Grasses and the greenhouse effect
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CTA. 1990. Grasses and the greenhouse effect. Spore 29. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/45372
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The vital role played by grasslands in either combating or adding to the greenhouse-effect, has been shown in a study conducted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The UNEP study measured the productivity of Brasses at five sites in...
The vital role played by grasslands in either combating or adding to the greenhouse-effect, has been shown in a study conducted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The UNEP study measured the productivity of Brasses at five sites in Kenya, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil and China. The sites provided diverse types of grassland, including dry and moist savannah, a salt-tolerant ecosystem, bamboo and wetlands. It was conservatively estimated that tropical grasslands account for 25% of all photosynthetic productivity on land. Their ability to soak up and utilize carbon dioxide is much higher than had previously been thought. Conversely, the destruction of grasslands by over-cultivation, over-grazing and too-frequent burning removes huge quantities of this photosynthesizing material. By burning alone (to promote new shoots and to destroy insects and pests) 700 million hectares of savannah are lost annually. Burning not only releases large amounts of stored carbon but removes that vegetation from its role of carbon dioxide converter. When compared to the annual loss of rainforest of 11.3 million hectares, it is clear just how important grasslands are in sustaining, or upsetting, the ecological balance. United Nations Environment Programme, PO Box 30552 Nairobi, KENYA
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