Cerrado drying amid deforestation, climate change


Monocrop farming, mostly to grow soybeans for export, has been displacing native vegetation in the Cerrado. (Wagner Santos de Almeida/Shutterstock)

The rivers of the Cerrado, Brazil’s vast tropical woodland savanna, could lose over a third of their water volume by 2050 if agricultural expansion in the region continues at its current pace, according to a recent study. The study, published in the Feb. 27 edition of the journal Sustainability, urges immediate changes in current land-use practices. Failure to stop the ongoing clearing of native Cerrado vegetation, it concludes, would “cause severe streamflow discontinuity in many rivers and affect agricultural output, electric power production, biodiversity, and water supply, especially during the region’s dry seasons.” The Cerrado, Brazil’s second biggest biome after the Amazon rainforest, accounts for nearly 24% of the country’s entire land area, spanning a nine-state region of north-central Brazil. An estimated 46% of the biome has been cleared of its native vegetation. The study of land-use impacts in the region was conducted by the Cerrados... [Log in to read more]

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