Agricultural benefits of deforestation are short-lived

Slash-and-burn agriculture in the rain forest

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.

Author: Rhett Butler

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