Science.gov

Sample records for agricultural landscape vyznam

  1. Incorporating Bioenergy in Sustainable Landscape Designs Workshop Two: Agricultural Landscapes

    SciTech Connect

    Negri, M. Cristina; Ssegane, H.

    2015-08-01

    The Bioenergy Technologies Office hosted two workshops on Incorporating Bioenergy in Sustainable Landscape Designs with Oak Ridge and Argonne National Laboratories in 2014. The second workshop focused on agricultural landscapes and took place in Argonne, IL from June 24—26, 2014. The workshop brought together experts to discuss how landscape design can contribute to the deployment and assessment of sustainable bioenergy. This report summarizes the discussions that occurred at this particular workshop.

  2. LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT FOR RESTORATION OF AGRICULTURAL WATERSHEDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    As part of CEAP, we conducted a review of the available literature on landscape management to achieve improvement of water quality, water quantity, soil quality, and air quality in agricultural systems. At least 15 general principles emerged from this review. These principles wil...

  3. Making landscape classification relevant for agriculture

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Most regional and larger landscape classifications have focused on natural vegetation types, but these broad classifications have potential uses in agriculture as well. Defining a site type in terms of the vegetation it can support, whether natural or managed, can provide an extremely flexible frame...

  4. Monitoring of Agricultural Landscape in Norway

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wallin, H. G.; Engan, G.

    2012-07-01

    An overall societal aim is to ensure a sustainable use and management of agricultural landscapes. This requires continuous delivery of reliable and up-to-date information to decision-makers. To be able to deliver this information, a monitoring program for agricultural landscapes was initiated in Norway 13 years ago. The program documents and reports on land use / land cover changes from data captured through interpretation of true colour aerial photos using stereo instruments. The monitoring programme is based on a sample of 1000 squares of 1 × 1 km and the entire sample of squares is photographed over a five-year period. Each square is then mapped repeatedly every fifth year to record changes. Aerial photo interpretation is based on a custom classification system which is built up hierarchically, with three levels. The first level comprises seven land type classes: Agricultural land, Bare ground, Semi-natural open vegetation, Unforested wetland vegetation, Forest, Urban areas and Water. These land classes are further divided into 24 land types at level two, and approximately 100 land types at level 3. In addition to land type units we map both line elements like stone fences and point elements like buildings and solitary threes. By use of indicators that describe status and change focusing on themes of particular policy interest, we can report on whether policy aims are being fulfilled or not. Four indicator themes have been in focus hitherto: landscape spatial structure, biological diversity, cultural heritage and accessibility. Our data is stored in databases and most of the data quality check/structure process and analyses are now being made in open source software like PostGIS and PostSQL. To assess the accuracy of the photo-interpretation, ground truthing is carried out on 10 % of the squares. The results of this operation document the benefits of having access to photos of the same area from two different years. The program is designed first and foremost to

  5. Distributed denitrification in a northeastern agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, T. R.; Groffman, P. M.; Walter, M. T.

    2011-12-01

    Denitrification may be an important sink of anthropogenic nitrogen (N) in eastern US watersheds. Denitrification occurs primarily under anaerobic conditions by heterotrophic microbes, and is therefore expected to be vigorous in wet soils containing large amounts of organic carbon. Actual rates of denitrification, however, have been difficult to quantify, and remain one of the critical unresolved N processes at the landscape scale. We measured denitrification rates in situ along hydrologic flow paths and across gradients of hydroperiodicities, i.e., frequencies and durations of saturated conditions, at Cornell University's Teaching & Research Center in Harford, NY (an active dairy farm). Denitrification rates were measured monthly using the 15N push-pull method from 14 mini-piezometers arrayed along a gradient of hydroperiodicity as indicated by a soil topographic index (STI). Measured rates of denitrification were spatially variable across sites and ranged from undetectable to over 4500 μg N/kg soil/day with a mean of 572 ± 167 μg N/kg soil/day. Mean rates of denitrification increased with STI, which ranged from 8.7 to 23.0 across our mini-piezometer sites. This relationship was used to estimate denitrification rates across the landscape and resolve a missing piece of the N budget for the farm. Only 14% of the farm fell into areas of STI greater than 8.7; however, denitrification in these areas account for more than 60% of the missing N balance for the entire landscape. Improved understanding of the distribution and magnitudes of denitrification in agricultural landscapes has good potential to facilitate new, novel, and better management practices for controlling N loading to streams and rivers. Indeed, the very areas that appear to have a propensity to harbor denitrification, i.e., areas prone to be wet, are often artificially drained as part of standard agricultural practices which reduces the frequency that these areas are likely to be anaerobic and

  6. Farming with Grass: Achieving Sustainable Mixed Agricultural Landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Agriculture in grassland environments is facing multiple stresses from shifting demographics, declining and fragmented agricultural landscapes, declining environmental quality, variable and changing climate, volatile and increasing energy costs, marginal economic returns, and globalization. Grassla...

  7. Distributed Denitrification in a Northeastern Agricultural Landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, T. R.; Groffman, P. M.; Kaushal, S. S.; Walter, M. T.

    2009-05-01

    Denitrification may be an important sink of anthropogenic nitrogen (N) in eastern US watersheds. Denitrification occurs primarily under anaerobic conditions by heterotrophic microbes, and is therefore expected to be vigorous in wet soils containing high amounts of organic carbon. Actual rates of denitrification, however, have been difficult to quantify, and remain one of the critical unresolved N processes at the landscape scale. We measured denitrification rates in situ along hydrologic flow paths and across gradients of hydroperiodicities, i.e., frequencies and durations of saturated conditions, at Cornell University's Teaching and Research Center in Harford, NY (an active dairy farm). Denitrification rates were measured monthly using the 15N push-pull method from 14 mini-piezometers arrayed along a gradient of hydroperiodicity as indicated by a soil topographic index (STI). Measured rates of denitrification were spatially variable across sites and ranged from undetectable to over 200 µg N/kg soil/day with a mean of 55.9 ± 16.4 µg N/kg soil/day. Mean rates of denitrification increased with STI, which ranged from 10 to 23. This relationship was used to estimate distributed denitrification rates across the landscape and resolve a missing piece of the N budget for the farm. We found that 16% of the farm fell into areas of STI greater than 10. Using the distributed denitrification rates, this area accounts for 15-27% of the missing N balance for the farm (9.7-17.8 Mg N/yr). Improved understanding of the distribution and magnitudes of denitrification in agricultural landscapes has good potential to facilitate new, novel, and better management practices for controlling nitrogen loading to streams and rivers. Indeed, the very areas that appear to have a propensity to harbor denitrification, i.e., areas prone to be wet, are often artificially drained as part of standard agricultural practices which effectively increase N loading to rivers and contributes to downstream

  8. Agricultural chemicals: life changer for mosquito vectors in agricultural landscapes?

    PubMed

    Kibuthu, Tabitha W; Njenga, Sammy M; Mbugua, Amos K; Muturi, Ephantus J

    2016-09-13

    Although many mosquito species develop within agricultural landscapes where they are potentially exposed to agricultural chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides), the effects of these chemicals on mosquito biology remain poorly understood. This study investigated the effects of sublethal concentrations of four agricultural chemicals on the life history traits of Anopheles arabiensis and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes. Field and laboratory experiments were conducted to examine how sublethal concentrations of four agricultural chemicals: an insecticide (cypermethrin), a herbicide (glyphosate), and two nitrogenous fertilizers (ammonium sulfate and diammonium phosphate) alter oviposition site selection, emergence rates, development time, adult body size, and longevity of An. arabiensis and Cx. quinquefasciatus. Both mosquito species had preference to oviposit in fertilizer treatments relative to pesticide treatments. Emergence rates for An. arabiensis were significantly higher in the control and ammonium sulfate treatments compared to cypermethrin treatment, while emergence rates for Cx. quinquefasciatus were significantly higher in the diammonium phosphate treatment compared to glyphosate and cypermethrin treatments. For both mosquito species, individuals from the ammonium sulfate and diammonium phosphate treatments took significantly longer time to develop compared to those from cypermethrin and glyphosate treatments. Although not always significant, males and females of both mosquito species tended to be smaller in the ammonium sulfate and diammonium phosphate treatments compared to cypermethrin and glyphosate treatments. There was no significant effect of the agrochemical treatments on the longevity of either mosquito species. These results demonstrate that the widespread use of agricultural chemicals to enhance crop production can have unexpected effects on the spatial distribution and abundance of mosquito vectors of malaria and lymphatic filariasis.

  9. A Landscape Perspective on Sustainability of Agricultural Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Dale, Virginia H; Kline, Keith L; Kaffka, Stephen R; Langeveld, J.W.A.

    2013-01-01

    Landscape sustainability of agricultural systems considers effects of farm activities on social, economic, and ecosystem services at local and regional scales. Sustainable agriculture entails: defining sustainability, developing easily measured indicators of sustainability, moving toward integrated agricultural systems, and offering incentives or imposing regulations to affect farmer behavior. A landscape perspective is useful because landscape ecology provides theory and methods for dealing with spatial heterogeneity, scaling, integration, and complexity. To implement agricultural sustainability, we propose adopting a systems perspective, recognizing spatial heterogeneity, addressing the influences of context, and integrating landscape-design principles. Topics that need further attention at local and regional scales include (1) protocols for quantifying material and energy flows; (2) effects of management practices; (3) incentives for enhancing social, economic, and ecosystem services; (4) integrated landscape planning and management; (5) monitoring and assessment; (6) effects of societal demand; and (7) consistent and holistic policies for promoting agricultural sustainability.

  10. Monitoring the agricultural landscape for insect resistance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Casas, Joseph; Glaser, J. A.; Copenhaver, Ken

    Farmers in 25 countries on six continents are using plant biotechnology to solve difficult crop production challenges and conserve the environment. In fact, 13.3 million farmers, which include 90 percent of the farming in developing countries, choose to plant biotech crops. Over the past decade, farmers increased area planted in genetically modified (GM) crops by more than 10 percent each year, thus increasing their farm income by more than 44 billion US dollars (1996-2007), and achieved economic, environmental and social benefits in crops such as soybeans, canola, corn and cotton. To date, total acres of biotech crops harvested exceed more than 2 billion with a proven 13-year history of safe use. Over the next decade, expanded adoption combined with current research on 57 crops in 63 countries will broaden the advantages of genetically modified foods for growers, consumers and the environment. Genetically modified (GM) crops with the ability to produce toxins lethal to specific insect pests are covering a larger percentage of the agricultural landscape every year. The United States department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that 63 percent of corn and 65 percent of cotton contained these specific genetic traits in 2009. The toxins could protect billions of dollars of loss from insect damage for crops valued at greater than 165 billion US dollars in 2008. The stable and efficient production of these crops has taken on even more importance in recent years with their use, not only as a food source, but now also a source of fuel. It is in the best interest of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to ensure the continued efficacy of toxin producing GM crops as their use reduces pesticides harmful to humans and animals. However, population genetics models have indicated the risk of insect pests developing resistance to these toxins if a high percentage of acreage is grown in these crops. The USEPA is developing methods to monitor the agricultural

  11. Natural enemy interactions constrain pest control in complex agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Martin, Emily A.; Reineking, Björn; Seo, Bumsuk; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2013-01-01

    Biological control of pests by natural enemies is a major ecosystem service delivered to agriculture worldwide. Quantifying and predicting its effectiveness at large spatial scales is critical for increased sustainability of agricultural production. Landscape complexity is known to benefit natural enemies, but its effects on interactions between natural enemies and the consequences for crop damage and yield are unclear. Here, we show that pest control at the landscape scale is driven by differences in natural enemy interactions across landscapes, rather than by the effectiveness of individual natural enemy guilds. In a field exclusion experiment, pest control by flying insect enemies increased with landscape complexity. However, so did antagonistic interactions between flying insects and birds, which were neutral in simple landscapes and increasingly negative in complex landscapes. Negative natural enemy interactions thus constrained pest control in complex landscapes. These results show that, by altering natural enemy interactions, landscape complexity can provide ecosystem services as well as disservices. Careful handling of the tradeoffs among multiple ecosystem services, biodiversity, and societal concerns is thus crucial and depends on our ability to predict the functional consequences of landscape-scale changes in trophic interactions. PMID:23513216

  12. Natural enemy interactions constrain pest control in complex agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Martin, Emily A; Reineking, Björn; Seo, Bumsuk; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2013-04-02

    Biological control of pests by natural enemies is a major ecosystem service delivered to agriculture worldwide. Quantifying and predicting its effectiveness at large spatial scales is critical for increased sustainability of agricultural production. Landscape complexity is known to benefit natural enemies, but its effects on interactions between natural enemies and the consequences for crop damage and yield are unclear. Here, we show that pest control at the landscape scale is driven by differences in natural enemy interactions across landscapes, rather than by the effectiveness of individual natural enemy guilds. In a field exclusion experiment, pest control by flying insect enemies increased with landscape complexity. However, so did antagonistic interactions between flying insects and birds, which were neutral in simple landscapes and increasingly negative in complex landscapes. Negative natural enemy interactions thus constrained pest control in complex landscapes. These results show that, by altering natural enemy interactions, landscape complexity can provide ecosystem services as well as disservices. Careful handling of the tradeoffs among multiple ecosystem services, biodiversity, and societal concerns is thus crucial and depends on our ability to predict the functional consequences of landscape-scale changes in trophic interactions.

  13. [Landscape planning approaches for biodiversity conservation in agriculture].

    PubMed

    Liu, Yun-hui; Li, Liang-tao; Yu, Zhen-rong

    2008-11-01

    Biodiversity conservation in agriculture not only relates to the sustainable development of agriculture, but also is an essential part of species conservation. In recent years, the landscape planning approach for biodiversity was highlighted instead of species-focused approach. In this paper, the landscape factors affecting the biodiversity in agriculture were reviewed, and the possible landscape approaches at three different scales for more efficient conservation of biodiversity in agro-landscape were suggested, including: (1) the increase of the proportion of natural or semi-natural habitats in agriculture, diversification of land use or crop pattern, and protection or construction of corridor at landscape level; (2) the establishment of non-cropping elements such as field margin at between-field level; and (3) the application of reasonable crop density, crop distribution pattern and rotation, and intercrop etc. at within-field level. It was suggested that the relevant policies for natural conservation, land use planning, and ecological compensation should be made to apply the landscape approaches for biodiversity conservation at larger scale.

  14. Sustainable pest regulation in agricultural landscapes: a review on landscape composition, biodiversity and natural pest control.

    PubMed

    Bianchi, F J J A; Booij, C J H; Tscharntke, T

    2006-07-22

    Agricultural intensification has resulted in a simplification of agricultural landscapes by the expansion of agricultural land, enlargement of field size and removal of non-crop habitat. These changes are considered to be an important cause of the rapid decline in farmland biodiversity, with the remaining biodiversity concentrated in field edges and non-crop habitats. The simplification of landscape composition and the decline of biodiversity may affect the functioning of natural pest control because non-crop habitats provide requisites for a broad spectrum of natural enemies, and the exchange of natural enemies between crop and non-crop habitats is likely to be diminished in landscapes dominated by arable cropland. In this review, we test the hypothesis that natural pest control is enhanced in complex patchy landscapes with a high proportion of non-crop habitats as compared to simple large-scale landscapes with little associated non-crop habitat. In 74% and 45% of the studies reviewed, respectively, natural enemy populations were higher and pest pressure lower in complex landscapes versus simple landscapes. Landscape-driven pest suppression may result in lower crop injury, although this has rarely been documented. Enhanced natural enemy activity was associated with herbaceous habitats in 80% of the cases (e.g. fallows, field margins), and somewhat less often with wooded habitats (71%) and landscape patchiness (70%). The similar contributions of these landscape factors suggest that all are equally important in enhancing natural enemy populations. We conclude that diversified landscapes hold most potential for the conservation of biodiversity and sustaining the pest control function.

  15. Sustainable pest regulation in agricultural landscapes: a review on landscape composition, biodiversity and natural pest control

    PubMed Central

    Bianchi, F.J.J.A; Booij, C.J.H; Tscharntke, T

    2006-01-01

    Agricultural intensification has resulted in a simplification of agricultural landscapes by the expansion of agricultural land, enlargement of field size and removal of non-crop habitat. These changes are considered to be an important cause of the rapid decline in farmland biodiversity, with the remaining biodiversity concentrated in field edges and non-crop habitats. The simplification of landscape composition and the decline of biodiversity may affect the functioning of natural pest control because non-crop habitats provide requisites for a broad spectrum of natural enemies, and the exchange of natural enemies between crop and non-crop habitats is likely to be diminished in landscapes dominated by arable cropland. In this review, we test the hypothesis that natural pest control is enhanced in complex patchy landscapes with a high proportion of non-crop habitats as compared to simple large-scale landscapes with little associated non-crop habitat. In 74% and 45% of the studies reviewed, respectively, natural enemy populations were higher and pest pressure lower in complex landscapes versus simple landscapes. Landscape-driven pest suppression may result in lower crop injury, although this has rarely been documented. Enhanced natural enemy activity was associated with herbaceous habitats in 80% of the cases (e.g. fallows, field margins), and somewhat less often with wooded habitats (71%) and landscape patchiness (70%). The similar contributions of these landscape factors suggest that all are equally important in enhancing natural enemy populations. We conclude that diversified landscapes hold most potential for the conservation of biodiversity and sustaining the pest control function. PMID:16790403

  16. Modelling pollination services across agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Lonsdorf, Eric; Kremen, Claire; Ricketts, Taylor; Winfree, Rachael; Williams, Neal; Greenleaf, Sarah

    2009-01-01

    Background and Aims Crop pollination by bees and other animals is an essential ecosystem service. Ensuring the maintenance of the service requires a full understanding of the contributions of landscape elements to pollinator populations and crop pollination. Here, the first quantitative model that predicts pollinator abundance on a landscape is described and tested. Methods Using information on pollinator nesting resources, floral resources and foraging distances, the model predicts the relative abundance of pollinators within nesting habitats. From these nesting areas, it then predicts relative abundances of pollinators on the farms requiring pollination services. Model outputs are compared with data from coffee in Costa Rica, watermelon and sunflower in California and watermelon in New Jersey–Pennsylvania (NJPA). Key Results Results from Costa Rica and California, comparing field estimates of pollinator abundance, richness or services with model estimates, are encouraging, explaining up to 80 % of variance among farms. However, the model did not predict observed pollinator abundances on NJPA, so continued model improvement and testing are necessary. The inability of the model to predict pollinator abundances in the NJPA landscape may be due to not accounting for fine-scale floral and nesting resources within the landscapes surrounding farms, rather than the logic of our model. Conclusions The importance of fine-scale resources for pollinator service delivery was supported by sensitivity analyses indicating that the model's predictions depend largely on estimates of nesting and floral resources within crops. Despite the need for more research at the finer-scale, the approach fills an important gap by providing quantitative and mechanistic model from which to evaluate policy decisions and develop land-use plans that promote pollination conservation and service delivery. PMID:19324897

  17. Assessing the habitat suitability of agricultural landscapes for characteristic breeding bird guilds using landscape metrics.

    PubMed

    Borges, Friederike; Glemnitz, Michael; Schultz, Alfred; Stachow, Ulrich

    2017-04-01

    Many of the processes behind the decline of farmland birds can be related to modifications in landscape structure (composition and configuration), which can partly be expressed quantitatively with measurable or computable indices, i.e. landscape metrics. This paper aims to identify statistical relationships between the occurrence of birds and the landscape structure. We present a method that combines two comprehensive procedures: the "landscape-centred approach" and "guild classification". Our study is based on more than 20,000 individual bird observations based on a 4-year bird monitoring approach in a typical agricultural area in the north-eastern German lowlands. Five characteristic bird guilds, each with three characteristic species, are defined for the typical habitat types of that area: farmland, grassland, hedgerow, forest and settlement. The suitability of each sample plot for each guild is indicated by the level of persistence (LOP) of occurrence of three respective species. Thus, the sample plots can be classified as "preferred" or "less preferred" depending on the lower and upper quartiles of the LOP values. The landscape structure is characterized by 16 different landscape metrics expressing various aspects of landscape composition and configuration. For each guild, the three landscape metrics with the strongest rank correlation with the LOP values and that are not mutually dependent were identified. For four of the bird guilds, the classification success was better than 80%, compared with only 66% for the grassland bird guild. A subset of six landscape metrics proved to be the most meaningful and sufficiently classified the sample areas with respect to bird guild suitability. In addition, derived logistic functions allowed the production of guild-specific habitat suitability maps for the whole landscape. The analytical results show that the proposed approach is appropriate to assess the habitat suitability of agricultural landscapes for characteristic

  18. Nutrient removal by prairie filter strips in agricultural landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural landscapes have been identified as a primary source of excess nutrients in aquatic systems. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of prairie filter strips (PFS) in removing nutrients from cropland runoff in 12 small watersheds...

  19. Landscape context and plant community composition in grazed agricultural systems

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Temperate humid grazinglands are an important component of the landscape of the northeastern Unites States. Grass-based agriculture is a major contributor to the economy of this region, but little is known about the basic ecology of these grazinglands. During an eight-year survey of 28 farms across ...

  20. Nutrient removal by prairie filter strips in agricultural landscapes

    Treesearch

    X. Zhou; M.J. Helmers; H. Asbjornsen; R. Kolka; M.D. Tomer; R.M. Cruse

    2014-01-01

    Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from agricultural landscapes have been identified as primary sources of excess nutrients in aquatic systems. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of prairie filter strips (PFS) in removing nutrients from cropland runoff in 12 small watersheds in central Iowa. Four treatments with PFS of different spatial...

  1. Optimizing carbon storage and biodiversity protection in tropical agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Gilroy, James J; Woodcock, Paul; Edwards, Felicity A; Wheeler, Charlotte; Medina Uribe, Claudia A; Haugaasen, Torbjørn; Edwards, David P

    2014-07-01

    With the rapidly expanding ecological footprint of agriculture, the design of farmed landscapes will play an increasingly important role for both carbon storage and biodiversity protection. Carbon and biodiversity can be enhanced by integrating natural habitats into agricultural lands, but a key question is whether benefits are maximized by including many small features throughout the landscape ('land-sharing' agriculture) or a few large contiguous blocks alongside intensive farmland ('land-sparing' agriculture). In this study, we are the first to integrate carbon storage alongside multi-taxa biodiversity assessments to compare land-sparing and land-sharing frameworks. We do so by sampling carbon stocks and biodiversity (birds and dung beetles) in landscapes containing agriculture and forest within the Colombian Chocó-Andes, a zone of high global conservation priority. We show that woodland fragments embedded within a matrix of cattle pasture hold less carbon per unit area than contiguous primary or advanced secondary forests (>15 years). Farmland sites also support less diverse bird and dung beetle communities than contiguous forests, even when farmland retains high levels of woodland habitat cover. Landscape simulations based on these data suggest that land-sparing strategies would be more beneficial for both carbon storage and biodiversity than land-sharing strategies across a range of production levels. Biodiversity benefits of land-sparing are predicted to be similar whether spared lands protect primary or advanced secondary forests, owing to the close similarity of bird and dung beetle communities between the two forest classes. Land-sparing schemes that encourage the protection and regeneration of natural forest blocks thus provide a synergy between carbon and biodiversity conservation, and represent a promising strategy for reducing the negative impacts of agriculture on tropical ecosystems. However, further studies examining a wider range of ecosystem

  2. Agricultural landscapes dynamic at the North-West of Russia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guzel, N.

    2012-04-01

    The process of reduction of agrolandscapes has taken place some decades in the North-Western European Russia. During 100 last years the area of agricultural lands have reduced in 1,4 times on the Karelian Isthmus. The most part of it had been abandoned after change of State border after of the Second World War. The processes of overgrowing of the former agricultural lands are studied on the landscapes base. The types of landscapes are distinguished on the based of the morphological relief symptoms, characteristics of the structure rock and the humid regime. Agricultural lands occupy landscapes such as kames, sandy, sandy-loam, clayey plains, sometimes with excess moistening, sandy fluvioglacial plains, loamy morainic plains, mesotrophic and evtrophic peat-bogs. Four stages can be revealed. I - (period to 20 years after termination of agricultural use) - grass-herb meadow with unclosed brush II - (20 - 40) - shrub layer with closed or low-closed canopy and unclosed or low closed small-leaved regrowth III - (40 - 80) - closed small-leaved forest, sometime including the coniferous trees IY - predomination of the coniferous on small-leaved trees Reestablish vegetation successions can be realised by different ways, with different rate, including various trees and ecological groups of species in different landscapes. In the different sites many traits in common are discovered during this processes. The processes taking place in soil of abandoned agricultural lands are expressed more poorly than in vegetation as soil is more "conservative" element of landscape. Now most area occupies former agricultural lands, inhering on III stage and presenting itself small-leaved forest. Over the last decade because of a change in the socio-political situation there has emerged a tendency towards an increase in the area of the cultivated land in the Karelian Isthmus including the secondary development of previously abandoned lands. However, this process is going on spontaneously; there

  3. Landscape, community, countryside: linking biophysical and social scales in US Corn Belt agricultural landscapes

    Treesearch

    Ryan C. Atwell; Lisa A. Schulte; Lynne M. Westphal

    2009-01-01

    Understanding the interplay between ecological and social factors across multiple scales is integral to landscape change initiatives in productive agricultural regions such as the rural US Corn Belt. We investigated the cultural context surrounding the use of perennial cover types--such as stream buffers, wetlands, cellulosic bioenergy stocks, and diverse cropping...

  4. TMDL Implementation in Agricultural Landscapes: A Communicative and Systemic Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jordan, Nicholas R.; Slotterback, Carissa Schively; Cadieux, Kirsten Valentine; Mulla, David J.; Pitt, David G.; Olabisi, Laura Schmitt; Kim, Jin-Oh

    2011-07-01

    Increasingly, total maximum daily load (TMDL) limits are being defined for agricultural watersheds. Reductions in non-point source pollution are often needed to meet TMDL limits, and improvements in management of annual crops appear insufficient to achieve the necessary reductions. Increased adoption of perennial crops and other changes in agricultural land use also appear necessary, but face major barriers. We outline a novel strategy that aims to create new economic opportunities for land-owners and other stakeholders and thereby to attract their voluntary participation in land-use change needed to meet TMDLs. Our strategy has two key elements. First, focused efforts are needed to create new economic enterprises that capitalize on the productive potential of multifunctional agriculture (MFA). MFA seeks to produce a wide range of goods and ecosystem services by well-designed deployment of annual and perennial crops across agricultural landscapes and watersheds; new revenue from MFA may substantially finance land-use change needed to meet TMDLs. Second, efforts to capitalize on MFA should use a novel methodology, the Communicative/Systemic Approach (C/SA). C/SA uses an integrative GIS-based spatial modeling framework for systematically assessing tradeoffs and synergies in design and evaluation of multifunctional agricultural landscapes, closely linked to deliberation and design processes by which multiple stakeholders can collaboratively create appropriate and acceptable MFA landscape designs. We anticipate that application of C/SA will strongly accelerate TMDL implementation, by aligning the interests of multiple stakeholders whose active support is needed to change agricultural land use and thereby meet TMDL goals.

  5. TMDL implementation in agricultural landscapes: a communicative and systemic approach.

    PubMed

    Jordan, Nicholas R; Slotterback, Carissa Schively; Cadieux, Kirsten Valentine; Mulla, David J; Pitt, David G; Olabisi, Laura Schmitt; Kim, Jin-Oh

    2011-07-01

    Increasingly, total maximum daily load (TMDL) limits are being defined for agricultural watersheds. Reductions in non-point source pollution are often needed to meet TMDL limits, and improvements in management of annual crops appear insufficient to achieve the necessary reductions. Increased adoption of perennial crops and other changes in agricultural land use also appear necessary, but face major barriers. We outline a novel strategy that aims to create new economic opportunities for land-owners and other stakeholders and thereby to attract their voluntary participation in land-use change needed to meet TMDLs. Our strategy has two key elements. First, focused efforts are needed to create new economic enterprises that capitalize on the productive potential of multifunctional agriculture (MFA). MFA seeks to produce a wide range of goods and ecosystem services by well-designed deployment of annual and perennial crops across agricultural landscapes and watersheds; new revenue from MFA may substantially finance land-use change needed to meet TMDLs. Second, efforts to capitalize on MFA should use a novel methodology, the Communicative/Systemic Approach (C/SA). C/SA uses an integrative GIS-based spatial modeling framework for systematically assessing tradeoffs and synergies in design and evaluation of multifunctional agricultural landscapes, closely linked to deliberation and design processes by which multiple stakeholders can collaboratively create appropriate and acceptable MFA landscape designs. We anticipate that application of C/SA will strongly accelerate TMDL implementation, by aligning the interests of multiple stakeholders whose active support is needed to change agricultural land use and thereby meet TMDL goals.

  6. Comparative landscape genetics of two pond-breeding amphibian species in a highly modified agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Goldberg, Caren S; Waits, L P

    2010-09-01

    Evaluating fine-scale population structure of multiple species in the same landscape increases our ability to identify common patterns as well as discern ecological differences among species' landscape genetic relationships. In the Palouse bioregion of northern Idaho, USA, 99% of the native prairie has been converted to nonirrigated agriculture and exotic grasslands. Columbia spotted frogs (Rana luteiventris) and long-toed salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) in this area breed almost entirely in artificial ponds on private land. We used genetic distances (F(ST) and D(c)) derived from eight microsatellite loci in 783 samples to evaluate the relationships among sympatric breeding populations (N = 20 and 26) of these species in a 213-km(2) landscape. Both species showed a pattern of isolation by distance that was not improved when distance was measured along drainages instead of topographically corrected straight lines (P < 0.01). After testing for autocorrelation among genetic distances, we used an information theoretic approach to model landscape resistance based on slope, soil type, solar insolation, and land cover, and multi-model inference to rank the resistance of landscape surfaces to dispersal (represented by genetic distance). For both species, urban and rural developed land cover provided the highest landscape resistances. Resistance values for long-toed salamanders followed a moisture gradient where forest provided the least resistance, while agriculture and shrub/clearcut provided the least resistance for Columbia spotted frogs. Comparative landscape genetics can be a powerful tool for detecting similarities and differences between codistributed species, and resulting models can be used to predict species-specific responses to landscape change.

  7. Measuring biodiversity and sustainable management in forests and agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Dudley, Nigel; Baldock, David; Nasi, Robert; Stolton, Sue

    2005-01-01

    Most of the world's biodiversity will continue to exist outside protected areas and there are also managed lands within many protected areas. In the assessment of millennium targets, there is therefore a need for indicators to measure biodiversity and suitability of habitats for biodiversity both across the whole landscape/seascape and in specific managed habitats. The two predominant land uses in many inhabited areas are forestry and agriculture and these are examined. Many national-level criteria and indicator systems already exist that attempt to assess biodiversity in forests and the impacts of forest management, but there is generally less experience in measuring these values in agricultural landscapes. Existing systems are reviewed, both for their usefulness in providing indicators and to assess the extent to which they have been applied. This preliminary gap analysis is used in the development of a set of indicators suitable for measuring progress towards the conservation of biodiversity in managed forests and agriculture. The paper concludes with a draft set of indicators for discussion, with suggestions including proportion of land under sustainable management, amount of produce from such land, area of natural or high quality semi-natural land within landscapes under sustainable management and key indicator species. PMID:15814357

  8. Measuring biodiversity and sustainable management in forests and agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Dudley, Nigel; Baldock, David; Nasi, Robert; Stolton, Sue

    2005-02-28

    Most of the world's biodiversity will continue to exist outside protected areas and there are also managed lands within many protected areas. In the assessment of millennium targets, there is therefore a need for indicators to measure biodiversity and suitability of habitats for biodiversity both across the whole landscape/seascape and in specific managed habitats. The two predominant land uses in many inhabited areas are forestry and agriculture and these are examined. Many national-level criteria and indicator systems already exist that attempt to assess biodiversity in forests and the impacts of forest management, but there is generally less experience in measuring these values in agricultural landscapes. Existing systems are reviewed, both for their usefulness in providing indicators and to assess the extent to which they have been applied. This preliminary gap analysis is used in the development of a set of indicators suitable for measuring progress towards the conservation of biodiversity in managed forests and agriculture. The paper concludes with a draft set of indicators for discussion, with suggestions including proportion of land under sustainable management, amount of produce from such land, area of natural or high quality semi-natural land within landscapes under sustainable management and key indicator species.

  9. Landscape evolution by soil redistribution in a Mediterranean agricultural context

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ciampalini, Rossano; Follain, Stéphane; Le Bissonnais, Yves

    2010-05-01

    Soils and landscapes are frequently subjected to rapid evolutions induced by climate changes and humans disturbances. Early, soil scientists had already sought to identify the dynamic interactions between soils and landscapes. Soil redistribution modelling is an appropriate analyse methodology widely utilized (Kirkby, 1985; Van Oost et al., 2000; Van Rompaey et al., 2001; Minasny and McBratney, 1999; Van Oost et al., 2005; Govers et al., 2006) to understand space time evolution in soil and landscape processes at short and medium term. The aims of this research is to develop a model able to simulate soil evolution as affected by soil redistribution processes (e.g. water-erosion processes and mechanical erosion) and to use pedological knowledge acquired from a field study coupled with the present research. The LandSoil model, here proposed, is an event based model, dimensioned for fine spatial [1 m] and medium [10 -100 years] temporal scales, taking into account a detailed representation of the agricultural landscape structure. It is composed of three modules for soil erosion/redistribution: rill erosion (Souchère et al., 2003); interrill erosion (Cerdan et al., 2002); and tillage erosion based on the mechanistic rules developed by Govers et al., 1994. After each rain and tillage event a new topography is evaluated as well as all the geometric landscape parameters. Specificities of the model are: i) long-term landscape analysis and topography balance after each rainfall; ii) evaluation of water erosion and soil mechanistic redistribution (tillage erosion); iii) taking in consideration of the landscape geometry, especially connectivity, as a significant information in describing the landscape and useful in modelling (Landscape structure management and landscape design); and iv) utilisation of various and different climate scenarios thanks to the event based model. Subsequently we apply this model to study the effect of different scenarios of land management and

  10. Avian Species and Functional Diversity in Agricultural Landscapes: Does Landscape Heterogeneity Matter?

    PubMed

    Lee, Myung-Bok; Martin, James A

    2017-01-01

    While the positive relationship between avian diversity and habitat heterogeneity is widely accepted, it is primarily based on observed species richness without accounting for imperfect detection. Other facets of diversity such as functional diversity are also rarely explored. We investigated the avian diversity-landscape heterogeneity relationship in agricultural landscapes by considering two aspects of diversity: taxonomic diversity (species richness) estimated from a multi-species dynamic occupancy model, and functional diversity (functional evenness [FEve] and divergence [FDiv]) based on traits of occurring species. We also assessed how agricultural lands enrolled in a conservation program managed on behalf of declining early successional bird species (hereafter CP38 fields, an agri-environment scheme) influenced avian diversity. We analyzed breeding bird data collected at CP38 fields in Mississippi, USA, during 2010-2012, and two principal components of environmental variables: a gradient of heterogeneity (Shannon's landscape diversity index) and of the amount of CP38 fields (percent cover of CP38 fields; CP38). FEve did not show significant responses to environmental variables, whereas FDiv responded positively to heterogeneity and negatively to CP38. However, most FDiv values did not significantly differ from random expectations along an environmental gradient. When there was a significant difference, FDiv was lower than that expected. Unlike functional diversity, species richness showed a clear pattern. Species richness increased with increasing landscape heterogeneity but decreased with increasing amounts of CP38 fields. Only one species responded negatively to heterogeneity and positively to CP38. Our results suggest that the relationships between avian diversity and landscape heterogeneity may vary depending on the aspect of diversity considered: strong positive effects of heterogeneity on taxonomic diversity, but weakly positive or non

  11. Avian Species and Functional Diversity in Agricultural Landscapes: Does Landscape Heterogeneity Matter?

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    While the positive relationship between avian diversity and habitat heterogeneity is widely accepted, it is primarily based on observed species richness without accounting for imperfect detection. Other facets of diversity such as functional diversity are also rarely explored. We investigated the avian diversity-landscape heterogeneity relationship in agricultural landscapes by considering two aspects of diversity: taxonomic diversity (species richness) estimated from a multi-species dynamic occupancy model, and functional diversity (functional evenness [FEve] and divergence [FDiv]) based on traits of occurring species. We also assessed how agricultural lands enrolled in a conservation program managed on behalf of declining early successional bird species (hereafter CP38 fields, an agri-environment scheme) influenced avian diversity. We analyzed breeding bird data collected at CP38 fields in Mississippi, USA, during 2010–2012, and two principal components of environmental variables: a gradient of heterogeneity (Shannon’s landscape diversity index) and of the amount of CP38 fields (percent cover of CP38 fields; CP38). FEve did not show significant responses to environmental variables, whereas FDiv responded positively to heterogeneity and negatively to CP38. However, most FDiv values did not significantly differ from random expectations along an environmental gradient. When there was a significant difference, FDiv was lower than that expected. Unlike functional diversity, species richness showed a clear pattern. Species richness increased with increasing landscape heterogeneity but decreased with increasing amounts of CP38 fields. Only one species responded negatively to heterogeneity and positively to CP38. Our results suggest that the relationships between avian diversity and landscape heterogeneity may vary depending on the aspect of diversity considered: strong positive effects of heterogeneity on taxonomic diversity, but weakly positive or non

  12. Mapping agricultural landscapes and characterizing adaptive capacity in Central America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holland, M. B.; Imbach, P. A.; Bouroncle, C.; Donatti, C.; Leguia, E.; Martinez, M.; Medellin, C.; Saborio-Rodriguez, M.; Shamer, S.; Zamora, J.

