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Intensive land use decreases soil biodiversity

Aug 19, 2013
Photo Credit: Colette Kessler, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, South Dakota

Photo Credit: Colette Kessler, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, South Dakota

A new study published in the journal PNAS shows that intensive land use can reduce the biodiversity of soil organisms and have a negative impact on nitrogen and carbon cycling. The European team of researchers conducting the study examined soil life to assess its role in nutrient cycles in agricultural soils. The study showed a strong link between soil organisms and overall ecosystem health. Soils contain a vast diversity of organisms that help capture carbon dioxide (CO2), which is crucial for helping to reduce global warming and climate change. These findings could aid in predicting how ecosystems are impacted by land use and climate change, and are a step toward mitigating the negative effects observed due to high-intensity conventional farming. 

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