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December 2003 / Vol. 53 No. 12 BioScience 1159 Since the origin of agriculture, the human popula-

Summary: December 2003 / Vol. 53 No. 12 BioScience 1159
Since the origin of agriculture, the human popula-
tion and human consumption of resources have in-
creased steadily throughout the world. As a consequence,
forests and other natural areas have been transformed into
agriculture,pastureland, and cities.Land-use and land-cover
change (LUCC) represents one of the most important com-
ponents of global environmentalchange.Widespread effects
of LUCC include habitat loss and fragmentation, soil degra-
dation, species introductions, and changes in vegetation. In-
directly, LUCC affects the interactions between the biosphere
and the atmosphere (through alterations of biogeochemical
cycles) and between ecosystems and cultural systems (Turner
et al. 1990). Land-cover change is very intense in tropical
developing countries that are characterized by agriculture-
based economies and rapidly increasing human populations
(Watson et al. 2001). Consequently, most research on the
ecological implications of LUCC in the tropics focuses on the
dominant pattern of deforestation and fragmentation (e.g.,


Source: Aide, Mitchell - Department of Biology, Universidad de Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology