Recent policies require federal agencies, including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to consider ecosystem services when developing policies. As agriculture is the largest land use in the United States, it is crucial to understand ecosystem services within agricultural landscapes. Current and former agricultural land can provide ecosystem services such as habitat, while farming on agricultural land can also benefit from measures on non-farm land resulting in ecosystem services such as lower erosion and healthier soil.In this project we focus on ecosystem services related to biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes. Through its conservation and farm programs, the USDA participates in activities that generate conservation benefits and impact the mosaic of land uses across the landscape. Other stakeholders also play a role in defining conservation outcomes in agricultural landscapes. Although these stakeholders operate over a variety of scales, often with differing objectives, the actions of one stakeholder have the potential to impact the goals of other stakeholders.We will develop a framework that incorporates the interactions between bottom-up and top-down stakeholders and processes in agricultural landscapes. The framework will build on the insight that bottom-up stakeholders, including local citizens who make land use decisions and vote on local open-space referenda, respond to the actions of top-down stakeholders, such as the USDA and large conservancies.Focusing on agricultural landscapes with biodiversity value and multiple active stakeholder groups, we will use reserve site selection models to characterize biodiversity conservation benefits of stakeholder activities and panel data methods to estimate the crowding in, or out, of local conservation activities in response to actions of large-scale stakeholders. Using these models we will calculate the ancillary benefit of the major USDA conservation programs (e.g. CRP) taking into account different stakeholder actions when developing a conservation plan. Additionally, we will develop a conservation plan maximizing conservation outcomes assuming coordination of stakeholders such as the USDA, and calculate the efficiency gains from a coordinated response. Our analysis will address USDA's goals of increasing the environmental benefit per program dollar and quantifying the environmental impacts of past program activities.
Accounting; Address; Agriculture; Biodiversity; Crowding; Data; Ecosystem; Environmental Impact; Farming environment; Goals; Habitats; insight; land use; Measures; Methods; Modeling; Outcome; Play; Policies; Process; programs; response; Role; Services; Site; Soil; United States; United States Department of Agriculture; Voting