Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has urged large-scale reforestation initiatives to reduce the risk of flooding and landslides that have killed scores of people in East Java’s Madium district, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Earlier this year the Indonesian government annouced plans to plant 2 billion trees in 2007, though it is unclear whether that goal was reached.
BBC news reports on a new study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that found the benefits of converting rainforests for agriculture land are short-lived in terms of soil nutrients.
“US researchers studied deforested land in Mexico and found that soil levels of phosphorus, a key nutrient for plants, fell by 44% after three growing cycles. In the long-term, the land risked becoming so degraded that it would be uneconomic to farm.”
The researchers said the loss of forest canopy hampered an area’s ability to replenish phosphorus levels.
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