Land management policies are increasingly transforming natural ecosystems for agriculture worldwide. Roughly two-fifths of the planet’s iceless terrestrial area has turned to farming and forestry, “reducing biodiversity to a few choice trees and crops,” Irena Creed, co-author on a study published in Nature Geoscience, tells Food Tank.

“Landscapes with a more constrained cycling of water will be less likely to withstand disturbances,” says Creed. Because vast monocultures with identical plants lack varied leaves, barks, and roots, she says, they result in “a more vulnerable soil-vegetation-atmosphere system that is less able to withstand fires, pests, and extreme weather events.”

“The incorporation of smart design in forestry and agriculture to optimize plant structural and functional diversity would help to maintain the natural water cycle,” Creed tells Food Tank. “By recognizing, preserving or enhancing the diverse array of hydrological responses among plant species, we can provide better stewardship of the Earth’s finite water resources.”

Read the full article about monoculture and climate change by Julia John at Food Tank.