    2013-12-01

    One of the key challenges in developing adaptation strategies for smallholder farmers in developing countries is that of a data-poor environment, where spatially-explicit information about where the most vulnerable smallholder communities are located is lacking. Developing countries tend to lack consistent and reliable maps on agricultural land use, and have limited information available on smallholder adaptive capacity. We developed a novel participatory and expert mapping process to overcome these barriers and develop detailed national-scale maps that allow for a characterization of unique agricultural landscapes based on profiles of adaptive capacity for smallholder agriculture in each area. This research focuses specifically on the Central American nations of Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras, where our focus is on coffee and basic grains as the two main cropping systems. Here we present the methodology and results of a series of in-depth interviews and participatory mapping sessions with experts working within the broader agricultural sector in each country. We held individual interviews and mapping sessions with approximately thirty experts from each country, and used a detailed survey instrument for each mapping session to both spatially identify distinct agricultural landscapes, and to further characterize each area based on specific farm practices and social context. The survey also included a series of questions to help us assess the relative adaptive capacity of smallholder agriculture within each landscape. After all expert mapping sessions were completed in each country we convened an expert group to assist in both validating and refining the set of landscapes already defined. We developed a characterization of adaptive capacity by aggregating indicators into main assets-based criteria (e.g. land tenure, access to credit, access to technical assistance, sustainable farm practices) derived from further expert weighting of indicators through an online

  13. Complexity of human and ecosystem interactions in an agricultural landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Coupe, Richard H.; Barlow, Jeannie R.; Capel, Paul D.

    2012-01-01

    The complexity of human interaction in the commercial agricultural landscape and the resulting impacts on the ecosystem services of water quality and quantity is largely ignored by the current agricultural paradigm that maximizes crop production over other ecosystem services. Three examples at different spatial scales (local, regional, and global) are presented where human and ecosystem interactions in a commercial agricultural landscape adversely affect water quality and quantity in unintended ways in the Delta of northwestern Mississippi. In the first example, little to no regulation of groundwater use for irrigation has caused declines in groundwater levels resulting in loss of baseflow to streams and threatening future water supply. In the second example, federal policy which subsidizes corn for biofuel production has encouraged many producers to switch from cotton to corn, which requires more nutrients and water, counter to national efforts to reduce nutrient loads to the Gulf of Mexico and exacerbating groundwater level declines. The third example is the wholesale adoption of a system for weed control that relies on a single chemical, initially providing many benefits and ultimately leading to the widespread occurrence of glyphosate and its degradates in Delta streams and necessitating higher application rates of glyphosate as well as the use of other herbicides due to increasing weed resistance. Although these examples are specific to the Mississippi Delta, analogous situations exist throughout the world and point to the need for change in how we grow our food, fuel, and fiber, and manage our soil and water resources.

  14. Stream Metabolism and Aquatic Vegetation in Agriculturally Dominated Landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Munn, M. D.; Bales, J. D.; Waite, I.

    2013-12-01

    Forty-six streams across 7 agricultural areas of the United States were assessed using 2-station whole-stream metabolism techniques and aquatic vegetation measurements. Land use was dominated by agriculture, ranging from 0.1 to 92 percent (mean = 44 percent), with agricultural practices ranging from low intensity pasture to high intensity irrigated agriculture. Streams represented a gradient of nutrient concentrations for TN (0.07- 9.0 mg/L) and TP (0.002-1.7 mg/L). Measures of aquatic vegetation included benthic algal biomass (chlorophyll a/m2) and percent macrophyte cover. Additional data included stream and riparian habitat and basin features. Gross primary production (GPP) ranged from 0.1 to 12 g O2/ m2/ d, with highest production occurring in macrophyte-dominated streams in Idaho and Minnesota, and benthic periphyton-dominated streams in the Ozarks (Arkansas and Missouri). GPP was positively correlated with macrophyte cover (r=0.35), but not with algal biomass. Macrophyte driven systems occurred almost exclusively in open canopy systems where canopy was less than 27 percent. Nutrient concentrations in streams were not determined to be important explanatory variables for GPP; however, modeled estimates of nitrogen and phosphorous inputs to the watershed were related to benthic algal biomass and macrophyte cover in specific agricultural areas. Habitat played a key role in GPP, benthic algal biomass, and macrophyte cover, with indicators of light (for example, canopy cover or suspended sediment), often determined to be significant explanatory variables. Approximately 75 percent of sites had negative net ecosystem production indicating heterotrophic metabolism; intensive agriculture dominated many of these streams. Nutrient management strategies in agricultural landscapes require an understanding of nutrient sources, transport mechanisms, habitat condition, and ecosystem processes in order to make sound decisions on land use practices.

  15. Environment, agriculture, and settlement patterns in a marginal Polynesian landscape

    PubMed Central

    Kirch, P. V.; Hartshorn, A. S.; Chadwick, O. A.; Vitousek, P. M.; Sherrod, D. R.; Coil, J.; Holm, L.; Sharp, W. D.

    2004-01-01

    Beginning ca. A.D. 1400, Polynesian farmers established permanent settlements along the arid southern flank of Haleakala Volcano, Maui, Hawaiian Islands; peak population density (43-57 persons per km2) was achieved by A.D. 1700-1800, and it was followed by the devastating effects of European contact. This settlement, based on dryland agriculture with sweet potato as a main crop, is represented by >3,000 archaeological features investigated to date. Geological and environmental factors are the most important influence on Polynesian farming and settlement practices in an agriculturally marginal landscape. Interactions between lava flows, whose ages range from 3,000 to 226,000 years, and differences in rainfall create an environmental mosaic that constrained precontact Polynesian farming practices to a zone defined by aridity at low elevation and depleted soil nutrients at high elevation. Within this productive zone, however, large-scale agriculture was concentrated on older, tephra-blanketed lava flows; younger flows were reserved for residential sites, small ritual gardens, and agricultural temples. PMID:15210963

  16. Environment, agriculture, and settlement patterns in a marginal Polynesian landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirch, P.V.; Hartshorn, A.S.; Chadwick, O.A.; Vitousek, P.M.; Sherrod, D.R.; Coil, J.; Holm, L.; Sharp, W.D.

    2004-01-01

    Beginning ca. A.D. 1400, Polynesian farmers established permanent settlements along the arid southern flank of Haleakala Volcano, Maui, Hawaiian Islands; peak population density (43-57 persons per km2) was achieved by A.D. 1700-1800, and it was followed by the devastating effects of European contact. This settlement, based on dryland agriculture with sweet potato as a main crop, is represented by >3,000 archaeological features investigated to date. Geological and environmental factors are the most important influence on Polynesian farming and settlement practices in an agriculturally marginal landscape. Interactions between lava flows, whose ages range from 3,000 to 226,000 years, and differences in rainfall create an environmental mosaic that constrained precontact Polynesian farming practices to a zone defined by aridity at low elevation and depleted soil nutrients at high elevation. Within this productive zone, however, large-scale agriculture was concentrated on older, tephra-blanketed lava flows; younger flows were reserved for residential sites, small ritual gardens, and agricultural temples.

  17. Landscape patterns and soil organic carbon stocks in agricultural bocage landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viaud, Valérie; Lacoste, Marine; Michot, Didier; Walter, Christian

    2014-05-01

    Soil organic carbon (SOC) has a crucial impact on global carbon storage at world scale. SOC spatial variability is controlled by the landscape patterns resulting from the continuous interactions between the physical environment and the society. Natural and anthropogenic processes occurring and interplaying at the landscape scale, such as soil redistribution in the lateral and vertical dimensions by tillage and water erosion processes or spatial differentiation of land-use and land-management practices, strongly affect SOC dynamics. Inventories of SOC stocks, reflecting their spatial distribution, are thus key elements to develop relevant management strategies to improving carbon sequestration and mitigating climate change and soil degradation. This study aims to quantify SOC stocks and their spatial distribution in a 1,000-ha agricultural bocage landscape with dairy production as dominant farming system (Zone Atelier Armorique, LTER Europe, NW France). The site is characterized by high heterogeneity on short distance due to a high diversity of soils with varying waterlogging, soil parent material, topography, land-use and hedgerow density. SOC content and stocks were measured up to 105-cm depth in 200 sampling locations selected using conditioned Latin hypercube sampling. Additive sampling was designed to specifically explore SOC distribution near to hedges: 112 points were sampled at fixed distance on 14 transects perpendicular from hedges. We illustrate the heterogeneity of spatial and vertical distribution of SOC stocks at landscape scale, and quantify SOC stocks in the various landscape components. Using multivariate statistics, we discuss the variability and co-variability of existing spatial organization of cropping systems, environmental factors, and SOM stocks, over landscape. Ultimately, our results may contribute to improving regional or national digital soil mapping approaches, by considering the distribution of SOC stocks within each modeling unit and

  18. The residence time of intensively managed agricultural landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowling, Laura; Cherkauer, Keith; Chiu, Chun-mei; Rahman, Sanoar

    2015-04-01

    Much of the agricultural landscape across the Midwestern United States is intensively managed through numerous surface and subsurface drainage improvements, and the growing extraction of groundwater resources. The relatively recent glaciation of the North Central region means that the landscape is less dissected and hydrologically connected than older till areas. Low topographic gradients and underlying dense till which restricts vertical water movement, as well as kettle depressions, have led to poorly drained soils and extensive wetlands within the landscape. Large areas of this land could only be farmed once the excess water was removed through artificial surface and subsurface drainage. Conventional wisdom in the region maintains that subsurface tile drainage reduces the occurrence of peak flow events by increasing soil water storage capacity. At the watershed scale, this view does not take into account the coincident increase in surface drainage and reduction in residence time in surface depressions. This paper explores to what degree water management and irrigation has changed surface and subsurface water storage and residence time over the last century and how this has impacted flow duration throughout the Wabash River system in Indiana, USA. The effects of subsurface tile drains, wetlands and aquifer storage are explicitly represented within the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) macroscale hydrology model. We maintain a focus on the entire Wabash River, a river system of historic importance that is also representative of many similar areas in the till plain region of the agricultural Midwest, which contribute to water quality and flood dynamics of the Mississippi river system. By lowering the water table, surface and subsurface drainage improvements have increased the subsurface storage capacity at the beginning of rain events, but this is overwhelmed by the decrease in surface storage capacity for intermediate to large events, decreasing the current

  19. Chlorate origin and fate in shallow groundwater below agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Mastrocicco, Micòl; Di Giuseppe, Dario; Vincenzi, Fabio; Colombani, Nicolò; Castaldelli, Giuseppe

    2017-09-12

    In agricultural lowland landscapes, intensive agricultural is accompanied by a wide use of agrochemical application, like pesticides and fertilizers. The latter often causes serious environmental threats such as N compounds leaching and surface water eutrophication; additionally, since perchlorate can be present as impurities in many fertilizers, the potential presence of perchlorates and their by-products like chlorates and chlorites in shallow groundwater could be a reason of concern. In this light, the present manuscript reports the first temporal and spatial variation of chlorates, chlorites and major anions concentrations in the shallow unconfined aquifer belonging to Ferrara province (in the Po River plain). The study was made in 56 different locations to obtain insight on groundwater chemical composition and its sediment matrix interactions. During the monitoring period from 2010 to 2011, in June 2011 a nonpoint pollution of chlorates was found in the shallow unconfined aquifer belonging to Ferrara province. Detected chlorates concentrations ranged between 0.01 and 38 mg/l with an average value of 2.9 mg/l. Chlorates were found in 49 wells out of 56 and in all types of lithology constituting the shallow aquifer. Chlorates concentrations appeared to be linked to NO3(-), volatile fatty acids (VFA) and oxygen reduction potential (ORP) variations. Chlorates behaviour was related to the biodegradation of perchlorates, since perchlorates are favourable electron acceptors for the oxidation of labile dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in groundwater. Further studies must take into consideration to monitor ClO4(-) in pore waters and groundwater to better elucidate the mass flux of ClO4(-) in shallow aquifers belonging to agricultural landscapes. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Spatiotemporal dynamics of climate and agricultural landscape patterns in Xinjiang, China (2000-2015)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, T.; Du, Q. Y.; Zou, J. Q.

    2017-07-01

    This study integrated remote sensing, geographic information system, landscape ecology, and spatial analysis, and is based on meteorological data and four remote sensing images (2000-2015). The aim of this study was to analyse climate trends and spatiotemporal changes in agricultural landscape patterns, and calculate agricultural ecosystem service value (AESV) in Xinjiang, China. In addition, correlation analysis further enabled the quantification of agricultural landscape pattern changes in response to climate change. Results showed that temperature and precipitation registered a fluctuating ascending trend in most areas of Xinjiang. Landscape diversity and fragmentation increased during the same period. AESV showed a trend of gradual increase, the waste disposal and the water retention are the most important ecological functions. Besides, agricultural landscape pattern significantly correlated to climate and the effect of precipitation on agricultural landscape patterns has been greater than the effect of temperature during 2000-2015.

  1. Nutrient mitigation efficiency in agricultural drainage ditches: An influence of landscape properties

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Drainage systems are integral parts of the agricultural landscapes and have the ability to intercept nutrient loading from runoff to surface water. This study investigated nutrient removal efficiency within replicated experimental conventional and controlled (with weirs) agricultural drainage ditche...

  2. Port wine landscape: railroads, phylloxera, and agricultural science.

    PubMed

    Macedo, Marta

    2011-01-01

    It is easy to understand why regions that produce very fine goods such as port wine tend to conceal technological and scientific inputs and praise the uniqueness of the terroir. This paper suggests that, during the last decades of the nineteenth century, viticulture in the Douro region of Portugal was as much a product of soil, local farming traditions, and individual entrepreneurship as it was of modern state science and national politics for agricultural improvement. the unprecedented public projects of building a railroad and fighting phylloxera permanently changed the land of port wine. Moreover, those engineering practices of rationalization, simplification, and standardization that were inscribed on Douro's landscape proved essential for the Portuguese experience of modernization and nation-building.

  3. Eco-hydrological Controls in Mediterranean Agricultural Landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Portoghese, I.; Iacobellis, V.; Sivapalan, M.

    2005-12-01

    This work is focused on semi-arid Mediterranean regions as this is the context in which water shortage is endemic and hydrologic prediction becomes crucial as it involves a variety of problems related to water resources management and water balance in general. Moreover water balance prediction has to deal with further complexities coming from the human-induced perturbations interacting with the climate-soil-vegetation dynamics. Vegetation types and agricultural practices play a central role in the control of water balance processes, and the different strategies that they may have developed to succeed in such water-limited environments may be the key for a better understanding and modelling. A bucket approach is employed to model the temporal water balance dynamics, with vegetation water use efficiency being parameterised with the use of empirically obtained crop coefficients. Sensitivity analysis with respect to the root zone depth and soil properties is carried out with the aim of assessing the robustness of model predictions and exploring the possible spatial distribution of these vegetation types within the study region. Based on these sensitivity analyses the degrees of suitability and adaptability of each vegetation type to the study region are discussed. It is argued at this point that eco-hydrological controls such as prolonged periods of soil moisture deficit, and hence of productivity losses, operates as a major mechanism in determining the spatial patters of vegetation by way of the soil water holding capacity which indeed is recognized as a limiting factor for agricultural development. These results represent a robust, though non-conventional, validation of the model-based hypotheses on the spatial patterns of vegetation. In fact, the observation of co-occurrences of soil properties and land-use across a wide region of Southern Italy have shown a tied dependency between these two landscape features which indeed can be useful in modelling water balance

  4. Conservation planning in agricultural landscapes: hotspots of conflict between agriculture and nature.

    PubMed

    Shackelford, Gorm E; Steward, Peter R; German, Richard N; Sait, Steven M; Benton, Tim G

    2015-03-01

    Conservation conflict takes place where food production imposes a cost on wildlife conservation and vice versa. Where does conservation impose the maximum cost on production, by opposing the intensification and expansion of farmland? Where does conservation confer the maximum benefit on wildlife, by buffering and connecting protected areas with a habitable and permeable matrix of crop and non-crop habitat? Our aim was to map the costs and benefits of conservation versus production and thus to propose a conceptual framework for systematic conservation planning in agricultural landscapes. World-wide. To quantify these costs and benefits, we used a geographic information system to sample the cropland of the world and map the proportion of non-crop habitat surrounding the cropland, the number of threatened vertebrates with potential to live in or move through the matrix and the yield gap of the cropland. We defined the potential for different types of conservation conflict in terms of interactions between habitat and yield (potential for expansion, intensification, both or neither). We used spatial scan statistics to find 'hotspots' of conservation conflict. All of the 'hottest' hotspots of conservation conflict were in sub-Saharan Africa, which could have impacts on sustainable intensification in this region. Systematic conservation planning could and should be used to identify hotspots of conservation conflict in agricultural landscapes, at multiple scales. The debate between 'land sharing' (extensive agriculture that is wildlife friendly) and 'land sparing' (intensive agriculture that is less wildlife friendly but also less extensive) could be resolved if sharing and sparing were used as different types of tool for resolving different types of conservation conflict (buffering and connecting protected areas by maintaining matrix quality, in different types of matrix). Therefore, both sharing and sparing should be prioritized in hotspots of conflict, in the context of

  5. Conservation planning in agricultural landscapes: hotspots of conflict between agriculture and nature

    PubMed Central

    Shackelford, Gorm E; Steward, Peter R; German, Richard N; Sait, Steven M; Benton, Tim G

    2015-01-01

    Aim Conservation conflict takes place where food production imposes a cost on wildlife conservation and vice versa. Where does conservation impose the maximum cost on production, by opposing the intensification and expansion of farmland? Where does conservation confer the maximum benefit on wildlife, by buffering and connecting protected areas with a habitable and permeable matrix of crop and non-crop habitat? Our aim was to map the costs and benefits of conservation versus production and thus to propose a conceptual framework for systematic conservation planning in agricultural landscapes. Location World-wide. Methods To quantify these costs and benefits, we used a geographic information system to sample the cropland of the world and map the proportion of non-crop habitat surrounding the cropland, the number of threatened vertebrates with potential to live in or move through the matrix and the yield gap of the cropland. We defined the potential for different types of conservation conflict in terms of interactions between habitat and yield (potential for expansion, intensification, both or neither). We used spatial scan statistics to find ‘hotspots’ of conservation conflict. Results All of the ‘hottest’ hotspots of conservation conflict were in sub-Saharan Africa, which could have impacts on sustainable intensification in this region. Main conclusions Systematic conservation planning could and should be used to identify hotspots of conservation conflict in agricultural landscapes, at multiple scales. The debate between ‘land sharing’ (extensive agriculture that is wildlife friendly) and ‘land sparing’ (intensive agriculture that is less wildlife friendly but also less extensive) could be resolved if sharing and sparing were used as different types of tool for resolving different types of conservation conflict (buffering and connecting protected areas by maintaining matrix quality, in different types of matrix). Therefore, both sharing and sparing

  6. Quantifying and sustaining biodiversity in tropical agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Mendenhall, Chase D.; Shields-Estrada, Analisa; Krishnaswami, Arjun J.; Daily, Gretchen C.

