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Changes in historical Iowa land cover as context for assessing the environmental benefits of current and future conservation efforts on agricultural lands

January 1, 2013

Conservationists and agriculturists face unprecedented challenges trying to minimize tradeoffs between increasing demands for food, fiber, feed, and biofuels and the resulting loss or reduced values of other ecosystem services, such as those derived from wetlands and biodiversity (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005a, 2005c; Maresch et al. 2008). The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-234, Stat. 923, HR 2419, also known as the 2008 Farm Bill) reauthorized the USDA to provide financial incentives for agricultural producers to reduce environmental impacts via multiple conservation programs. Two prominent programs, the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), provide incentives for producers to retire environmentally sensitive croplands, minimize erosion, improve water quality, restore wetlands, and provide wildlife habitat (USDA FSA 2008a, 2008b; USDA NRCS 2002). Other conservation programs (e.g., Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program) provide incentives to implement structural and cultural conservation practices to improve the environmental performance of working agricultural lands. Through its Conservation Effects Assessment Project, USDA is supporting evaluation of the environmental benefits obtained from the public investment in conservation programs and practices to inform decisions on where further investments are warranted (Duriancik et al. 2008; Zinn 1997).

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Changes in historical Iowa land cover as context for assessing the environmental benefits of current and future conservation efforts on agricultural lands
DOI 10.2489/jswc.66.3.67A
Authors Alisa L. Gallant, Walt Sadinski, Mark F. Roth, Charles A. Rewa
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Series Number
Index ID 70043165
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center