# 4157090

   

View All Actions >>

Climate
Oceans
Deforestation
Pollution
Wildlife
<< Return To Environment News

Action Center

Climate change may bring more extreme heat, ozone pollution days to the Southeast, researchers say

Action: Climate Change

Global climate change may produce an environment in the southeastern United States that could foster dangerous extreme heat e ...

Save Bears Ears from Trump

Action: Wildlife Conservation

Trump's attack on 27 national monuments has begun, and first on his hit list is Utah's Bears Ears National Monument. We need ...

Peru lost more than 1 million hectares of Amazon forest over a period of 15 years

Action: Stop Deforestation

Technology has become a headache for those who indiscriminately clear forest in the Peruvian Amazon. Until a few years ago, i ...

Noise pollution is drowning out nature even in protected areas – study

Action: Stop Pollution

The sounds of the natural world are being overwhelmed by the blare of human activity, even in protected wildlife areas, new r ...

Save the vaquita—boycott Mexican shrimp

Action: Save Our Oceans

Vaquitas - the world's smallest and most endangered porpoises -- live only in Mexico's northern Gulf of California. After suf ...

View All Actions >>

 

 

Charities

News

Follow Us

Support

Find A Charity

Action Center

World

Community

Facebook

Twitter Support

Contact

Volunteer

Add A Site

Environment

Animals

Google+

Privacy Policy

Copyright

 

 

Health

Celebrity

Terms of Service

Copyright © The Charity Vault All rights reserved.