    2016-01-01

    Decision-makers increasingly seek scientific guidance on investing in nature, but biodiversity remains difficult to estimate across diverse landscapes. Here, we develop empirically based models for quantifying biodiversity across space. We focus on agricultural lands in the tropical forest biome, wherein lies the greatest potential to conserve or lose biodiversity. We explore two questions, drawing from empirical research oriented toward pioneering policies in Costa Rica. First, can remotely sensed tree cover serve as a reliable basis for improved estimation of biodiversity, from plots to regions? Second, how does tropical biodiversity change across the land-use gradient from native forest to deforested cropland and pasture? We report on understory plants, nonflying mammals, bats, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Using data from 67,737 observations of 908 species, we test how tree cover influences biodiversity across space. First, we find that fine-scale mapping of tree cover predicts biodiversity within a taxon-specific radius (of 30–70 m) about a point in the landscape. Second, nearly 50% of the tree cover in our study region is embedded in countryside forest elements, small (typically 0.05–100 ha) clusters or strips of trees on private property. Third, most species use multiple habitat types, including crop fields and pastures (to which 15% of species are restricted), although some taxa depend on forest (57% of species are restricted to forest elements). Our findings are supported by comparisons of 90 studies across Latin America. They provide a basis for a planning tool that guides investments in tropical forest biodiversity similar to those for securing ecosystem services. PMID:27791070

  7. Quantifying and sustaining biodiversity in tropical agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Mendenhall, Chase D; Shields-Estrada, Analisa; Krishnaswami, Arjun J; Daily, Gretchen C

    2016-12-20

    Decision-makers increasingly seek scientific guidance on investing in nature, but biodiversity remains difficult to estimate across diverse landscapes. Here, we develop empirically based models for quantifying biodiversity across space. We focus on agricultural lands in the tropical forest biome, wherein lies the greatest potential to conserve or lose biodiversity. We explore two questions, drawing from empirical research oriented toward pioneering policies in Costa Rica. First, can remotely sensed tree cover serve as a reliable basis for improved estimation of biodiversity, from plots to regions? Second, how does tropical biodiversity change across the land-use gradient from native forest to deforested cropland and pasture? We report on understory plants, nonflying mammals, bats, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Using data from 67,737 observations of 908 species, we test how tree cover influences biodiversity across space. First, we find that fine-scale mapping of tree cover predicts biodiversity within a taxon-specific radius (of 30-70 m) about a point in the landscape. Second, nearly 50% of the tree cover in our study region is embedded in countryside forest elements, small (typically 0.05-100 ha) clusters or strips of trees on private property. Third, most species use multiple habitat types, including crop fields and pastures (to which 15% of species are restricted), although some taxa depend on forest (57% of species are restricted to forest elements). Our findings are supported by comparisons of 90 studies across Latin America. They provide a basis for a planning tool that guides investments in tropical forest biodiversity similar to those for securing ecosystem services.

  8. Multi-temporal analysis of an agricultural landscape transformation and abandonment (Lubietová, Central Slovakia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Masný, Matej; Zaušková, Lubica

    2015-12-01

    Socio-political changes in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe in the era of socialism had significant effects on agricultural landscape. Collectivisation (1950 - 1970) lost almost all of traditional agricultural landscapes. On the other hand, the phenomenon of agricultural abandonment started to be significant after 1989. In the model area (part of The Polana Biosphere Reserve) these two processes that formed the agricultural landscape structure were analysed. The analyses were carried out using orthophotos that represented the landscape structure in 1949, 1986 and 2006. It was found that almost complete extinction of the traditional agricultural landscape represented by a mosaic of narrow fields and permanent grasslands occurred during the period. At the same time, increasing trend of abandonment processes was observed. In 2006, non-forestwoody vegetation covered 48% of agricultural land.Natural reforestation as the final stage of agricultural abandonment extended to 46% on the former agricultural land in 2006. Abandonment processes were the most significant already in the period of socialist agriculture. To describe the changes, landscape metrics such as Number of patches (NP), Mean patch size (MPS), Patch size standard deviation (PSSD) and Mean shape index (MSI) were used.

  9. The Impact of Landscape Complexity on Invertebrate Diversity in Edges and Fields in an Agricultural Area

    PubMed Central

    Evans, Tracy R.; Mahoney, Meredith J.; Cashatt, Everett D.; Noordijk, Jinze; de Snoo, Geert; Musters, C. J. M.

    2016-01-01

    Invertebrate diversity is important for a multitude of ecosystem services and as a component of the larger ecological food web. A better understanding of the factors influencing invertebrate taxonomic richness and diversity at both local and landscape scales is important for conserving biodiversity within the agricultural landscape. The aim of this study was to determine if invertebrate richness and diversity in agricultural field interiors and edges in central Illinois, USA, were related to the complexity of the surrounding landscape. Our results show taxonomic richness and diversity in field edges is positively related to large scale landscape complexity, but the relationship is negative for field interiors. These unexpected results need further study. PMID:26848691

  10. Predicting biodiversity change and averting collapse in agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Mendenhall, Chase D; Karp, Daniel S; Meyer, Christoph F J; Hadly, Elizabeth A; Daily, Gretchen C

    2014-05-08

    The equilibrium theory of island biogeography is the basis for estimating extinction rates and a pillar of conservation science. The default strategy for conserving biodiversity is the designation of nature reserves, treated as islands in an inhospitable sea of human activity. Despite the profound influence of islands on conservation theory and practice, their mainland analogues, forest fragments in human-dominated landscapes, consistently defy expected biodiversity patterns based on island biogeography theory. Countryside biogeography is an alternative framework, which recognizes that the fate of the world's wildlife will be decided largely by the hospitality of agricultural or countryside ecosystems. Here we directly test these biogeographic theories by comparing a Neotropical countryside ecosystem with a nearby island ecosystem, and show that each supports similar bat biodiversity in fundamentally different ways. The island ecosystem conforms to island biogeographic predictions of bat species loss, in which the water matrix is not habitat. In contrast, the countryside ecosystem has high species richness and evenness across forest reserves and smaller forest fragments. Relative to forest reserves and fragments, deforested countryside habitat supports a less species-rich, yet equally even, bat assemblage. Moreover, the bat assemblage associated with deforested habitat is compositionally novel because of predictable changes in abundances by many species using human-made habitat. Finally, we perform a global meta-analysis of bat biogeographic studies, spanning more than 700 species. It generalizes our findings, showing that separate biogeographic theories for countryside and island ecosystems are necessary. A theory of countryside biogeography is essential to conservation strategy in the agricultural ecosystems that comprise roughly half of the global land surface and are likely to increase even further.

  11. Minor modifications in agricultural landscapes for promoting biodiversity through floral provisioning

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    There is growing interest in IPM programs and habitat management to combat the decline in diversity of beneficial arthropods in agricultural landscapes caused by habitat simplification and intensive management practices. Addition of floral resources to the landscape can help offset these effects. We...

  12. Visualizing land-use and management complexity within biogeochemical cycles of an agricultural landscape

    Treesearch

    Kai Nils Nitzsche; Gernot Verch; Katrin Premke; Arthur Gessler; Zachary. Kayler

    2016-01-01

    Crop fields are cultivated across continuities of soil, topography, and local climate that drive biological processes and nutrient cycling at the landscape scale; yet land management and agricultural research are often performed at the field scale, potentially neglecting the context of the surrounding landscape. Adding to this complexity is the overlap of ecosystems...

  13. Reducing sedimentation of depressional wetlands in agricultural landscapes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Skagen, S.K.; Melcher, Cynthia; Haukos, D.A.

    2008-01-01

    Depressional wetlands in agricultural landscapes are easily degraded by sediments and contaminants accumulated from their watersheds. Several best management practices can reduce transport of sediments into wetlands, including the establishment of vegetative buffers. We summarize the sources, transport dynamics, and effect of sediments, nutrients, and contaminants that threaten wetlands and the current knowledge of design and usefulness of grass buffers for protecting isolated wetlands. Buffer effectiveness is dependent on several factors, including vegetation structure, buffer width, attributes of the surrounding watershed (i.e., area, vegetative cover, slope and topography, soil type and structure, soil moisture, amount of herbicides and pesticides applied), and intensity and duration of rain events. To reduce dissolved contaminants from runoff, the water must infiltrate the soil where microbes or other processes can break down or sequester contaminants. But increasing infiltration also diminishes total water volume entering a wetland, which presents threats to wetland hydrology in semi-arid regions. Buffer effectiveness may be enhanced significantly by implementing other best management practices (e.g., conservation tillage, balancing input with nutrient requirements for livestock and crops, precision application of chemicals) in the surrounding watershed to diminish soil erosion and associated contaminant runoff. Buffers require regular maintenance to remove sediment build-up and replace damaged or over-mature vegetation. Further research is needed to establish guidelines for effective buffer width and structure, and such efforts should entail a coordinated, regional, multi-scale, multidisciplinary approach to evaluate buffer effectiveness and impacts. Direct measures in "real-world" systems and field validations of buffer-effectiveness models are crucial next steps in evaluating how grass buffers will impact the abiotic and biotic variables attributes that

  14. Effects of landscape evolution on soil organic carbon dynamics in intensively managed agricultural landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yan, Q.; Kumar, P.

    2016-12-01

    Soil organic matter (SOM) plays a critical role in nutrient dynamics and carbon sequestration. Significant research has been done to predict changes of organic carbon and nitrogen in the soil by studying the interaction between soil, climate, and vegetation. However, an important factor in this system, the landscape evolution (LE), which interacts extensively with the soil, climate, and vegetation over a longer time scale, is usually not represented in such studies. Natural and anthropogenic drivers change the surface topography. Agricultural practices, such as fertilizer application and tillage episodically disturb the system. Here we simulate this system by coupling chemically based C-N model with physically based hydro-geomorphologic model at hillslope scale to understand 1) how LE impacts C-N dynamics; 2) how SOM affects LE; 3) how farming activities modify the interaction between LE and SOM dynamics. Our results show that LE plays a dominant role in SOC both above- and below-ground. Contrary to an assumption used in many models that a vertical profile of SOC concentration decreases exponentially, we find that in many situations SOC concentration below-ground could be higher than the one at the surface in both deposition and erosion sites. Tillage mixes the SOC in top 5cm-30cm of the soil. On one hand, tillage enhances the SOC storage by increasing below ground SOC concentration; On the other hand, tillage could accelerate soil erosion, which increase SOC loss. In general, tillage causes the soil vertical profile to become more uniform. Our model also shows that tillage can change the C-N oscillation cycle and then increase the time to reach a dynamic equilibrium. The SOC measured in the field site of Intensively Managed Landscapes Critical Zone Observatory (IMLCZO) is consistent with our model results. This study not only helps us understand the natural carbon-nitrogen cycle, but also serve as an instrument to develop practical means for reducing soil erosion

  15. Managing for naturalness in wildland and agricultural landscapes

    Treesearch

    Joan Nassauer

    1979-01-01

    Visual management systems operate from the premise that people have expectations for landscape views, and that people's positive expectations should be fulfilled. Both the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management visual management systems assume that people expect wildlands to look natural. People also like to see natural landscapes in rural Iowa. Research I...

  16. Scale dependent drivers of wild bee diversity in tropical heterogeneous agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Basu, Parthiba; Parui, Arpan Kumar; Chatterjee, Soumik; Dutta, Aditi; Chakraborty, Pushan; Roberts, Stuart; Smith, Barbara

    2016-10-01

    Factors associated with agricultural intensification, for example, loss of seminatural vegetation and pesticide use has been shown to adversely affect the bee community. These factors may impact the bee community differently at different landscape scales. The scale dependency is expected to be more pronounced in heterogeneous landscapes. However, the scale-dependent response of the bee community to drivers of its decline is relatively understudied, especially in the tropics where the agricultural landscape is often heterogeneous. This study looked at effects of agricultural intensification on bee diversity at patch and landscape scales in a tropical agricultural landscape. Wild bees were sampled using 12 permanent pan trap stations. Patch and landscape characteristics were measured within a 100 m (patch scale) and a 500 m (landscape scale) radius of pan trap stations. Information on pesticide input was obtained from farmer surveys. Data on vegetation cover, productivity, and percentage of agricultural and fallow land (FL) were collected using satellite imagery. Intensive areas in a bee-site network were less specialized in terms of resources to attract rare bee species while the less intensive areas, which supported more rare species, were more vulnerable to disturbance. A combination of patch quality and diversity as well as pesticide use regulates species diversity at the landscape scale (500 m), whereas pesticide quantity drove diversity at the patch scale (100 m). At the landscape scale, specialization of each site in terms of resources for bees increased with increasing patch diversity and FL while at the patch scale specialization declined with increased pesticide use. Bee functional groups responded differentially to landscape characteristics as well as pesticide use. Wood nesting bees were negatively affected by the number of pesticides used but other bee functional groups were not sensitive to pesticides. Synthesis and Applications: Different factors

  17. From forest landscape to agricultural landscape in the developing tropical country of Malaysia: pattern, process, and their significance on policy.

    PubMed

    Abdullah, Saiful Arif; Hezri, Adnan A

    2008-11-01

    Agricultural expansion and deforestation are spatial processes of land transformation that impact on landscape pattern. In peninsular Malaysia, the conversion of forested areas into two major cash crops--rubber and oil palm plantations--has been identified as driving significant environmental change. To date, there has been insufficient literature studying the link between changes in landscape patterns and land-related development policies. Therefore, this paper examines: (i) the links between development policies and changes in land use/land cover and landscape pattern and (ii) the significance and implications of these links for future development policies. The objective is to generate insights on the changing process of land use/land cover and landscape pattern as a functional response to development policies and their consequences for environmental conditions. Over the last century, the development of cash crops has changed the country from one dominated by natural landscapes to one dominated by agricultural landscapes. But the last decade of the century saw urbanization beginning to impact significantly. This process aligned with the establishment of various development policies, from land development for agriculture between the mid 1950s and the 1970s to an emphasis on manufacturing from the 1980s onward. Based on a case study in Selangor, peninsular Malaysia, a model of landscape pattern change is presented. It contains three stages according to the relative importance of rubber (first stage: 1900--1950s), oil palm (second stage: 1960s--1970s), and urban (third stage: 1980s--1990s) development that influenced landscape fragmentation and heterogeneity. The environmental consequences of this change have been depicted through loss of biodiversity, geohazard incidences, and the spread of vector-borne diseases. The spatial ecological information can be useful to development policy formulation, allowing diagnosis of the country's "health" and sustainability. The

  18. From Forest Landscape to Agricultural Landscape in the Developing Tropical Country of Malaysia: Pattern, Process, and Their Significance on Policy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abdullah, Saiful Arif; Hezri, Adnan A.

    2008-11-01

    Agricultural expansion and deforestation are spatial processes of land transformation that impact on landscape pattern. In peninsular Malaysia, the conversion of forested areas into two major cash crops—rubber and oil palm plantations—has been identified as driving significant environmental change. To date, there has been insufficient literature studying the link between changes in landscape patterns and land-related development policies. Therefore, this paper examines: (i) the links between development policies and changes in land use/land cover and landscape pattern and (ii) the significance and implications of these links for future development policies. The objective is to generate insights on the changing process of land use/land cover and landscape pattern as a functional response to development policies and their consequences for environmental conditions. Over the last century, the development of cash crops has changed the country from one dominated by natural landscapes to one dominated by agricultural landscapes. But the last decade of the century saw urbanization beginning to impact significantly. This process aligned with the establishment of various development policies, from land development for agriculture between the mid 1950s and the 1970s to an emphasis on manufacturing from the 1980s onward. Based on a case study in Selangor, peninsular Malaysia, a model of landscape pattern change is presented. It contains three stages according to the relative importance of rubber (first stage: 1900-1950s), oil palm (second stage: 1960s-1970s), and urban (third stage: 1980s-1990s) development that influenced landscape fragmentation and heterogeneity. The environmental consequences of this change have been depicted through loss of biodiversity, geohazard incidences, and the spread of vector-borne diseases. The spatial ecological information can be useful to development policy formulation, allowing diagnosis of the country’s “health” and sustainability

  19. Foreword to farming with grass: Achieving sustainable mixed agricultural landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    The Farming with Grass conference was developed to bring together diverse stakeholders in grassland environments to (a) help assess the current condition of agriculture, (b) consider alternative production scenarios for grassland agricultural ecosystems, (c) identify key issues hindering the develop...

