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Disappearing grasslands : dramatic environmental change. Woody plants taking over grasslands around the globe

EurekAlert (22-Jun-2012)

Disappearing grasslands : dramatic environmental change. Woody plants taking over grasslands around the globe

EurekAlert (22-Jun-2012 )

The Earth’s grasslands and savannas are experiencing a major transformation as woody plants, such as trees and shrubs, have begun to dominate arid lands around the globe. While ecologists document this dramatic change in vegetation — considered by many to be desertification, or a deterioration of the environment — researchers at Arizona State University suggest these changes may not be completely detrimental.

In a new two-year investigation funded by the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, ASU scientists will study the effects of woody-plant encroachment on multiple ecosystems. They will collect data from grasslands in Kansas and New Mexico, as well as use existing, collected data.

Woody-plant encroachment of arid lands is a phenomenon occurring around the world — from the United States to Africa, and from South America to China. In an ongoing effort to try to restore arid lands to their previous states, the U.S. government is using herbicides and machinery to eradicate shrubs and trees — and spending millions of dollars to do so.

The Arizona State University scientists suggest findings from this study may add new information to the current controversy over whether this is effective land management.

Story Source  : Arizona State University

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Page publiée le 6 juin 2020