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close this bookDiversity, Globalization, and the Ways of Nature (IDRC, 1995, 234 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentForeword
close this folder1. Introduction
View the documentGlobalization and the ways of nature
View the documentThe new globalization processes
close this folder2. Global trends and their effects on the environment
View the documentThe information revolution
View the documentDevelopment of global financial markets
View the documentDevelopment of more effective transportation networks
View the documentMovement of people
View the documentGlobalization and the unequal distribution of wealth
View the documentInternational migration
View the documentThe development of free markets
close this folder3. Planet-wide deterioration
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOur sister planet
View the documentThe unusual, oxygenated planet
View the documentThe paradox of ozone
View the documentOceans can be degraded too
View the documentThe rivers are becoming muddy
View the documentOvershooting
close this folder4. Forests under attack
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDeforestation in the 20th century
View the documentRain-forest environments
View the documentTemperate forests
close this folder5. Grasslands
View the documentSavannas
View the documentThe temperate grasslands
View the documentModifying grassland ecosystems
View the documentEnvironmental balance in grassland ecosystems
close this folder6. Aquatic ecosystems
View the documentExtractive exploitation
View the documentThe future of fish production
close this folder7. Managing planetary thirst
View the documentSome basic facts
View the documentWater supply and options
View the documentThe demand side of the issue
View the documentWater issues throughout the world
close this folder8. Protecting air quality
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAir and its principal contaminants
View the documentProcesses of contamination in industrial and urban areas
View the documentCurrent and future trends
close this folder9. Clean energy for planetary survival
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe industrial revolution
View the documentThe use of hydroelectricity
View the documentThe age of petroleum
View the documentNuclear power
View the documentThe clean options
close this folder10. Africa in the 21st Century: Sunrise or sunset?
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe causes of poverty
View the documentHistorical causes of the current situation
View the documentWars are environmentally unfriendly
View the documentEvolution of environmental management in Africa
View the documentOld and new development models
close this folder11. Latin America and the Caribbean: A history of environmental degradation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIndigenous cultures
View the documentThe colonial period
View the documentExploitation of natural resources after independence
View the documentEffects of globalization on the environment
View the documentThe maquiladora phenomenon
close this folder12. The urban environmental challenge
View the documentThe development of modern cities
View the documentLarge cities in the Third World
View the documentThe megacities of today
close this folder13. Diversity and human survival
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDocumenting diversity
View the documentResources for the future
View the documentDiversity of living systems
View the documentCauses and effects of the loss of natural diversity
View the documentDiversity and culture
View the documentRestoring what is lost
View the documentBiodiversity and research
close this folder14. Strategies for the future
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDecentralize decision-making
View the documentPeople value their environment
View the documentProblems and responsibilities are global
View the documentBibliography

Environmental balance in grassland ecosystems

The balance of the effects (actual and potential) of globalization in the grasslands is unfavourable. Most savannas are the result of the degradation of forests. Although their soils are fertile, the fertility is often inherited from the former ecosystem and is substantially lower than it would be for a climatic savanna. Continuous farming on savannas gradually reduces fertility and, unless fertilizers are applied, agriculture becomes unproductive. In many cases, the use of fertilizers makes farming uneconomical and savanna lands are abandoned for other uses, usually raising cattle or planting with exotic trees, further unbalancing the ecosystem. Where slopes are steeper, the soft, highly friable savanna soils are easily eroded, further reducing their productivity.

These ecological changes bring about important geomorphologic and hydrologic changes. Gullies and ravines are formed by erosion, and stream-flow patterns become irregular (more severe droughts, increased frequency and intensity of floods). Navigation canals may be blocked by sediments, dams and reservoirs may become useless (or their life span may be considerably reduced), water intakes may became clogged, water-treatment plants become more difficult and costly to operate, and so on.

Envionmental degradation of prairies is also frequently the result of increased runoff, soil erosion, and related geodynamic phenomena. In addition, there is a growing risk of soil deterioration as a result of care’ less forestation.

The belief that “planting trees is good” does not necessarily hold in grassland areas, where forestation may bring about an ecological imbalance that may end in a substantial reduction not only in productivity, but also in the system’s biodiversity. As in other ecosystems, the sustainability of grasslands depends on recognizing the value of their diversity. It is through its resource base that the system can maintain the flexibility it needs and the potential for sustained use in the future.