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Monday, 14 March 2016 11:10

An impending storm : Impacts of deforestation on weather patterns and agriculture

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Forests currently cover around 30% of the Earth’s land surface, but are being lost at an “alarming rate” (FAO, 2010). Deforestation is highest in the tropical areas of South America, central West Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, with 13 million hectares of global forest lost each year (FAO, 2010). Forests provide ecosystem services that include the regulation of weather and climate at local, regional and even global levels. Therefore, deforestation not only causes a direct loss of forest habitat but also leads to indirect impacts as ecosystem services deteriorate or fail. While it is well known that deforestation emits carbon dioxide that contributes to global climate change, less well known are the projected impacts on weather patterns. This report reviews published studies on these indirect impacts of deforestation and their potential impact on agriculture.

 

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