Galford Gillian L.
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ArticleThe Amazon frontier of land-use change : croplands and consequences for greenhouse gas emissions(American Meteorological Society, 2010-10-28) Galford, Gillian L. ; Melillo, Jerry M. ; Mustard, John F. ; Cerri, Carlos E. P. ; Cerri, Carlos C.The Brazilian Amazon is one of the most rapidly developing agricultural frontiers in the world. The authors assess changes in cropland area and the intensification of cropping in the Brazilian agricultural frontier state of Mato Grosso using remote sensing and develop a greenhouse gas emissions budget. The most common type of intensification in this region is a shift from single- to double-cropping patterns and associated changes in management, including increased fertilization. Using the enhanced vegetation index (EVI) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor, the authors created a green-leaf phenology for 2001–06 that was temporally smoothed with a wavelet filter. The wavelet-smoothed green-leaf phenology was analyzed to detect cropland areas and their cropping patterns. The authors document cropland extensification and double-cropping intensification validated with field data with 85% accuracy for detecting croplands and 64% and 89% accuracy for detecting single- and double-cropping patterns, respectively. The results show that croplands more than doubled from 2001 to 2006 to cover about 100 000 km2 and that new double-cropping intensification occurred on over 20% of croplands. Variations are seen in the annual rates of extensification and double-cropping intensification. Greenhouse gas emissions are estimated for the period 2001–06 due to conversion of natural vegetation and pastures to row-crop agriculture in Mato Grosso averaged 179 Tg CO2-e yr−1, over half the typical fossil fuel emissions for the country in recent years.
ArticleHistorical carbon emissions and uptake from the agricultural frontier of the Brazilian Amazon(Ecological Society of America, 2011-04) Galford, Gillian L. ; Melillo, Jerry M. ; Kicklighter, David W. ; Mustard, John F. ; Cronin, Timothy W. ; Cerri, Carlos E. P. ; Cerri, Carlos C.Tropical ecosystems play a large and complex role in the global carbon cycle. Clearing of natural ecosystems for agriculture leads to large pulses of CO2 to the atmosphere from terrestrial biomass. Concurrently, the remaining intact ecosystems, especially tropical forests, may be sequestering a large amount of carbon from the atmosphere in response to global environmental changes including climate changes and an increase in atmospheric CO2. Here we use an approach that integrates census-based historical land use reconstructions, remote-sensing-based contemporary land use change analyses, and simulation modeling of terrestrial biogeochemistry to estimate the net carbon balance over the period 1901–2006 for the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, which is one of the most rapidly changing agricultural frontiers in the world. By the end of this period, we estimate that of the state's 925 225 km2, 221 092 km2 have been converted to pastures and 89 533 km2 have been converted to croplands, with forest-to-pasture conversions being the dominant land use trajectory but with recent transitions to croplands increasing rapidly in the last decade. These conversions have led to a cumulative release of 4.8 Pg C to the atmosphere, with 80% from forest clearing and 20% from the clearing of cerrado. Over the same period, we estimate that the residual undisturbed ecosystems accumulated 0.3 Pg C in response to CO2 fertilization. Therefore, the net emissions of carbon from Mato Grosso over this period were 4.5 Pg C. Net carbon emissions from Mato Grosso since 2000 averaged 146 Tg C/yr, on the order of Brazil's fossil fuel emissions during this period. These emissions were associated with the expansion of croplands to grow soybeans. While alternative management regimes in croplands, including tillage, fertilization, and cropping patterns promote carbon storage in ecosystems, they remain a small portion of the net carbon balance for the region. This detailed accounting of a region's carbon balance is the type of foundation analysis needed by the new United Nations Collaborative Programmme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).
ArticleDeep soils modify environmental consequences of increased nitrogen fertilizer use in intensifying Amazon agriculture(Nature Publishing Group, 2018-09-07) Jankowski, KathiJo ; Neill, Christopher ; Davidson, Eric A. ; Macedo, Marcia N. ; Costa, Ciniro ; Galford, Gillian L. ; Maracahipes Santos, Leonardo ; LeFebvre, Paul ; Nunes, Darlisson ; Cerri, Carlos E. P. ; McHorney, Richard ; O’Connell, Christine ; Coe, Michael T.Agricultural intensification offers potential to grow more food while reducing the conversion of native ecosystems to croplands. However, intensification also risks environmental degradation through emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) and nitrate leaching to ground and surface waters. Intensively-managed croplands and nitrogen (N) fertilizer use are expanding rapidly in tropical regions. We quantified fertilizer responses of maize yield, N2O emissions, and N leaching in an Amazon soybean-maize double-cropping system on deep, highly-weathered soils in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Application of N fertilizer above 80 kg N ha−1 yr−1 increased maize yield and N2O emissions only slightly. Unlike experiences in temperate regions, leached nitrate accumulated in deep soils with increased fertilizer and conversion to cropping at N fertilization rates >80 kg N ha−1, which exceeded maize demand. This raises new questions about the capacity of tropical agricultural soils to store nitrogen, which may determine when and how much nitrogen impacts surface waters.