Do Amphibians and Cash Crops Compete for Scarce Water? A Spatial Correlation Analysis
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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It has been argued that the trade of water intensive crops may be beneficial as it helps alleviate regional differences in water scarcity by effectively transporting moisture from humid regions to arid ones. However, the incentive to grow export crops can also intensify pressure on local water resources. Water abstraction for use in growing cash crops can affect rivers and wetlands with rich biodiversity reserves. In many macro-level environmental assessments, it is assumed that water use is a proxy for biodiversity pressure. Here we use correlation analysis to test the degree of spatial overlap between areas with high scarce-water consumption for cash crop production (i.e., crops where a majority is exported) and areas with high species richness or vulnerability of Red-Listed amphibians. We find that, globally, there is relatively little spatial overlap between areas where scarce water is used for export production and the habitat range of stressed amphibians.