Some scientists contend that land use by humans has become a top threat to the planet’s ecosystems. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
Some scientists contend that land use by humans has become a top threat to the planet’s ecosystem. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports.
People in cities and towns often spend hours debating local land use issues, but a group of scientists says there should also be a focus on the larger topic of widespread conversion of natural landscapes to uses like urban development and agriculture.
Jonathan Foley is a climatologist at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and lead author of a new study published in the journal Science. He says the Midwest sees its share of large land use changes.
“We grow a lot of corn and soybeans and other crops. But we do so, unfortunately, with quite a bit of damage to some of our environment: water quality, leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus into our lakes and groundwater and streams.”
Foley says the Midwest could look at changing farm subsidy programs to help farmers use better environmental practices. Globally, he says six billion people are competing for food, water, and shelter, and their land use decisions are transforming the planet.
For the GLRC, I’m Chuck Quirmbach.