Why clearing Brazil’s forests for farming can make it harder to grow crops

Read the full story from NPR.

Millions of acres of Brazil’s forest and grasslands have been cleared over the past 30 years to grow soybeans, making the country the world’s biggest soybean producer. But the deforestation that facilitated Brazil’s soybean boom is now undermining it, bringing hotter and drier weather that makes soybeans less productive, according to two recent studies.

One paper published this week in the journal World Development concluded that hotter temperatures which result from clearing natural vegetation already are costing Brazil’s soybean farmers more than $3 billion each year in lost productivity. These local and regional temperature increases are on top of global climate change, which also is intensified as deforestation adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

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