  20. Restoration of degraded agricultural terraces: rebuilding landscape structure and process.

    PubMed

    LaFevor, M C

    2014-06-01

    The restoration of severely degraded cropland to productive agricultural capacity increases food supply, improves soil and water conservation, and enhances environmental and ecological services. This article examines the key roles that long-term maintenance plays in the processes of repairing degraded agricultural land. Field measurements from Tlaxcala, Mexico stress that restoring agricultural structures (the arrangements of landforms and vegetation) is alone insufficient. Instead, an effective monitoring and maintenance regime of agricultural structures is also crucial if the efforts are to be successful. Consequently, methods of wildland restoration and agricultural restoration may differ in the degree to which the latter must plan for and facilitate a sustained human involvement. An improved understanding of these distinctions is critical for environmental management as restoration programs that employ the technologies of intensive agriculture continue to grow in number and scope.

  1. Comparing the landscape level perceptual abilities of forest sciurids in fragmented agricultural landscapes*

    Treesearch

    Patrick A. Zollner

    2000-01-01

    Perceptual range is the maximum distance from which an animal can perceive the presence of remote landscape elements such as patches of habitat. Such perceptual abilities are of interest because they influence the probability that an animal will successfully disperse to a new patch in a landscape. Furthermore, understanding how perceptual range differs between species...

  2. Consistency in bird use of tree cover across tropical agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Vilchez Mendoza, Sergio; Harvey, Celia A; Sáenz, Joel C; Casanoves, Fernando; Pablo Carvajal, Jose; González Villalobos, Jorge; Hernandez, Blas; Medina, Arnulfo; Montero, Jorge; Sánchez Merlo, Dalia; Sinclair, Fergus L

    2014-01-01

    In tropical regions where forests have been replaced by agriculture, the future of biodiversity is increasingly dependent on the presence of remnant forest patches and on-farm tree cover within agricultural landscapes. While there is growing evidence of the importance of tree cover within agricultural landscapes, most studies have been conducted in a single landscape, making it difficult to ascertain whether the conservation value of different types of tree cover can be generalized across landscapes. To explore whether use of different forms of tree cover by birds is consistent across landscapes, we compared the number of individuals, species richness, and diversity of birds associated with different forms of tree cover in four agricultural landscapes in Central America, using a standardized methodology and sampling effort. In each landscape, we compared bird assemblages in six tree cover types (secondary forests, riparian forests, forest fallows, live fences, pastures with high tree cover, and pastures with low tree cover). We observed a total of 10 723 birds of 283 species, with 83-196 species per landscape. The specific patterns of bird species richness, number of individuals, and diversity associated with tree cover types varied across the four landscapes, but these variables were consistently higher in the forest forms of tree cover (riparian forests, secondary forests, and forest fallows) than in non-forest habitats. In addition, forest forms of tree cover had distinct species composition from non-forest forms in all landscapes. There was also consistency in the use of different types of tree cover by forest birds across the four landscapes, with higher richness and number of individuals of forest birds in forested than non-forested forms of tree cover, and more forest bird species in pastures with high tree cover than in pastures with low tree cover. Our findings indicate that riparian and secondary forests are consistently of higher value for bird

  3. RIPARIAN AREAS OF AN AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPE IN WESTERN OREGON

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Willamette Valley is a productive, diversified agricultural area in western Oregon. Pastureland and grass seed fields, mostly located on poorly drained soils, account for 60% of the agricultural land in the valley. The size and character of Willamette Valley streams and ass...

  4. RIPARIAN AREAS OF AN AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPE IN WESTERN OREGON

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Willamette Valley is a productive, diversified agricultural area in western Oregon. Pastureland and grass seed fields, mostly located on poorly drained soils, account for 60% of the agricultural land in the valley. The size and character of Willamette Valley streams and ass...

  5. BATS AND BT INSECT RESISTANCE ON AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPES

    EPA Science Inventory

    A landscape model that utilizes land cover classification data, insect life history, insect movement, and bat foraging pressure is developed that addresses the implementation of genetically modified crops in the Winter Garden region of Texas. The principal strategy for delaying r...

  6. Landscape Context and Plant Community Composition in Grazed Agricultural Systems

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Temperate humid grazinglands are an important component of the landscape of the northeastern United States, as well as of the economy of this region, yet unlike their European counterparts, little is known about their basic ecology. During an eight-year survey of 28 farms across the northeastern Uni...

  7. BATS AND BT INSECT RESISTANCE ON AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPES

    EPA Science Inventory

    A landscape model that utilizes land cover classification data, insect life history, insect movement, and bat foraging pressure is developed that addresses the implementation of genetically modified crops in the Winter Garden region of Texas. The principal strategy for delaying r...

  8. Mass-flowering crops dilute pollinator abundance in agricultural landscapes across Europe.

    PubMed

    Holzschuh, Andrea; Dainese, Matteo; González-Varo, Juan P; Mudri-Stojnić, Sonja; Riedinger, Verena; Rundlöf, Maj; Scheper, Jeroen; Wickens, Jennifer B; Wickens, Victoria J; Bommarco, Riccardo; Kleijn, David; Potts, Simon G; Roberts, Stuart P M; Smith, Henrik G; Vilà, Montserrat; Vujić, Ante; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2016-10-01

    Mass-flowering crops (MFCs) are increasingly cultivated and might influence pollinator communities in MFC fields and nearby semi-natural habitats (SNHs). Across six European regions and 2 years, we assessed how landscape-scale cover of MFCs affected pollinator densities in 408 MFC fields and adjacent SNHs. In MFC fields, densities of bumblebees, solitary bees, managed honeybees and hoverflies were negatively related to the cover of MFCs in the landscape. In SNHs, densities of bumblebees declined with increasing cover of MFCs but densities of honeybees increased. The densities of all pollinators were generally unrelated to the cover of SNHs in the landscape. Although MFC fields apparently attracted pollinators from SNHs, in landscapes with large areas of MFCs they became diluted. The resulting lower densities might negatively affect yields of pollinator-dependent crops and the reproductive success of wild plants. An expansion of MFCs needs to be accompanied by pollinator-supporting practices in agricultural landscapes.

  9. Spatial organization of agricultural landscape, farming activities and hydrological risk assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viaud, V.; Merot, P.

    2003-04-01

    Agriculture intensification is considered as a major cause of water pollution since it has gone both with an increasing use of fertilisers and significant changes in land-use patterns. Among the prescriptions for pollution control, the management of buffer zones at the landscape scale is supported by the environmental policies, but often without consideration of the systems of human activities they are aimed at. Agricultural landscapes, with fields potentially source of pollution and buffer zones, are spatially organized and managed by farming activities. In a perspective of sustainable management, an integrating approach of environmental issues and farming activities is thus required. This approach was applied to bocage landscapes (landscapes with cultivated fields surrounded by hedgerow systems) in Brittany (Western France). Bocage landscapes are frequently encountered, especially in Europe, and many studies put forward their hydrological and hydrochemical buffer functions. Those results provide informations on the link between spatial organization of hedgerow systems and their environmental effectiveness. They enable to design models of functional bocage landscapes. The objective of this work was to pick out, among those theoretical models, the models compatible with the farming activities. The results will be presented and the additional constraints for the farming systems created by a functional landscape, from a hydrological and hydrochemical perspective, will be discussed.

  10. Agriculture for improved nutrition: the current research landscape.

    PubMed

    Turner, Rachel; Hawkes, Corinna; Jeff, Waage; Ferguson, Elaine; Haseen, Farhana; Homans, Hilary; Hussein, Julia; Johnston, Deborah; Marais, Debbi; McNeill, Geraldine; Shankar, Bhavani

    2013-12-01

    Concern about food security and its effect on persistent undernutrition has increased interest in how agriculture could be used to improve nutritional outcomes in developing countries. Yet the evidence base for the impact of agricultural interventions targeted at improved nutrition is currently poor. To map the extent and nature of current and planned research on agriculture for improved nutrition in order to identify gaps where more research might be useful. The research, which was conducted from April to August 2012, involved developing a conceptual framework linking agriculture and nutrition, identifying relevant research projects and programs, devising and populating a "template" with details of the research projects in relation to the conceptual framework, classifying the projects, and conducting a gap analysis. The study identified a large number of research projects covering a broad range of themes and topics. There was a strong geographic focus on sub-Saharan Africa, and many studies were explicitly concerned with nutritional impacts on women and children. Although the study revealed a diverse and growing body of research, it also identified research gaps. Few projects consider the entire evidence chain linking agricultural input or practice to nutritional outcomes. There is comparatively little current research on indirect effects of agriculture on nutrition, or the effect of policies or governance, rather than technical interventions. Most research is focused on undernutrition and small farmer households, and few studies target consumers generally, urban populations, or nutrition-related non-communicable diseases. There is very little work on the cost-effectiveness of agricultural interventions. On the basis of these findings, we make suggestions for research investment and for broader engagement of researchers and disciplines in developing approaches to design and evaluate agricultural programs for improved nutrition.

  11. Trophic cascades in agricultural landscapes: indirect effects of landscape composition on crop yield.

    PubMed

    Liere, Heidi; Kim, Tania N; Werling, Benjamin P; Meehan, Timothy D; Landis, Douglas A; Gratton, Claudio

    2015-04-01

    The strength and prevalence of trophic cascades, defined as positive, indirect effects of natural enemies (predatory and parasitic arthropods) on plants, is highly variable in agroecosystems. This variation may in part be due to the spatial or landscape context in which hese trophic cascades occur. In 2011 and 2012, we conducted a natural enemy exclusion experiment in soybean fields along a gradient of landscape composition across southern Wisconsin and Michigan, USA. We used structural equation modeling to ask (1) whether natural enemies influence biocontrol of soybean aphids (SBA) and soybean yield and (2) whether landscape effects on natural enemies influence the strength of the trophic cascades. We found that natural enemies (NE) suppressed aphid populations in both years of our study, and, in 2011, the yield of soybean plants exposed to natural enemies was 37% higher than the yield of plants with aphid populations protected from natural enemies. The strength of the :rophic cascade was also influenced by landscape context. We found that landscapes with a higher proportion of soybean and higher diversity habitats resulted in more NE, fewer aphids, and, in some cases, a trend toward greater soybean yield. These results indicate that landscape context is important for understanding spatial variability in biocontrol and yield, but other factors, such as environmental variability and compensatory growth, might overwhelm the beneficial effects of biocontrol on crop yield.

  12. Agricultural Landscape and Pesticide Effects on Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Biological Traits.

    PubMed

    Alburaki, Mohamed; Steckel, Sandra J; Williams, Matthew T; Skinner, John A; Tarpy, David R; Meikle, William G; Adamczyk, John; Stewart, Scott D

    2017-06-01

    Sixteen honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies were placed in four different agricultural landscapes to study the effects of agricultural landscape and exposure to pesticides on honey bee health. Colonies were located in three different agricultural areas with varying levels of agricultural intensity (AG areas) and one nonagricultural area (NAG area). Colonies were monitored for their performance and productivity for one year by measuring colony weight changes, brood production, and colony thermoregulation. Palynological and chemical analyses were conducted on the trapped pollen collected from each colony and location. Our results indicate that the landscape's composition significantly affected honey bee colony performance and development. Colony weight and brood production were significantly greater in AG areas compared to the NAG area. Better colony thermoregulation in AG areas' colonies was also observed. The quantities of pesticides measured in the trapped pollen were relatively low compared to their acute toxicity. Unexplained queen and colony losses were recorded in the AG areas, while colony losses because of starvation were observed in the NAG area. Our results indicate that landscape with high urban activity enhances honey bee brood production, with no significant effects on colony weight gain. Our study indicates that agricultural crops provide a valuable resource for honey bee colonies, but there is a trade-off with an increased risk of exposure to pesticides. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  13. The Importance of Landscape Elements for Bat Activity and Species Richness in Agricultural Areas

    PubMed Central

    Heim, Olga; Treitler, Julia T.; Tschapka, Marco; Knörnschild, Mirjam; Jung, Kirsten

    2015-01-01

    Landscape heterogeneity is regarded as a key factor for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function in production landscapes. We investigated whether grassland sites at close vicinity to forested areas are more frequently used by bats. Considering that bats are important consumers of herbivorous insects, including agricultural pest, this is important for sustainable land management. Bat activity and species richness were assessed using repeated monitoring from May to September in 2010 with acoustic monitoring surveys on 50 grassland sites in the Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin (North-East Germany). Using spatial analysis (GIS), we measured the closest distance of each grassland site to potentially connecting landscape elements (e.g., trees, linear vegetation, groves, running and standing water). In addition, we assessed the distance to and the percent land cover of forest remnants and urban areas in a 200 m buffer around the recording sites to address differences in the local landscape setting. Species richness and bat activity increased significantly with higher forest land cover in the 200 m buffer and at smaller distance to forested areas. Moreover, species richness increased in proximity to tree groves. Larger amount of forest land cover and smaller distance to forest also resulted in a higher activity of bats on grassland sites in the beginning of the year during May, June and July. Landscape elements near grassland sites also influenced species composition of bats and species richness of functional groups (open, edge and narrow space foragers). Our results highlight the importance of forested areas, and suggest that agricultural grasslands that are closer to forest remnants might be better buffered against outbreaks of agricultural pest insects due to higher species richness and higher bat activity. Furthermore, our data reveals that even for highly mobile species such as bats, a very dense network of connecting elements within the landscape is

  14. The Importance of Landscape Elements for Bat Activity and Species Richness in Agricultural Areas.

    PubMed

    Heim, Olga; Treitler, Julia T; Tschapka, Marco; Knörnschild, Mirjam; Jung, Kirsten

    2015-01-01

    Landscape heterogeneity is regarded as a key factor for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function in production landscapes. We investigated whether grassland sites at close vicinity to forested areas are more frequently used by bats. Considering that bats are important consumers of herbivorous insects, including agricultural pest, this is important for sustainable land management. Bat activity and species richness were assessed using repeated monitoring from May to September in 2010 with acoustic monitoring surveys on 50 grassland sites in the Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin (North-East Germany). Using spatial analysis (GIS), we measured the closest distance of each grassland site to potentially connecting landscape elements (e.g., trees, linear vegetation, groves, running and standing water). In addition, we assessed the distance to and the percent land cover of forest remnants and urban areas in a 200 m buffer around the recording sites to address differences in the local landscape setting. Species richness and bat activity increased significantly with higher forest land cover in the 200 m buffer and at smaller distance to forested areas. Moreover, species richness increased in proximity to tree groves. Larger amount of forest land cover and smaller distance to forest also resulted in a higher activity of bats on grassland sites in the beginning of the year during May, June and July. Landscape elements near grassland sites also influenced species composition of bats and species richness of functional groups (open, edge and narrow space foragers). Our results highlight the importance of forested areas, and suggest that agricultural grasslands that are closer to forest remnants might be better buffered against outbreaks of agricultural pest insects due to higher species richness and higher bat activity. Furthermore, our data reveals that even for highly mobile species such as bats, a very dense network of connecting elements within the landscape is

  15. Relationships between Rural Inhabitants and Their Landscapes in Areas of Intensive Agricultural Use: A Case Study in Quebec (Canada)

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ruiz, Julie; Domon, Gerald

    2012-01-01

    An understanding of the relationships between local populations and the landscape is crucial for reintroducing the multifunctional character of landscapes in areas of intensive agricultural use. This study proposes to identify and compare the relationships that local populations, both farmers and non-farmers, maintain with their landscapes in…

  16. Transforming river basins: Post-livelihood transition agricultural landscapes and implications for natural resource governance.

    PubMed

    Sreeja, K G; Madhusoodhanan, C G; Eldho, T I

    2015-08-15

    The agricultural and livelihood transitions post globalization are redefining resource relations and redrawing landscapes in the Global South and have major implications for nascent natural resource governance regimes such as Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM). A mosaic of divergent reciprocations in resource relations were noticed due to livelihood transitions in the rural areas where previous resource uses and relations had been primarily within agriculture. The reconstitution of rural spaces and the attendant changes in the resource equations are observed to be creating new sites of conformity, contestation and conflicts that often move beyond local spaces. This paper critically reviews studies across the Global South to explore the nature and extent of changes in resource relations and agricultural landscapes post livelihood diversification and the implication and challenges of these changes for natural resource governance. Though there is drastic reduction in agricultural livelihoods throughout the Global South, changes in agricultural area are found to be inconsistent and heterogeneous in the region. Agriculture continues in the countrysides but in widely differentiated capacities and redefined value systems. The transformed agrarian spaces are characterized by a mosaic of scenarios from persistence and sustainable subsistence to differentiation and exploitative commercial practices to abandonment and speculation. The reconfigured resource relations, emergent multiple and multi-scalar interest groups, institutional and policy changes and altered power differentials in these diversified landscapes are yet to be incorporated into natural resource governance frameworks such as IRBM.

  17. A Landscape View of Agricultural Insecticide Use across the Conterminous US from 1997 through 2012

    PubMed Central

    Meehan, Timothy D.; Gratton, Claudio

    2016-01-01

    Simplification of agricultural landscapes is expected to have positive effects on many crop pests and negative effects on their natural enemies, potentially leading to increased pest pressure, decreased crop yield, and increased insecticide use. While many intermediate links in this causal chain have empirical support, there is mixed evidence for ultimate relationships between landscape simplification, crop yield, and insecticide use, especially at large spatial and temporal scales. We explored relationships between landscape simplification (proportion of a county in harvested cropland) and insecticide use (proportion of harvested cropland treated with insecticides), using county-level data from the US Census of Agriculture and a variety of standard and spatiotemporal regression techniques. The best model indicated that insecticide use across the US has increased between 1997 and 2012, was strongly dependent on the crops grown in a county, increased with average farm income and size, and increased with annual growing degree days. After accounting for those variables, and other unidentified spatial and temporal structure in the data, there remained a statistically significant, moderate, positive relationship between insecticide use and landscape simplification. These results lend general support to the causal chain outlined above, and to the notion that a landscape perspective is useful for managing ecosystem services that are provided by mobile organisms and valuable to agriculture. PMID:27902726

  18. A Landscape View of Agricultural Insecticide Use across the Conterminous US from 1997 through 2012.

    PubMed

    Meehan, Timothy D; Gratton, Claudio

    2016-01-01

    Simplification of agricultural landscapes is expected to have positive effects on many crop pests and negative effects on their natural enemies, potentially leading to increased pest pressure, decreased crop yield, and increased insecticide use. While many intermediate links in this causal chain have empirical support, there is mixed evidence for ultimate relationships between landscape simplification, crop yield, and insecticide use, especially at large spatial and temporal scales. We explored relationships between landscape simplification (proportion of a county in harvested cropland) and insecticide use (proportion of harvested cropland treated with insecticides), using county-level data from the US Census of Agriculture and a variety of standard and spatiotemporal regression techniques. The best model indicated that insecticide use across the US has increased between 1997 and 2012, was strongly dependent on the crops grown in a county, increased with average farm income and size, and increased with annual growing degree days. After accounting for those variables, and other unidentified spatial and temporal structure in the data, there remained a statistically significant, moderate, positive relationship between insecticide use and landscape simplification. These results lend general support to the causal chain outlined above, and to the notion that a landscape perspective is useful for managing ecosystem services that are provided by mobile organisms and valuable to agriculture.

