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Why Does Agriculture Threaten and Decrease the Global Carbon Balance and Stock?

Actualizado: 2 ene 2022

Written by Selene Escobar, PhD, and Vanessa Hogan


Over the past four centuries, land used for grazing animals and planting crops has increased from an insignificant area, to cover about 30% of the global land mass, mostly at the expense of forests and grasslands. Therefore, agriculture, and especially the "expansion of agriculture", has profoundly distorted the global carbon cycle, due to the change of land use it causes.

When forests are converted into agricultural fields, where much of the carbon is found in the vegetation, there are huge carbon losses. In addition, agriculture eliminates much of the carbon acquired through photosynthesis. As a result, currently, there is much less carbon in the soil, and, especially in the covering vegetation, than there was before the expansion of agriculture.