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Article

Mediterranean Landscape Re-Greening at the Expense of South American Agricultural Expansion

1
Instituto Multidisciplinar para el Estudio del Medio “Ramón Margalef”, Universidad de Alicante, Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig s/n, 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain
2
Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, CSIC, Ctra. Sacramento s/n, La Cañada, 04120 Almería, Spain
3
Departamento de Ecología, Universidad de Alicante, Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig s/n, 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marta Debolini
Land 2021, 10(2), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020204
Received: 8 January 2021 / Revised: 5 February 2021 / Accepted: 13 February 2021 / Published: 17 February 2021
The stabling of livestock farming implies changes in both local ecosystems (regeneration of forest stands via reduced grazing) and those located thousands of kilometers away (deforestation to produce grain for feeding livestock). Despite their importance, these externalities are poorly known. Here we evaluated how the intensification and confinement of livestock in Spain has affected forest surface changes there and in South America, the largest provider of soybeans for animal feed to the European Union. For this purpose, we have used Spanish soybean import data from Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina and a land condition map of Spain. The area of secondary forest in Spain that has regenerated as a result of livestock stabling has been ~7000 kha for the decade 2000–2010. In the same period, 1220 kha of high value South American ecosystems (e.g., Chaco dry Forest, Amazonian rainforest or Cerrado) have been deforested. While these figures may offer a favorable interpretation of the current industrial livestock production, it is not possible to speak of compensation when comparing the destruction of well-structured ecosystems, such as primary South American forests, with the creation of secondary forest landscapes in Spain, which are also prone to wildfires. Our results highlight how evaluating land use change policies at a national or regional level is an incomplete exercise in our highly telecoupled and globalized world. View Full-Text
Keywords: livestock; feeds; deforestation; re-greening; soybean; telecoupling livestock; feeds; deforestation; re-greening; soybean; telecoupling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Martínez-Valderrama, J.; Sanjuán, M.E.; del Barrio, G.; Guirado, E.; Ruiz, A.; Maestre, F.T. Mediterranean Landscape Re-Greening at the Expense of South American Agricultural Expansion. Land 2021, 10, 204. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020204

AMA Style

Martínez-Valderrama J, Sanjuán ME, del Barrio G, Guirado E, Ruiz A, Maestre FT. Mediterranean Landscape Re-Greening at the Expense of South American Agricultural Expansion. Land. 2021; 10(2):204. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020204

Chicago/Turabian Style

Martínez-Valderrama, Jaime, María E. Sanjuán, Gabriel del Barrio, Emilio Guirado, Alberto Ruiz, and Fernando T. Maestre. 2021. "Mediterranean Landscape Re-Greening at the Expense of South American Agricultural Expansion" Land 10, no. 2: 204. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020204

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