Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Colonel Kernal: cornbelt compared to Dust Bowl, deforestation of Brazil

Dirk Lammers' story appears in the Black Hills Pioneer:
The research by Christopher Wright and Michael Wimberly of the Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence at South Dakota State University said a recent doubling in commodity prices has created incentives for landowners in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa to convert grassland to corn and soybean cropping. Grassland conversion between 2006 and 2011 was mostly concentrated in North Dakota and South Dakota, east of the Missouri River. In Minnesota and the Dakotas, this expansion was concentrated near wetlands, posing a threat to waterfowl breeding habitats.
Rewilding is clearly another part of the solution. It has been proposed for decades; yet, the political will in the red states where the impact is felt most perpetuates a greed mentality as human migration has stagnated. From Nature News:
First, it was snowfalls that never seemed to end. After that came tornadoes. Now, a massive slug of water is working its way down the Mississippi River, forcing the US Army Corps of Engineers to deliberately flood farmland to spare riverside towns such as Cairo in Illinois, and threatening near-record water levels all the way to New Orleans. For decades, people have been building shopping malls and parking lots that cause water to flow quickly into rivers, rather than soak into the ground. Nicholas Pinter, a geologist at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, who works on flood hydrology, has a word for this: "hydro-amnesia". It causes people to build in places that were flooded a generation ago and will be flooded again a generation hence.

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