December 28, 2012

Amazon deforestation destroys soil biodiversity

New proof emerges that Amazon deforestation obliterates soil biodiversity


Another study, published recently in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Science”, demonstrates that Amazon deforestation causes significant damage to microbial biodiversity.  In turn, this loss makes the soil and local environment much less “ecologically resilient”.

Over 100 square kilometers cattle ranches (all once tropical rainforest) were sampled by a team of scientists.  The results indicate not only poor ecological resilience in terms of forest regeneration but also in terms of the soil’s ability to sustain agriculture in the longer term.

Whilst this is not a new concept or surprising in any way, this is the new news for science.  Lead author, Jorge Rodriguez (University of Texas, Arlington) says that: “now we know that microbial communities which are so important to the ecosystem also suffer significant losses.”

“This ecosystem is now a lot less capable to deal with additional outside stress,” adds a coauthor, Klaus Nusslein (University of Massachusetts).  New studies are proposed to see how microbial diversity can recover when pastureland is left for forest regrowth.

Source: Mongabay


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