Title: Tropical Forests Were the Primary Sources of New Agricultural Land in the 1980s and 1990s
Authors: GIBBS HollyRUESCH A.s.ACHARD FredericCLAYTON M.k.HOLMGREN P.RAMANKUTTY NavinFOLEY J.a.
Citation: PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vol. 107 no. 38 p. 16732-16737
Publisher: NATL ACAD SCIENCES
Publication Year: 2010
JRC N°: JRC60420
ISSN: 0027-8424
URI: www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0910275107
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC60420
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0910275107
Type: Articles in Journals
Abstract: Global demand for agricultural products such as food, feed, and fuel is nowamajor driver of cropland and pasture expansion across much of the developing world. Whether these new agricultural lands replace forests, degraded forests, or grasslands greatly influences the environmental consequences of expansion. Although the general pattern is known, there still is no definitive quantification of these land-cover changes. Here we analyze the rich, pan-tropical database of classified Landsat scenes created by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations to examine pathways of agricultural expansion across the major tropical forest regions in the 1980s and 1990s and use this information to highlight the future land conversions that probably will be needed to meet mounting demand for agricultural products. Across the tropics, we find that between 1980 and 2000 more than 55% of newagricultural land came at the expense of intact forests, and another 28% came from disturbed forests. This study underscores the potential consequences of unabated agricultural expansion for forest conservationand carbon emissions.
JRC Institute:Institute for Environment and Sustainability

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