Amazon deforestation is devastating microbial communities

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have uncovered evidence that suggests that Amazon deforestation is devastating microbial communities.

“We found that after rainforest conversion to agricultural pastures, bacterial communities were significantly different from those of forest soils,” says Klaus Nüsslein of UMass. “Not only did the pasture soils show increased species numbers, these species were also less related to one another than in rainforest soil. This is important because the combination of lost forest species and the homogenization of pasture communities together signal that this ecosystem is now a lot less capable of dealing with additional outside stress.”

Mr. Nüsslein and his colleagues note that these microbial communities, currently being devastated by Amazon deforestation, have a large role to play in a functioning ecosystem.

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