Article

‘Agricultural Modifications of Hydrological Flows Create Ecological Surprises'

Stockholm Resilience Centre and Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
Trends in Ecology & Evolution (Impact Factor: 16.2). 05/2008; 23(4):211-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2007.11.011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Agricultural expansion and intensification have altered the quantity and quality of global water flows. Research suggests that these changes have increased the risk of catastrophic ecosystem regime shifts. We identify and review evidence for agriculture-related regime shifts in three parts of the hydrological cycle: interactions between agriculture and aquatic systems, agriculture and soil, and agriculture and the atmosphere. We describe the processes that shape these regime shifts and the scales at which they operate. As global demands for agriculture and water continue to grow, it is increasingly urgent for ecologists to develop new ways of anticipating, analyzing and managing nonlinear changes across scales in human-dominated landscapes.

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    • "There is a variety of different impacts on agriculture such as decrease of crop yields (Potop et al., 2010) or higher demands on irrigation and on stream ecosystems such as temporal loss of habitat for aquatic organisms or loss of stream connectivity (Lake, 2003). Moreover, the needs of sustainable stream ecosystem management can be opposite to human needs related mainly to agriculture and water supply (Baron et al., 2002; Gordon et al., 2008). It is assumed that some impacts of these changes can be partly mitigated by increasing the landscape retention capacity. "
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