Conservation Practices in Agriculturally Dominated Landscapes

Science Center Objects

Agricultural land use accounts for over 50 percent of the surface area of the contiguous United States. How these lands are managed has direct and indirect implications for wildlife, water quality, and air quality in terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems locally and far beyond their extent. 

A multi-state (14), multi-regional cooperative effort between USDA and FORT seeks to improve Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) benefit estimates by conducting on-site assessments of fields (~3,000) currently and previously enrolled in the program. FORT furnishes USDA with information evaluating which CRP conservation practices are successfully implemented, which are providing expected benefits for wildlife, and which are persisting after formal contracts have expired.  FORT developed an rapid assessment tool to assess wildlife habitat, soil erosion, and adherence to practice requirements that is essential for making estimates of benefits accurate and defensible. More accurate and defensible estimates of the benefits generated by CRP strengthen the case for the 23.5 million acre program and provide a basis for making policy changes that improve it.

Select CRP fields for on-site assessments

This map shows the distribution of select Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields for on-site assessments. 

(Public domain.)



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