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Study Examines Impact of Expanding Agricultural Frontiers

A study led by Conservation International and published in PLOS One says that global heating that makes it possible to grow crops in new areas could have drastic environmental consequences. As many boreal areas in Canada and Russia become increasingly suitable for agriculture, it’s likely that they will be put into agricultural production. This could result in water quality issues for population centers downstream, loss of biodiversity as new areas are converted to agriculture, and significant losses of stored carbon from soils on new agricultural frontiers. This carbon release, which could, in worst case scenarios, be equal to putting one billion more cars on the road, would lead to further global heating in a vicious cycle.