Self-influencing feedback of deforestation on the actors responsible

Singh, C. (2021). Self-influencing feedback of deforestation on the actors responsible. IIASA YSSP Report. Laxenburg, Austria: IIASA

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Deforestation due to increasing global food demand has driven massive agricultural and pasture expansions in South America, which threatens both natural and human-managed land use. These serious threats pose challenges for future local and global water and food security. However, to circumvent such a future and implement sustainable land management practices, the extent of the deforestation-impact relationship needs to be studied critically. Here we propose two experiments to quantify the precipitation loss due to deforestation over the downwind region using the Lagrangian moisture tracking model. Our results reveal a strong north-south gradient of deforestation to moisture loss across the continent. This is because the northern regions are primarily dependent on oceanic moisture sources, and therefore, are unaffected by deforestation. In contrast, southern regions are dependent on transpiration from Amazon and are, therefore, influenced more considerably by deforestation. The dependence of northern ecosystems on oceanic moisture sources also increases their potential for recovery post-deforestation than those in the south. Comparing the suitability of crops under both these deforestation experiments revealed that precipitation is considerably reduced if deforestation happens in the south, so much so that even the moderate water-demanding crops were unsuitable for growth. Comparing our results with landowner demographics suggests that the largescale landowners’ have much more leverage over moisture flows than small-scale landowners. This report emphasizes the need for stringent forest policies to factor in the influence of deforestation on downwind actors and the need for more effective ecosystem stewardship.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA YSSP Report)
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2021 08:46
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2022 10:56

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