Keywords: agro-industrial technologies, land use change, forest crops, grassland ecosystems, eucalyptus afforestation, ecosystem services, environmental impacts, soil organic matter, soil physicochemical properties, hydrological cycle, glyphosate, biodiversity, Uruguay, River Plata Basin, health, water supply
The irruption of new agro-industrial technologies in Uruguay and their environmental impacts on soil, water supply and biodiversity: a review
In recent years, economic growth has produced a global change in the demand for food, fibre and energy supply. This has gone together with the globalisation of the agro-industrial production systems, leading to a qualitative change in land use because of intensive use of technological inputs. Uruguay, just as the other countries of the region, is part of this phenomenon. The massive introduction of forest crops has been made over native grassland ecosystems, replacing traditional productive activities of the post-colonial period. Research on eucalyptus afforestation shows depletion of the ecosystem services associated with grassland and loss of the resilience capacity of the system. Impacts on soil organic matter, soil physicochemical properties, the hydrological cycle and on biodiversity are analysed. This review (with emphasis on Uruguay and the River Plata Basin) tries to contribute to an integrated vision of the environmental consequences of current land-use change.