  19. A Landscape View of Agricultural Insecticide Use across the Conterminous US from 1997 through 2012

    DOE PAGES

    Meehan, Timothy D.; Gratton, Claudio; Zhang, Youjun

    2016-11-30

    Simplification of agricultural landscapes is expected to have positive effects on many crop pests and negative effects on their natural enemies, potentially leading to increased pest pressure, decreased crop yield, and increased insecticide use. While many intermediate links in this causal chain have empirical support, there is mixed evidence for ultimate relationships between landscape simplification, crop yield, and insecticide use, especially at large spatial and temporal scales. We explored relationships between landscape simplification (proportion of a county in harvested cropland) and insecticide use (proportion of harvested cropland treated with insecticides), using county-level data from the US Census of Agriculture andmore » a variety of standard and spatiotemporal regression techniques. The best model indicated that insecticide use across the US has increased between 1997 and 2012, was strongly dependent on the crops grown in a county, increased with average farm income and size, and increased with annual growing degree days. After accounting for those variables, and other unidentified spatial and temporal structure in the data, there remained a statistically significant, moderate, positive relationship between insecticide use and landscape simplification. Finally, these results lend general support to the causal chain outlined above, and to the notion that a landscape perspective is useful for managing ecosystem services that are provided by mobile organisms and valuable to agriculture.« less

  20. Ditch network sustains functional connectivity and influences patterns of gene flow in an intensive agricultural landscape

    PubMed Central

    Favre-Bac, L; Mony, C; Ernoult, A; Burel, F; Arnaud, J-F

    2016-01-01

    In intensive agricultural landscapes, plant species previously relying on semi-natural habitats may persist as metapopulations within landscape linear elements. Maintenance of populations' connectivity through pollen and seed dispersal is a key factor in species persistence in the face of substantial habitat loss. The goals of this study were to investigate the potential corridor role of ditches and to identify the landscape components that significantly impact patterns of gene flow among remnant populations. Using microsatellite loci, we explored the spatial genetic structure of two hydrochorous wetland plants exhibiting contrasting local abundance and different habitat requirements: the rare and regionally protected Oenanthe aquatica and the more commonly distributed Lycopus europaeus, in an 83 km2 agricultural lowland located in northern France. Both species exhibited a significant spatial genetic structure, along with substantial levels of genetic differentiation, especially for L. europaeus, which also expressed high levels of inbreeding. Isolation-by-distance analysis revealed enhanced gene flow along ditches, indicating their key role in effective seed and pollen dispersal. Our data also suggested that the configuration of the ditch network and the landscape elements significantly affected population genetic structure, with (i) species-specific scale effects on the genetic neighborhood and (ii) detrimental impact of human ditch management on genetic diversity, especially for O. aquatica. Altogether, these findings highlighted the key role of ditches in the maintenance of plant biodiversity in intensive agricultural landscapes with few remnant wetland habitats. PMID:26486611

  1. Sustainable corn stover harvest strategies for Midwest agricultural landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    To support emerging U.S. cellulosic bioenergy industries, 239 site-years of data from field studies at 36 sites in seven states were recently summarized in BioEnergy Research by the ARS Resilient Economic Agricultural Practices (REAP) team [formerly the Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP) tea...

  2. Directions of change in land cover and landscape patterns from 1957 to 2000 in agricultural landscapes in NW Spain.

    PubMed

    Calvo-Iglesias, María Silvia; Fra-Paleo, Urbano; Crecente-Maseda, Rafael; Díaz-Varela, Ramón Alberto

    2006-12-01

    The aim of this work is the analysis of the dynamics in cultural landscapes, focused on the spatial distribution of changes in land cover and landscape patterns, and their possible linkages. These dynamics have been analyzed for the years 1957 and 2000 in a sector of the north of Galicia (NW Spain) characterized with diverse landscapes. Afforestation processes linked to agriculture abandonment and forestry specialization were the main processes observed in the study area, with the exception of the southern mountainous sector that was dominated by ploughing of scrubland for conversion into grassland, reflecting a specialization in livestock production. The structural changes that have taken place in most of the study area were related to the heterogeneity aspects, although the mountainous sectors were characterized by changes in heterogeneity and fragmentation. According to the tests performed, the comparison of the spatial distribution of both dynamics showed a certain statistical significance, reflecting the interrelationship between patterns and processes. This approach could be useful for the identification of areas with similar characteristics in terms of spatial dynamics so as to define more effective and targeted landscape planning and management strategies.

  3. Preliminary GIS analysis of the agricultural landscape of Cuyo Cuyo, Department of Puno, Peru

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Winterhalder, Bruce; Evans, Tom

    1991-01-01

    Computerized analysis of a geographic database (GIS) for Cuyo Cuyo, (Dept. Puno, Peru) is used to correlate the agricultural production zones of two adjacent communities to altitude, slope, aspect, and other geomorphological features of the high-altitude eastern escarpment landscape. The techniques exemplified will allow ecological anthropologists to analyze spatial patterns at regional scales with much greater control over the data.

  4. Preliminary GIS analysis of the agricultural landscape of Cuyo Cuyo, Department of Puno, Peru

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Winterhalder, Bruce; Evans, Tom

    1991-01-01

    Computerized analysis of a geographic database (GIS) for Cuyo Cuyo, (Dept. Puno, Peru) is used to correlate the agricultural production zones of two adjacent communities to altitude, slope, aspect, and other geomorphological features of the high-altitude eastern escarpment landscape. The techniques exemplified will allow ecological anthropologists to analyze spatial patterns at regional scales with much greater control over the data.

  5. The influence of prehistoric Anasazi cobble-mulch agricultural features of northern Rio Grande landscapes

    Treesearch

    Richard D. Periman

    1996-01-01

    Research concerning ancient Pueblo Indian farming, specifically the innovation of cobble-mulch gardens, suggests a manipulation of the local environment on a landscape level that helped create existing ecosystems. This agricultural technology, which consisted of a protective layer of gravel covering the productive soil, trapped seasonal runoff moisture in field areas,...

  6. A survey of insect assemblages responding to volatiles from a ubiquitous fungus in an agricultural landscape

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    We report here a first survey of insect orientation to fungal cultures and and fungal volatiles from a community ecology perspective. We tested whether volatiles from a ubiquitous yeast-like fungus (Aureobasidium pullulans) are broadly attractive to insects in an agricultural landscape. We evaluated...

  7. Application of the precision agricultural landscape modeling system in semiarid environments

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    The Precision Agricultural Landscape Modeling System (PALMS) is a terrain and weather driven, distributed parameter hydrological-biophysical model primarily used in the Midwestern United States. Recently, research was started to evaluate the effectiveness of PALMS on irrigated and on dryland croppin...

  8. Simulating semiarid dryland cropping systems using the precision agricultural landscape modeling system

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    The Precision Agricultural Landscape Modeling System (PALMS) is a terrain and weather driven, and distributed parameter hydrological-biophysical model primarily used in the Midwestern United States. Recently, research was started to evaluate the effectiveness of PALMS on irrigated and on dryland cro...

  9. Nectar production in oilseeds: Food for pollinators in an agricultural landscape

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Pollinating insects are in decline throughout the world, driven by a combination of factors including the loss of forage resources. The corn- and soybean-dominated agriculture of the Central and Midwestern US produces a landscape relatively devoid of nectar and pollen resources. Introducing specialt...

  10. Is there an optimum scale for predicting bird species' distribution in agricultural landscapes?

    PubMed

    Pelosi, Céline; Bonthoux, Sébastien; Castellarini, Fabiana; Goulard, Michel; Ladet, Sylvie; Balent, Gérard

    2014-04-01

    Changes in forest cover in agricultural landscapes affect biodiversity. Its management needs some indications about scale to predict occurrence of populations and communities. In this study we considered a forest cover index to predict bird species and community patterns in agricultural landscapes in south-western France. We used generalized linear models for that purpose with prediction driven by wooded areas' spatial distribution at nine different radii. Using 1064 point counts, we modelled the distribution of 10 bird species whose habitat preferences are spread along a landscape opening gradient. We also modelled the distribution of species richness for farmland species and for forest species. We used satellite images to construct a 'wood/non-wood' map and calculated a forest index, considering the surface area of wooded areas at nine radii from 110m to 910m. The models' predictive quality was determined by the AUC (for predicted presences) and ρ (for predicted species richness) criteria. We found that the forest cover was a good predictor of the distribution of seven bird species in agricultural landscapes (mean AUC for the seven species = 0.74 for the radius 110m). Species richness of farmland and forest birds was satisfactorily predicted by the models (ρ = 0.55 and 0.49, respectively, for the radius 110m). The presence of the studied species and species richness metrics were better predicted at smaller scales (i.e. radii between 110 m and 310 m) within the range tested. These results have implications for bird population management in agricultural landscapes since better pinpointing the scale to predict species distributions will enhance targeting efforts to be made in terms of landscape management.

  11. Mineralization of soil organic matter in biochar amended agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chintala, R.; Clay, D. E.; Schumacher, T. E.; Kumar, S.; Malo, D. D.

    2015-12-01

    Pyrogenic biochar materials have been identified as a promising soil amendment to enhance climate resilience, increase soil carbon recalcitrance and achieve sustainable crop production. A three year field study was initiated in 2013 to study the impact of biochar on soil carbon and nitrogen storage on an eroded Maddock soil series - Sandy, Mixed, Frigid Entic Hapludolls) and deposition Brookings clay loam (Fine-Silty, Mixed, Superactive, Frigid Pachic Hapludolls) landscape positions. Three biochars produced from corn stover (Zea mays L.), Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Lawson and C. Lawson) wood residue, and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) were incorporated at 9.75 Mg ha-1 rate (≈7.5 cm soil depth and 1.3 g/cm3 soil bulk density) with a rototiller. The changes in chemical fractionation of soil carbon (soluble C, acid hydrolyzable C, total C, and δ13 C) and nitrogen (soluble N, acid hydrolyzable N, total N, and δ14 N) were monitored for two soil depths (0-7.5 and 7.5 - 15 cm). Soluble and acid hydrolyzable fractions of soil C and N were influenced by soil series and were not significantly affected by incorporation of biochars. Based on soil and plant samples to be collected in the fall of 2015, C and N budgets are being developed using isotopic and non-isotopic techniques. Laboratory studies showed that the mean residence time for biochars used in this study ranged from 400 to 666 years. Laboratory and field studies will be compared in the presentation.

  12. Investigating biodiversity trajectories using scenarios--lessons from two contrasting agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Lindborg, Regina; Stenseke, Marie; Cousins, Sara A O; Bengtsson, Jan; Berg, Ake; Gustafsson, Tomas; Sjödin, N Erik; Eriksson, Ove

    2009-01-01

    Agriculture is the major land use at a global scale. In addition to food production, multifunctionality of landscapes, including values and ecosystem services like biodiversity, recreation and culture, is now focus for management. This study explores how a scenario approach, involving different stakeholders, may help to improve landscape management for biodiversity conservation. Local farmers and executives at the County Administrative Board were invited to discuss rural development and conditions for farmland biodiversity in two Swedish landscapes. The potential biodiversity for three future land use scenarios for the two landscapes was discussed: nature conservation, outdoor recreation and energy production, and compared with current and historical landscapes in each region. Analyses of habitat areas, connectedness and landscape diversity suggested that the energy and recreation scenarios had a negative impact on farmland biodiversity, whereas the nature conservation scenario, the current and historically reconstructed landscapes had a higher potential for biodiversity. The farmers appreciated the nature conservation scenario, but also the energy production scenario and they highlighted the need of increased subsidies for management of biodiversity. The farmers in the high production area were less interested in nature quality per se. The executives had similar opinions as the farmers, but disagreed on the advantages with energy production, as this would be in conflict with the high biodiversity and recreational values. The local physical and socio-economical conditions differ between landscapes and potentially shaped the stakeholders emotional attachment to the local environment, their opinions and decisions on how to manage the land. We stress the importance of incorporating local knowledge, visions and regional prerequisites for different land uses in conservation, since site and landscape specific planning for biodiversity together with a flexible subsidy

  13. Population genetic structure in a social landscape: barley in a traditional Ethiopian agricultural system

    PubMed Central

    Samberg, Leah H; Fishman, Lila; Allendorf, Fred W

    2013-01-01

    Conservation strategies are increasingly driven by our understanding of the processes and patterns of gene flow across complex landscapes. The expansion of population genetic approaches into traditional agricultural systems requires understanding how social factors contribute to that landscape, and thus to gene flow. This study incorporates extensive farmer interviews and population genetic analysis of barley landraces (Hordeum vulgare) to build a holistic picture of farmer-mediated geneflow in an ancient, traditional agricultural system in the highlands of Ethiopia. We analyze barley samples at 14 microsatellite loci across sites at varying elevations and locations across a contiguous mountain range, and across farmer-identified barley types and management strategies. Genetic structure is analyzed using population-based and individual-based methods, including measures of population differentiation and genetic distance, multivariate Principal Coordinate Analysis, and Bayesian assignment tests. Phenotypic analysis links genetic patterns to traits identified by farmers. We find that differential farmer management strategies lead to markedly different patterns of population structure across elevation classes and barley types. The extent to which farmer seed management appears as a stronger determinant of spatial structure than the physical landscape highlights the need for incorporation of social, landscape, and genetic data for the design of conservation strategies in human-influenced landscapes. PMID:24478796

  14. Pollinator interactions with yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) across urban, agricultural, and natural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Leong, Misha; Kremen, Claire; Roderick, George K

    2014-01-01

    Pollinator-plant relationships are found to be particularly vulnerable to land use change. Yet despite extensive research in agricultural and natural systems, less attention has focused on these interactions in neighboring urban areas and its impact on pollination services. We investigated pollinator-plant interactions in a peri-urban landscape on the outskirts of the San Francisco Bay Area, California, where urban, agricultural, and natural land use types interface. We made standardized observations of floral visitation and measured seed set of yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis), a common grassland invasive, to test the hypotheses that increasing urbanization decreases 1) rates of bee visitation, 2) viable seed set, and 3) the efficiency of pollination (relationship between bee visitation and seed set). We unexpectedly found that bee visitation was highest in urban and agricultural land use contexts, but in contrast, seed set rates in these human-altered landscapes were lower than in natural sites. An explanation for the discrepancy between floral visitation and seed set is that higher plant diversity in urban and agricultural areas, as a result of more introduced species, decreases pollinator efficiency. If these patterns are consistent across other plant species, the novel plant communities created in these managed landscapes and the generalist bee species that are favored by human-altered environments will reduce pollination services.

  15. Reptile and arboreal marsupial response to replanted vegetation in agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Cunningham, Ross B; Lindenmayer, David B; Crane, Mason; Michael, Damian; MacGregor, Christopher

    2007-03-01

    We report reptile and arboreal marsupial responses to vegetation planting and remnant native vegetation in agricultural landscapes in southeastern Australia. We used a hierarchical survey to select 23 landscapes that varied in the amounts of remnant native vegetation and planted native vegetation. We selected two farms within each landscape. In landscapes with plantings, we selected one farm with and one farm without plantings. We surveyed arboreal marsupials and reptiles on four sites on each farm that encompassed four vegetation types (plantings 7-20 years old, old-growth woodland, naturally occurring seedling regrowth woodland, and coppice [i.e., multistemmed] regrowth woodland). Reptiles and arboreal marsupials were less likely to occur on farms and in landscapes with comparatively large areas of plantings. Such farms and landscapes had less native vegetation, fewer paddock trees, and less woody debris within those areas of natural vegetation. The relatively large area of planting on these farms was insufficient to overcome the lack of these key structural attributes. Old-growth woodland, coppice regrowth, seedling regrowth, and planted areas had different habitat values for different reptiles and arboreal marsupials. We conclude that, although plantings may improve habitat conditions for some taxa, they may not effectively offset the negative effects of native vegetation clearing for all species, especially those reliant on old-growth woodland. Restoring suitable habitat for such species may take decades to centuries.

  16. Managing Nitrogen in Croplands: Implications for Increasing Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, L.

    2011-12-01

    Many agricultural landscapes in the temperate zone are dominated by agroecosystems that are managed with high inputs of agrochemicals, including synthetic nitrogen (N) fertilizers. The process of agricultural intensification increases crop production per unit area, but also often results in loss of environmental quality (such as N contamination of waters, eutrophication, atmospheric N deposition, and emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), a potent greenhouse gas). Loss of biodiversity and its 'functional homogenization' is another concern. Not only does little land in these landscapes remain in natural ecosystems, but there are negative off-site impacts of intensive agriculture on non-target organisms. Segregating agroecosystems with high-input agricultural production from natural ecosystems (land sparing) is one view to support both food security and biodiversity conservation. But proponents of land sparing rarely address the loss of other ecosystem services, such as those related to environmental quality, health, and human well-being (e.g., livelihoods and cultural values). An emerging view is that increased reliance on ecological processes in agroecosystems ('ecological intensification') is more feasible when the landscape mosaic includes planned and unplanned biodiversity. This requires research on how to support multiple ecosystem services through the integration of agricultural production and biodiversity conservation in the same landscape, and how ecological and physico-chemical processes at various spatial scales are interlinked. It is an enormous challenge to increase reliance on ecological processes for N availability for crop productivity. There are skeptics who think that this will be detrimental for food security, despite benefits for other types of ecosystem services. Using examples from agricultural landscapes in California, mechanisms for ecologically-based N cycling will be discussed, such as: 1) increasing the reservoir of soil organic N and the

  17. An exhaustive inventory of coniferous trees in an agricultural landscape

    PubMed Central

    Rousselet, Jérôme; Roques, Alain; Garcia, Jacques

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Background Various species of forest trees are commonly used for ornamental purposes and are therefore frequently found in non-forest ecosystems. These trees constitute a significant component of the trees outside forests (TOF). Although increasingly recognized as prominent feature of agricultural lands and built-up areas, not much is known, however, about TOF since they are generally absent from forest inventories. New information In the present study, we focus on the coniferous tree species that constitute potential hosts for a forest defoliator, the pine processionary moth Thaumetopoea pityocampa Den. & Schiff. (Lepidoptera, Notodontidae). We carried out an exhaustive inventory of all pines (Pinus spp.), cedars (Cedrus spp.) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in a 22 × 22 km study window located in the open-field region of Beauce in the centre of France. We recorded a total of 3834 individuals or small groups host trees corresponding a density of 7.9 occurrences per 100 ha. We provide the spatial coordinates of the points without differentiation between tree species. PMID:25733964

  18. An exhaustive inventory of coniferous trees in an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Rousselet, Jérôme; Roques, Alain; Garcia, Jacques; Rossi, Jean-Pierre

    2015-01-01

    Various species of forest trees are commonly used for ornamental purposes and are therefore frequently found in non-forest ecosystems. These trees constitute a significant component of the trees outside forests (TOF). Although increasingly recognized as prominent feature of agricultural lands and built-up areas, not much is known, however, about TOF since they are generally absent from forest inventories. In the present study, we focus on the coniferous tree species that constitute potential hosts for a forest defoliator, the pine processionary moth Thaumetopoeapityocampa Den. & Schiff. (Lepidoptera, Notodontidae). We carried out an exhaustive inventory of all pines (Pinus spp.), cedars (Cedrus spp.) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsugamenziesii) in a 22 × 22 km study window located in the open-field region of Beauce in the centre of France. We recorded a total of 3834 individuals or small groups host trees corresponding a density of 7.9 occurrences per 100 ha. We provide the spatial coordinates of the points without differentiation between tree species.

