Breeding and soil

The zootechnical sector is the main sector accountable for the use of soil and its progressive drying. Animal production occupies 30% of all lands existing on the planet plus pastures which cover 26% of lands. In particular, 33% of arable lands are destined for crops that produce food for breeding farms. Intensive breeding, for example, destroys soil because cereal cultivation to produce fodder requires many arable lands. Agriculture can contribute to desertification both, directly, through harmful agricultural practices as intensive farming and unrestrained water use and, indirectly, when land is deforested to create new farming areas to feed cattle. Land-use change, infact, is another crucial element that alters ecosystems: deforestation has transformed most of the Amazon forest of Latin America (an area twice the size of Portugal) in pastures and farmed fields to feed livestock. Between 1997 and 2003, the amount of bovine exportation from Brazil increased more than fivefold; 80% of this increase in production took place precisely in the Amazon forest. After a few years of intensive exploitation of pastures and newly created fields, deforested areas face an irreversible desertification process in which dried land doesn’t produce as before. It’s thus necessary to cut down a new portion of forest in a continuous cycle that degrades more and more the environment. Today, about 20% of all pastures existing on the planet register to some extent an impoverishment, especially, due to over-pasturing: this phenomenon consists in the compression and erosion of soil due to the trampling of hoofs of too many animals and activities of cattle herds. This takes place especially in pasture areas characterised by water scarcity which are equivalent to 73% of global pastures.

Special reports

From the Multimedia section

  • water

    No more ice for the bears

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    ecosystems

    American bear

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  • ecosystems

    Elephants

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    life

    The African elephant

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  • life

    The teeth of the elephant

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    life

    Nudibranchs (sea slugs)

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  • water

    No more ice for the bears

    Look
  • ecosystems

    American bear

    Look
  • ecosystems

    Elephants

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Facts

  • 17 May 2011

    A frozen mammoth

    During the Pleistocene (approximately 1.5 million years ago)...

    13 May 2011

    Amphibians in a cave

    Proteus is an amphibian of white-yellowish or light pink colour...

  • 3 April 2012

    Another camouflage …

    In the gardens it is quite common to find the larvae...

    11 May 2011

    Ant and fish activities

    A small insect like the antilion, digs funnel shaped traps in the sandy ground when it is in the larva…

  • 16 May 2011

    Attack and defence strategies

    There is a wide range of defence and attack strategies...

    3 April 2012

    Animal records

    <p><i><b>Long jump</b></i><br />Snow leopard : 13 metres...</p>