Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tropical Forests Were the Primary Sources of New Agricultural Land in the 1980s and 1990s

        The demand for agricultural products is becoming to be more and more each year. People depend on the "food, feed, and fuel,"and these products come from major agriculture croplands. So where do all these farmers get all this extra land for the major increase in demand for food? The main argument, is that while some say the extra land for the cropland is coming from areas that were previously cleared, others argue that this extra land is coming from intact rainforests. Rice, maize, soybeans, and oil palm are the main driver for the extra cropland needed. Since 2000, taking land from intact rainforests has increased by 6%, while using previously cleared land decreased by 4%. 
         The figure below shows the main areas salvaged for new agriculture farms. In every area, it shows that forest is mostly taken away for the new cropland, rather than plantations or land that had already been salvaged. 


        In conclusion, more than 80% of the land used for agriculture purposes came from intact and disturbed forests. In 2050, it is estimated that the demand for food and agricultural products will increase by 50%, and that these forests will be expected to provide for the extra land. Because of this, there will be more carbon dioxide emission because of the burning of the forests to make room for the agriculture land. However, REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation) has a plan to give farmers payments if they reduce their carbon emissions, so that is good incentive to reduced the killing of our forests. 

I have acted with honesty and integrity in producing this work and am unaware of anyone who has not. Nataley Ford

Gibbs, H. K., Ruesch, A. S., Achard, F., Clayton, M. K., Holmgren, P., Ramankutty, N., & Foley, J. A. (2010). Tropical forests were the primary sources of new agricultural land in the 1980s and 1990s. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences107(38), 16732-16737.


  1. Does the article discuss how the agriculture industry should go about increasing their product but not take any more of the forest land?

  2. I would like to know more about the plan to pay farmers to decrease their carbon dioxide emissions. Why can't we just outlaw deforestation to begin with? That way there will be no carbon dioxide emissions, and in fact, more oxygen emissions.

  3. I find it rather unsurprising that tropical forests were the primary sources of agriculture, and in a way they still are. How was GIS used to map the data and analyze it? Were there any maps provided in the article?