  19. Grass buffers for playas in agricultural landscapes: An annotated bibliography

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Melcher, Cynthia P.; Skagen, Susan K.

    2005-01-01

    References on best management practices (BMPs) for agricultural lands were included because certain BMPs are crucial for informing decisions about buffer design/ effectiveness and overall playa ecology. We also included various papers that increase the spectrum of time over which buffer theories and practices have evolved. An unannotated section lists references that we did not prioritize for annotation and references that may be helpful but were beyond the scope of this document. Finally, we provide notes on conversations we had with scientists, land managers, and other buffer experts whom we consulted, and their contact information. We conclude the bibliography with appendices of common and scientific names of birds and plants and acronyms used in both the bibliography. In the annotations, italicized text signifies our own editorial remarks. Readers should also note that much of the work on buffers has been designed using English units of measure rather than metrics; in most cases, their results have been converted to metrics for publication, explaining the seemingly odd or irregular buffer widths and other parameters reported.

  20. [Dynamic changes of land desertification landscape pattern in agriculture and pasturage interlaced zone of northern Shaanxi].

    PubMed

    Jia, Ke-Li; Chang, Qing-Rui

    2007-09-01

    By using the 1986, 1993 and 2003 Landsat TM images and with the help of GIS, the dynamic changes of land desertification landscape pattern in agriculture and pasturage interlaced zone of northern Shaanxi in 1986-2003 were analyzed. The results showed that in the past 17 years, the desertification area in the zone decreased by 206,655.2 hm2, with the patches in landscape structure reduced and fragmentation abated. Fortunately, the desertification degree decreased obviously, and moderate and light desertification took the leading position. From 1986 to 2003, the spatial centroid of desertification landscape patches expanded southwestward and northeastward, giving serious threat to the ecological safety of the southeast and northeast loess gully and hilly areas.

  1. Measuring and monitoring linear woody features in agricultural landscapes through earth observation data as an indicator of habitat availability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pasher, J.; McGovern, M.; Putinski, V.

    2016-02-01

    The loss of natural habitats and the loss of biological diversity is a global problem affecting all ecosystems including agricultural landscapes. Indicators of biodiversity can provide standardized measures that make it easier to compare and communicate changes to an ecosystem. In agricultural landscapes the amount and variety of available habitat is directly correlated with biodiversity levels. Linear woody features (LWF), including hedgerows, windbreaks, shelterbelts as well as woody shrubs along fields, roads and watercourses, play a vital role in supporting biodiversity as well as serving a wide variety of other purposes in the ecosystem. Earth observation can be used to quantify and monitor LWF across the landscape. While individual features can be manually mapped, this research focused on the development of methods using line intersect sampling (LIS) for estimating LWF as an indicator of habitat availability in agricultural landscapes. The methods are accurate, efficient, repeatable and provide robust results. Methods were tested over 9.5 Mha of agricultural landscape in the Canadian Mixedwood Plains ecozone. Approximately 97,000 km of LWF were estimated across this landscape with results useable both at a regional reporting scale, as well as mapped across space for use in wildlife habitat modelling or other landscape management research. The LIS approach developed here could be employed at a variety of scales in particular for large regions and could be adapted for use as a national scale indicator of habitat availability in heavily disturbed agricultural landscape.

  2. Increasing corn for biofuel production reduces biocontrol services in agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Landis, Douglas A.; Gardiner, Mary M.; van der Werf, Wopke; Swinton, Scott M.

    2008-01-01

    Increased demand for corn grain as an ethanol feedstock is altering U.S. agricultural landscapes and the ecosystem services they provide. From 2006 to 2007, corn acreage increased 19% nationally, resulting in reduced crop diversity in many areas. Biological control of insects is an ecosystem service that is strongly influenced by local landscape structure. Here, we estimate the value of natural biological control of the soybean aphid, a major pest in agricultural landscapes, and the economic impacts of reduced biocontrol caused by increased corn production in 4 U.S. states (Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). For producers who use an integrated pest management strategy including insecticides as needed, natural suppression of soybean aphid in soybean is worth an average of $33 ha−1. At 2007–2008 prices these services are worth at least $239 million y−1 in these 4 states. Recent biofuel-driven growth in corn planting results in lower landscape diversity, altering the supply of aphid natural enemies to soybean fields and reducing biocontrol services by 24%. This loss of biocontrol services cost soybean producers in these states an estimated $58 million y−1 in reduced yield and increased pesticide use. For producers who rely solely on biological control, the value of lost services is much greater. These findings from a single pest in 1 crop suggest that the value of biocontrol services to the U.S. economy may be underestimated. Furthermore, we suggest that development of cellulosic ethanol production processes that use a variety of feedstocks could foster increased diversity in agricultural landscapes and enhance arthropod-mediated ecosystem services. PMID:19075234

  3. Alternative scenarios of bioenergy crop production in an agricultural landscape and implications for bird communities.

    PubMed

    Blank, Peter J; Williams, Carol L; Sample, David W; Meehan, Timothy D; Turner, Monica G

    2016-01-01

    Increased demand and government mandates for bioenergy crops in the United States could require a large allocation of agricultural land to bioenergy feedstock production and substantially alter current landscape patterns. Incorporating bioenergy landscape design into land-use decision making could help maximize benefits and minimize trade-offs among alternative land uses. We developed spatially explicit landscape scenarios of increased bioenergy crop production in an 80-km radius agricultural landscape centered on a potential biomass-processing energy facility and evaluated the consequences of each scenario for bird communities. Our scenarios included conversion of existing annual row crops to perennial bioenergy grasslands and conversion of existing grasslands to annual bioenergy row crops. The scenarios explored combinations of four biomass crop types (three potential grassland crops along a gradient of plant diversity and one annual row crop [corn]), three land conversion percentages to bioenergy crops (10%, 20%, or 30% of row crops or grasslands), and three spatial configurations of biomass crop fields (random, clustered near similar field types, or centered on the processing plant), yielding 36 scenarios. For each scenario, we predicted the impact on four bird community metrics: species richness, total bird density, species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) density, and SGCN hotspots (SGCN birds/ha ≥ 2). Bird community metrics consistently increased with conversion of row crops to bioenergy grasslands and consistently decreased with conversion of grasslands to bioenergy row crops. Spatial arrangement of bioenergy fields had strong effects on the bird community and in some cases was more influential than the amount converted to bioenergy crops. Clustering grasslands had a stronger positive influence on the bird community than locating grasslands near the central plant or at random. Expansion of bioenergy grasslands onto marginal agricultural lands will

  4. Agricultural intensification and drought frequency increases may have landscape-level consequences for ephemeral ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Dalu, Tatenda; Wasserman, Ryan J; Dalu, Mwazvita T B

    2017-03-01

    Ephemeral wetlands in arid regions are often degraded or destroyed through poor land-use practice long before they are ever studied or prioritized for conservation. Climate change will likely also have implications for these ecosystems given forecast changes in rainfall patterns in many arid environments. Here, we present a conceptual diagram showing typical and modified ephemeral wetlands in agricultural landscapes and how modification impacts on species diversity and composition.

  5. Socially optimal drainage system and agricultural biodiversity: a case study for Finnish landscape.

    PubMed

    Saikkonen, Liisa; Herzon, Irina; Ollikainen, Markku; Lankoski, Jussi

    2014-12-15

    This paper examines the socially optimal drainage choice (surface/subsurface) for agricultural crop cultivation in a landscape with different land qualities (fertilities) when private profits and nutrient runoff damages are taken into account. We also study the measurable social costs to increase biodiversity by surface drainage when the locations of the surface-drained areas in a landscape affect the provided biodiversity. We develop a general theoretical model and apply it to empirical data from Finnish agriculture. We find that for low land qualities the measurable social returns are higher to surface drainage than to subsurface drainage, and that the profitability of subsurface drainage increases along with land quality. The measurable social costs to increase biodiversity by surface drainage under low land qualities are negative. For higher land qualities, these costs depend on the land quality and on the biodiversity impacts. Biodiversity conservation plans for agricultural landscapes should focus on supporting surface drainage systems in areas where the measurable social costs to increase biodiversity are negative or lowest. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Ten principles for a landscape approach to reconciling agriculture, conservation, and other competing land uses

    PubMed Central

    Sayer, Jeffrey; Sunderland, Terry; Ghazoul, Jaboury; Pfund, Jean-Laurent; Sheil, Douglas; Meijaard, Erik; Venter, Michelle; Boedhihartono, Agni Klintuni; Day, Michael; Garcia, Claude; van Oosten, Cora; Buck, Louise E.

    2013-01-01

    Landscape approaches” seek to provide tools and concepts for allocating and managing land to achieve social, economic, and environmental objectives in areas where agriculture, mining, and other productive land uses compete with environmental and biodiversity goals. Here we synthesize the current consensus on landscape approaches. This is based on published literature and a consensus-building process to define good practice and is validated by a survey of practitioners. We find the landscape approach has been refined in response to increasing societal concerns about environment and development tradeoffs. Notably, there has been a shift from conservation-orientated perspectives toward increasing integration of poverty alleviation goals. We provide 10 summary principles to support implementation of a landscape approach as it is currently interpreted. These principles emphasize adaptive management, stakeholder involvement, and multiple objectives. Various constraints are recognized, with institutional and governance concerns identified as the most severe obstacles to implementation. We discuss how these principles differ from more traditional sectoral and project-based approaches. Although no panacea, we see few alternatives that are likely to address landscape challenges more effectively than an approach circumscribed by the principles outlined here. PMID:23686581

  7. Ten principles for a landscape approach to reconciling agriculture, conservation, and other competing land uses.

    PubMed

    Sayer, Jeffrey; Sunderland, Terry; Ghazoul, Jaboury; Pfund, Jean-Laurent; Sheil, Douglas; Meijaard, Erik; Venter, Michelle; Boedhihartono, Agni Klintuni; Day, Michael; Garcia, Claude; van Oosten, Cora; Buck, Louise E

    2013-05-21

    "Landscape approaches" seek to provide tools and concepts for allocating and managing land to achieve social, economic, and environmental objectives in areas where agriculture, mining, and other productive land uses compete with environmental and biodiversity goals. Here we synthesize the current consensus on landscape approaches. This is based on published literature and a consensus-building process to define good practice and is validated by a survey of practitioners. We find the landscape approach has been refined in response to increasing societal concerns about environment and development tradeoffs. Notably, there has been a shift from conservation-orientated perspectives toward increasing integration of poverty alleviation goals. We provide 10 summary principles to support implementation of a landscape approach as it is currently interpreted. These principles emphasize adaptive management, stakeholder involvement, and multiple objectives. Various constraints are recognized, with institutional and governance concerns identified as the most severe obstacles to implementation. We discuss how these principles differ from more traditional sectoral and project-based approaches. Although no panacea, we see few alternatives that are likely to address landscape challenges more effectively than an approach circumscribed by the principles outlined here.

  8. Agricultural landscape simplification and insecticide use in the Midwestern United States

    PubMed Central

    Meehan, Timothy D.; Werling, Ben P.; Landis, Douglas A.; Gratton, Claudio

    2011-01-01

    Agronomic intensification has transformed many agricultural landscapes into expansive monocultures with little natural habitat. A pervasive concern is that such landscape simplification results in an increase in insect pest pressure, and thus an increased need for insecticides. We tested this hypothesis across a range of cropping systems in the Midwestern United States, using remotely sensed land cover data, data from a national census of farm management practices, and data from a regional crop pest monitoring network. We found that, independent of several other factors, the proportion of harvested cropland treated with insecticides increased with the proportion and patch size of cropland and decreased with the proportion of seminatural habitat in a county. We also found a positive relationship between the proportion of harvested cropland treated with insecticides and crop pest abundance, and a positive relationship between crop pest abundance and the proportion cropland in a county. These results provide broad correlative support for the hypothesized link between landscape simplification, pest pressure, and insecticide use. Using regression coefficients from our analysis, we estimate that, across the seven-state region in 2007, landscape simplification was associated with insecticide application to 1.4 million hectares and an increase in direct costs totaling between $34 and $103 million. Both the direct and indirect environmental costs of landscape simplification should be considered in design of land use policy that balances multiple ecosystem goods and services. PMID:21746934

  9. Importance of wetland landscape structure to shorebirds wintering in an agricultural valley

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Taft, Oriane W.; Haig, Susan M.

    2006-01-01

    Only recently has the influence of landscape structure on habitat use been a research focus in wetland systems. During non-breeding periods when food can be locally limited, wetland spatial pattern across a landscape may be of great importance in determining wetland use. We studied the influence of landscape structure on abundances of wintering Dunlin (Calidris alpina) and Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) observed on wetlands in the agricultural Willamette Valley of Oregon, USA, during two winters (1999a??2000, 2000a??2001) of differing rainfall. We examined (1) shorebird use within a sample of 100 km2 regions differing in landscape structure (hectares of shorebird habitat [wet, unvegetated]) and (2) use of sites differing in landscape context (area of shorebird habitat within a species-defined radius). For use of sites, we also assessed the influence of two local characteristics: percent of soil exposed and area of wet habitat. We analyzed data using linear regression and information-theoretic modeling. During the dry winter (2000a??2001), Dunlin were attracted to regions with more wetland habitat and their abundances at sites increased with greater area of shorebird habitat within both the site and the surrounding landscape. In contrast, Dunlin abundances at sites were related to availability of habitat at only a local scale during the wet winter (1999a??2000). Regional habitat availability was of little importance in predicting Killdeer distributions, and Killdeer site use appeared unrelated to habitat distributions at both landscape and local scales. Results suggest prioritizing sites for conservation that are located in areas with high wetland coverage.

  10. LandSoil model application for erosion management in sustainable agricultural landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smetanova, Anna; Follain, Stéphane; Raclot, Damien; Le Bissonnais, Yves

    2016-04-01

    Soil erosion and land degradation can lead to irreversible changes and landscape degradation. In order to achieve the sustainability of agricultural landscapes, the land use scenarios might be developed and tested for their erosion mitigation effects. Despite the importance of the long-term scenarios (which are complicated by predictability of climate change in a small scale, its effect on change in soil properties and crops, and the societal behaviour of individual players), the management decision have to be applied already now. Therefore the short-term and medium term scenarios to achieve the most effective soil management and the least soil erosion footprint are necessary to develop. With increasing importance of individual large erosion events, the event-based models, considering soil properties and landscape structures appears to be suitable. The LandSoil model (Ciampalini et al., 2012) - a landscape evolution model operating at the field/small catchment scale, have been applied in order to analyse the effect of different soil erosion mitigation and connectivity management practices in two different Mediterranean catchments. In the soil erosion scenarios the proposed measures targeted soil erosion on field or on catchment scale, and the effect of different extreme events on soil redistribution was evaluated under different spatial designs. Anna Smetanová has received the support of the AgreenSkills fellowship (under grant agreement n°267196). R. Ciampalini, S. Follain, Y. Le Bissonnais, LandSoil: A model for analysing the impact of erosion on agricultural landscape evolution, Geomorphology, 175-176, 2012, 25-37.

  11. Comparative landscape genetics of two frugivorous bats in a biological corridor undergoing agricultural intensification.

    PubMed

    Cleary, Katherine A; Waits, Lisette P; Finegan, Bryan

    2017-07-03

    Agricultural intensification in tropical landscapes poses a new threat to the ability of biological corridors to maintain functional connectivity for native species. We use a landscape genetics approach to evaluate impacts of expanding pineapple plantations on two widespread and abundant frugivorous bats in a biological corridor in Costa Rica. We hypothesize that the larger, more mobile Artibeus jamaicensis will be less impacted by pineapple than the smaller Carollia castanea. In 2012 and 2013, we sampled 735 bats in 26 remnant forest patches surrounded by different proportions of forest, pasture, crops and pineapple. We used 10 microsatellite loci for A. jamaicensis and 16 microsatellite loci for C. castanea to estimate genetic diversity and gene flow. Canonical correspondence analyses indicate that land cover type surrounding patches has no impact on genetic diversity of A. jamaicensis. However, for C. castanea, both percentage forest and pineapple surrounding patches explained a significant proportion of the variation in genetic diversity. Least-cost transect analyses (LCTA) and pairwise G″st suggest that for A. jamaicensis, pineapple is more permeable to gene flow than expected, while as expected, forest is the most permeable land cover for gene flow of C. castanea. For both species, LCTA indicate that development may play a role in inhibiting gene flow. The current study answers the call for landscape genetic research focused on tropical and agricultural landscapes, highlights the value of comparative landscape genetics in biological corridor design and management and is one of the few studies of biological corridors in any ecosystem to implement a genetic approach to test corridor efficacy. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  12. Predicted avian responses to bioenergy development scenarios in an intensive agricultural landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Uden, Daniel R.; Allen, Craig R.; Mitchell, Rob B.; McCoy, Tim D.; Guan, Qingfeng

    2015-01-01

    Conversion of native prairie to agriculture has increased food and bioenergy production but decreased wildlife habitat. However, enrollment of highly erodible cropland in conservation programs has compensated for some grassland loss. In the future, climate change and production of second-generation perennial biofuel crops could further transform agricultural landscapes and increase or decrease grassland area. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is an alternative biofuel feedstock that may be economically and environmentally superior to maize (Zea mays) grain for ethanol production on marginally productive lands. Switchgrass could benefit farmers economically and increase grassland area, but there is uncertainty as to how conversions between rowcrops, switchgrass monocultures and conservation grasslands might occur and affect wildlife. To explore potential impacts on grassland birds, we developed four agricultural land-use change scenarios for an intensively cultivated landscape, each driven by potential future climatic changes and ensuing irrigation limitations, ethanol demand, commodity prices, and continuation of a conservation program. For each scenario, we calculated changes in area for landcover classes and predicted changes in grassland bird abundances. Overall, birds responded positively to the replacement of rowcrops with switchgrass and negatively to the conversion of conservation grasslands to switchgrass or rowcrops. Landscape context and interactions between climate, crop water use, and irrigation availability could influence future land-use, and subsequently, avian habitat quality and quantity. Switchgrass is likely to provide higher quality avian habitat than rowcrops but lower quality habitat than conservation grasslands, and therefore, may most benefit birds in heavily cultivated, irrigation dependent landscapes under warmer and drier conditions, where economic profitability may also encourage conversions to drought tolerant bioenergy feedstocks.

