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MSU scientist finds deforestation decreases biodiversity in bacteria, too (Video)

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For decades, scientists have known that deforestation is one of the greatest threats to the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest, which has the highest number of plant and animal species of any region its size on the planet. Now, scientists have found out that deforestation is a threat to the diversity of bacteria in the soil, too.

In a study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Thursday, December 27th, an international team of scientists including Michigan State University professor James Tiedje, as well as researchers from the University of Massachusetts, University of Oregon, University of Texas at Arlington, and University of Sao Paolo, found that converting forest into cattle pasture reduced the number of species of bacteria present at first. Although the number of species then increased, so that there were more in any soil sample than before the land was cleared, they also became more uniform over a wide area by eliminating endemic species and replacing them with bacteria found in pastures all over the Amazon. This decreases bacterial diversity all thoughout the former rainforest as people clear the land for agriculture.
 
 

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