Grassland Conversion in the Argentine Pampas

Authors: Adam S. Dohrenwend*, University of Kansas
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Land Use and Land Cover Change, South America
Keywords: Latin America, land-use change, agriculture, grassland conversion
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The landscape and environment of the Argentine Pampas has been fundamentally transformed from human activities— with the most radical changes occurring over the last 150 years. As cultivation encroached on the Pampa prairies, vast expanses of semi-natural and wild grasslands were converted to new anthropogenic land-use types— namely croplands and rangelands. In 1870, before the opening of the Pampas for agriculture, formal croplands and rangelands were the dominant land-use type in less than 1% of areas. By 2010, this number was 96%— with urban land taking up almost the entire remaining 4%. This transformation goes far beyond land-cover as it has significant effects on other ecosystem populations and natural services— including on habitat fragmentation, species distributions and extinction, groundwater hydrology, soil salinity, and erosion rates. In the Pampas, the Anthropocene has arrived— as humans have become the dominant player in shaping environmental change.

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