Land use change

Accelarated agricultural activities has led to a significant increase in crop yields, but it has also contributed to serious environmental problems associated with soil and water degradation. 

Impacts- combined effects of land use and climate change

The combined effects of land use change (LUC) and climate change (CC) lead to different impacts causing land degradation through erosion processes and water quality deteriotation by the heavy use of agrochemicals. So land use pressure in combination with warming is likely to develop in a negatively way.

Climate Change

The Cerrado is predicted to warm faster than the global average. Reduced rainfall in April and from September to November and the prolongation of the dry season from five to six month is expected.

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Decreased soil physical quality under converted pastures for sugarcane production (Cherubin et al. 2016)

The process of converting (degraded) pasture sites for sugarcane production is becoming increasingly important. In a recent paper of Cherubin et al. (2016) investigated the effect of sugarcane production of formerly used degraded pastures. Their results show that soil functions are decreased. Based on a soil physical quality index (SPQI) using indicators on root growth, water supply, soil aeration and the resistance to soil degradation the authors found that the potential soil functioning is decreased under pastures and even more under sugarcane production. The sugarcane site resulted in critical values indicating soil degradation. The authors suggest that the increase of SOM may avoid soil compaction under sugarcane production.


Cherubin et al. (2016). Soil physical quality response to sugarcane expansion in Brazil. Geoderma


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The research presented here is published in two papers:


Hunke, P., Roller, R., Zeilhofer, P., Schroeder, B, Mueller, E.N. 2015. Soil changes under different land-uses in the Cerrado of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Geoderma Regional. 4 31-43.

Hunke, P., Mueller, E.N., Schroeder, B., Zeilhofer, P. 2015. The Brazilian Cerrado: Ecohydrological assessment of water and soil degradation of meso-scale catchments under intensive agricultural production. Ecohydrology. 8(6) 1154-1180. DOI 10.1002/eco.1573.