  13. Critical Zone Services as Environmental Assessment Criteria in Intensively Managed Agricultural Landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richardson, M.; Kumar, P.

    2016-12-01

    The critical zone (CZ) includes the biophysical processes occurring from the top of the vegetation canopy to the weathering zone below the groundwater table. CZ services provide a measure for the goods and benefits derived from CZ processes. In intensively managed landscapes (IML), the provisioning, supporting, and regulating services are altered through anthropogenic energy inputs to derive more productivity, as agricultural products, from these landscapes than would be possible under natural conditions. However, the energy or cost equivalents of alterations to CZ functions within landscape profiles are unknown. The valuation of CZ services in energy or monetary terms provides a more concrete tool for characterizing seemingly abstract environmental damages from agricultural production systems. A multi-layer canopy-root-soil model is combined with nutrient and water flux models to simulate the movement of nutrients throughout the soil system. This data enables the measurement of agricultural anthropogenic impacts to the CZ's nutrient cycling supporting services and atmospheric stabilizing regulating services defined by the flux of carbon and nutrients. Such measurements include soil carbon storage, soil carbon respiration, nitrate leaching, and nitrous oxide flux into the atmosphere. Additionally, the socioeconomic values of corn feed and ethanol define the primary productivity supporting services of each crop use.In the debate between feed production and corn-based ethanol production, measured nutrient CZ services can cost up to four times more than traditionally estimated CO2 equivalences for the entire bioenergy production system. Energy efficiency in addition to environmental impacts demonstrate how the inclusion of CZ services is necessary in accounting for the entire life cycle of agricultural production systems. These results conclude that feed production systems are more energy efficient and less environmentally costly than corn-based ethanol systems.

  14. Response of benthic algae to environmental gradients in an agriculturally dominated landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Munn, M.D.; Black, R.W.; Gruber, S.J.

    2002-01-01

    Benthic algal communities were assessed in an agriculturally dominated landscape in the Central Columbia Plateau, Washington, to determine which environmental variables best explained species distributions, and whether algae species optima models were useful in predicting specific water-quality parameters. Land uses in the study area included forest, range, urban, and agriculture. Most of the streams in this region can be characterized as open-channel systems influenced by intensive dryland (nonirrigated) and irrigated agriculture. Algal communities in forested streams were dominated by blue-green algae, with communities in urban and range streams dominated by diatoms. The predominance of either blue-greens or diatoms in agricultural streams varied greatly depending on the specific site. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) indicated a strong gradient effect of several key environmental variables on benthic algal community composition. Conductivity and % agriculture were the dominant explanatory variables when all sites (n = 24) were included in the CCA; water velocity replaced conductivity when the CCA included only agricultural and urban sites. Other significant explanatory variables included dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), orthophosphate (OP), discharge, and precipitation. Regression and calibration models accurately predicted conductivity based on benthic algal communities, with OP having slightly lower predictability. The model for DIN was poor, and therefore may be less useful in this system. Thirty-four algal taxa were identified as potential indicators of conductivity and nutrient conditions, with most indicators being diatoms except for the blue-greens Anabaenasp. and Lyngbya sp.

  15. Temporal dynamics influenced by global change: bee community phenology in urban, agricultural, and natural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Leong, Misha; Ponisio, Lauren C; Kremen, Claire; Thorp, Robbin W; Roderick, George K

    2016-03-01

    Urbanization and agricultural intensification of landscapes are important drivers of global change, which in turn have direct impacts on local ecological communities leading to shifts in species distributions and interactions. Here, we illustrate how human-altered landscapes, with novel ornamental and crop plant communities, result not only in changes to local community diversity of floral-dependent species, but also in shifts in seasonal abundance of bee pollinators. Three years of data on the spatio-temporal distributions of 91 bee species show that seasonal patterns of abundance and species richness in human-altered landscapes varied significantly less compared to natural habitats in which floral resources are relatively scarce in the dry summer months. These findings demonstrate that anthropogenic environmental changes in urban and agricultural systems, here mediated through changes in plant resources and water inputs, can alter the temporal dynamics of pollinators that depend on them. Changes in phenology of interactions can be an important, though frequently overlooked, mechanism of global change.

  16. [Spatial distribution pattern of carabid assemblage in agricultural landscape of Miyun County, Beijing].

    PubMed

    Chang, Hong; Zhang, Xu-Zhu; Duan, Mei-Chun; Yu, Zhen-Rong; Liu, Yun-Hui

    2012-06-01

    By the method of pitfall trap sampling, an investigation was conducted on the carabid assemblage in four typical habitats (maize field, peanut field, orchard, and semi-natural woodland) in the agricultural landscape in Xitiange Village of Miyun County, Beijing. Among the four habitats, orchard had the highest alpha-diversity of carabid assemblage, followed by woodland and maize field, and peanut field had the lowest one. The species composition of the assemblage in woodland, peanut field, and orchard had evident difference, but was similar to that in maize field to some extent. The number of the individuals of predatory and omnivorous carabid sub-assemblages was larger in orchard, and the predatory sub-assemblage presented more distinct difference in its species turnover rate than the omnivore sub-assemblage among the habitats. This study showed that low-intensively managed orchard habitat could sustain higher alpha-diversity of carabid assemblage than semi-natural woodland habitat, and the landscape with diversified habitats could benefit the beta-diversity of carabid assemblage and its predatory sub-assemblage. To attach importance to the conservation of diversified habitats and low-intensively managed farmland habitat would have significance for the conservation of carabid assemblage diversity and its pest control function in agricultural landscape.

  17. Ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes: a spatially explicit approach to support sustainable soil management.

    PubMed

    Forouzangohar, Mohsen; Crossman, Neville D; MacEwan, Richard J; Wallace, D Dugal; Bennett, Lauren T

    2014-01-01

    Soil degradation has been associated with a lack of adequate consideration of soil ecosystem services. We demonstrate a broadly applicable method for mapping changes in the supply of two priority soil ecosystem services to support decisions about sustainable land-use configurations. We used a landscape-scale study area of 302 km(2) in northern Victoria, south-eastern Australia, which has been cleared for intensive agriculture. Indicators representing priority soil services (soil carbon sequestration and soil water storage) were quantified and mapped under both a current and a future 25-year land-use scenario (the latter including a greater diversity of land uses and increased perennial crops and irrigation). We combined diverse methods, including soil analysis using mid-infrared spectroscopy, soil biophysical modelling, and geostatistical interpolation. Our analysis suggests that the future land-use scenario would increase the landscape-level supply of both services over 25 years. Soil organic carbon content and water storage to 30 cm depth were predicted to increase by about 11% and 22%, respectively. Our service maps revealed the locations of hotspots, as well as potential trade-offs in service supply under new land-use configurations. The study highlights the need to consider diverse land uses in sustainable management of soil services in changing agricultural landscapes.

  18. Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Landscapes: A Spatially Explicit Approach to Support Sustainable Soil Management

    PubMed Central

    Crossman, Neville D.; MacEwan, Richard J.; Wallace, D. Dugal; Bennett, Lauren T.

    2014-01-01

    Soil degradation has been associated with a lack of adequate consideration of soil ecosystem services. We demonstrate a broadly applicable method for mapping changes in the supply of two priority soil ecosystem services to support decisions about sustainable land-use configurations. We used a landscape-scale study area of 302 km2 in northern Victoria, south-eastern Australia, which has been cleared for intensive agriculture. Indicators representing priority soil services (soil carbon sequestration and soil water storage) were quantified and mapped under both a current and a future 25-year land-use scenario (the latter including a greater diversity of land uses and increased perennial crops and irrigation). We combined diverse methods, including soil analysis using mid-infrared spectroscopy, soil biophysical modelling, and geostatistical interpolation. Our analysis suggests that the future land-use scenario would increase the landscape-level supply of both services over 25 years. Soil organic carbon content and water storage to 30 cm depth were predicted to increase by about 11% and 22%, respectively. Our service maps revealed the locations of hotspots, as well as potential trade-offs in service supply under new land-use configurations. The study highlights the need to consider diverse land uses in sustainable management of soil services in changing agricultural landscapes. PMID:24616632

  19. Selection of appropriate calculators for landscape-scale greenhouse gas assessment for agriculture and forestry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Colomb, Vincent; Touchemoulin, Ophélie; Bockel, Louis; Chotte, Jean-Luc; Martin, Sarah; Tinlot, Marianne; Bernoux, Martial

    2013-03-01

    This letter is intended to help potential users select the most appropriate calculator for a landscape-scale greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment of activities for agriculture and forestry. Eighteen calculators were assessed. These calculators were designed for different aims and to be used in different geographical areas and they use slightly different accounting methodologies. The classification proposed is based on the main aim of the assessment: raising awareness, reporting, project evaluation or product assessment. When the aims have been clearly formulated, the most suitable calculator can be selected from the comparison tables, taking account of the geographical area and the scope of the calculation as well as the time and skills required for the calculation. The main issues for interpreting GHG assessments are discussed, highlighting the difficulty of comparing the results obtained from different calculators, mainly owing to differences in scope, calculation methods and reporting units. A major problem is the poor accounting for land use change; the calculators are usually able to account satisfactorily for other emission sources. One of the main challenges at landscape-scale level is to produce a realistic assessment of the various production systems as the uncertainty levels are very high. The results should always give some indication of the link between GHG emissions and the productivity of the area, although no single indicator is able to encompass all the services produced by agriculture and forestry (e.g. food, goods, landscape value and revenue).

  20. Connectivity in an agricultural landscape as reflected by interpond movements of a freshwater turtle.

    PubMed

    Bowne, David R; Bowers, Michael A; Hines, James E

    2006-06-01

    Connectivity is a measure of how landscape features facilitate movement and thus is an important factor in species persistence in a fragmented landscape. The scarcity of empirical studies that directly quantify species movement and determine subsequent effects on population density have, however, limited the utility of connectivity measures in conservation planning. We undertook a 4-year study to calculate connectivity based on observed movement rates and movement probabilities for five age-sex classes of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) inhabiting a pond complex in an agricultural landscape in northern Virginia (U.S.A.). We determined which variables influenced connectivity and the relationship between connectivity and subpopulation density. Interpatch distance and quality of habitat patches influenced connectivity but characteristics of the intervening matrix did not. Adult female turtles were more influenced by the habitat quality of recipient ponds than other age-sex classes. The importance of connectivity on spatial population dynamics was most apparent during a drought. Population density and connectivity were low for one pond in a wet year but dramatically increased as other ponds dried. Connectivity is an important component of species persistence in a heterogeneous landscape and is strongly dependent on the movement behavior of the species. Connectivity may reflect active selection or avoidance of particular habitat patches. The influence of habitat quality on connectivity has often been ignored, but our findings highlight its importance. Conservation planners seeking to incorporate connectivity measures into reserve design should not ignore behavior in favor of purely structural estimates of connectivity.

  1. The influence of plants on atmospheric methane in an agriculture-dominated landscape.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xin; Lee, Xuhui; Griffis, Timothy J; Baker, John M; Erickson, Matt D; Hu, Ning; Xiao, Wei

    2014-07-01

    The primary objective of this study was to clarify the influence of crop plants on atmospheric methane (CH4) in an agriculture-dominated landscape in the Upper Midwest of the United States. Measurements were carried out at two contrasting scales. At the plant scale, CH4 fluxes from soybean and corn plants were measured with a laser-based plant chamber system. At the landscape scale, the land surface flux was estimated with a modified Bowen ratio technique using measurements made on a tall tower. The chamber data revealed a diurnal pattern for the plant CH4 flux: it was positive (an emission rate of 0.4±0.1 nmol m(-2) s(-1), average of soybean and corn, in reference to the unit ground area) during the day, and negative (an uptake rate of -0.8±0.8 nmol m(-2) s(-1)) during the night. At the landscape scale, the flux was estimated to be 14.8 nmol m(-2) s(-1) at night and highly uncertain during the day, but the available references and the flux estimates from the equilibrium methods suggested that the CH4 flux during the entire observation period was similar to the estimated nighttime flux. Thus, soybean and corn plants have a negligible role in the landscape-scale CH4 budget.

  2. Connectivity in an agricultural landscape as reflected by interpond movements of a freshwater turtle

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bowne, D.R.; Bowers, M.A.; Hines, J.E.

    2006-01-01

    Connectivity is a measure of how landscape features facilitate movement and thus is an important factor in species persistence in a fragmented landscape. The scarcity of empirical studies that directly quantify species movement and determine subsequent effects on population density have, however, limited the utility of connectivity measures in conservation planning. We undertook a 4-year study to calculate connectivity based on observed movement rates and movement probabilities for five age-sex classes of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) inhabiting a pond complex in an agricultural landscape in northern Virginia (U.S.A.). We determined which variables influenced connectivity and the relationship between connectivity and subpopulation density. Interpatch distance and quality of habitat patches influenced connectivity but characteristics of the intervening matrix did not. Adult female turtles were more influenced by the habitat quality of recipient ponds than other age-sex classes. The importance of connectivity on spatial population dynamics was most apparent during a drought. Population density and connectivity were low for one pond in a wet year but dramatically increased as other ponds dried. Connectivity is an important component of species persistence in a heterogeneous landscape and is strongly dependent on the movement behavior of the species. Connectivity may reflect active selection or avoidance of particular habitat patches. The influence of habitat quality on connectivity has often been ignored, but our findings highlight its importance. Conservation planners seeking to incorporate connectivity measures into reserve design should not ignore behavior in favor of purely structural estimates of connectivity.

  3. Farm ponds make a contribution to the biodiversity of aquatic insects in a French agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Ruggiero, Antonio; Céréghino, Régis; Figuerola, Jordi; Marty, Pierre; Angélibert, Sandrine

    2008-04-01

    Manmade ecosystems provide a variety of resources that have strong economic values. We assessed the importance of 37 farm ponds for the biodiversity of Odonata in an agricultural landscape lacking natural wetlands in southwestern France. Farm ponds captured 40% of the regional species pool, including both common and rare species. The species assemblages were not correlated with pond use (e.g., cattle watering, duck farming, etc.) or to landscape variable. Species richness was correlated with pond area, suggesting that community diversity was primarily driven by autoecological processes. Farm ponds thus made a positive contribution to the maintenance of aquatic biodiversity. This added value for biodiversity should be considered when calculating the costs and benefits of constructing water bodies for human activities.

  4. Amphibian malformations and body condition across an agricultural landscape of northwest Argentina.

    PubMed

    Guerra, Cecilia; Aráoz, Ezequiel

    2016-09-26

    Agricultural landscapes support large amphibian populations because they provide habitat for many species, although agriculture affects amphibians through various mechanisms. Pollution with agrochemicals is the major threat to amphibian populations after habitat loss, as chemicals alter the ecophysiology of amphibians, putting their health and survival at risk. We aimed to assess the effect of different environments, sites, width of forest buffers and sampling years on the health of amphibians, which was estimated through the prevalence of malformations and body condition. During 3 yr of pitfall trapping, we captured 4491 amphibians. The prevalence of malformations was higher in the croplands than in the forests, while the body condition was better within forests. The prevalence of malformations was higher in the narrower forest site than in the wider forest site. The prevalence of malformations and the body condition were higher in the third year. The prevalence of malformations differed by species. We found 11 types of malformation, which mainly affected limbs and were unilateral or bilaterally asymmetrical. Our results showed that the prevalence of malformations and body condition reflect different aspects of the health of amphibians and that forest individuals are healthier than those from croplands. The results also highlight the importance of spatial configuration besides the conservation of natural habitats to preserve healthy amphibians in agricultural landscapes. The types of malformation that we found suggest that agrochemicals could be an important cause of malformations.

  5. The influence of mistletoes on birds in an agricultural landscape of central Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zuria, Iriana; Castellanos, Ignacio; Gates, J. Edward

    2014-11-01

    Mistletoes are hemiparasitic flowering plants that function as keystone resources in forests and woodlands of temperate regions, where a positive relationship between mistletoe density and avian species richness has been observed. Mistletoes have been less studied in tropical regions and the relationship between birds and mistletoes has seldom been explored in tropical agricultural systems. Therefore, we studied the presence of infected trees and infection prevalence (i.e., number of parasitized trees/total number of trees) by Psittacanthus (Loranthaceae) mistletoes in 23 hedgerows located in an agricultural landscape of central Mexico during the dry and rainy seasons, and investigated the relationship between bird species richness and abundance and the abundance of mistletoes. We found a mean of 74 mistletoe plants per 100-m transect of only one species, Psittacanthus calyculatus. Thirty-one percent of the trees surveyed were infected and tree species differed in infection prevalence, mesquite (Prosopis laevigata) being the most infected species with 86% of the surveyed trees infected. For both seasons, we found a positive and significant association between bird species richness and number of mistletoe plants. The same pattern was observed for total bird abundance. Many resident and Neotropical migratory birds were observed foraging on mistletoes. Our results show that mistletoes are important in promoting a higher bird species richness and abundance in tropical agricultural landscapes.

  6. The Agricultural Policy/Environmental Extender (Apex) Model: An Emerging Tool for Landscape and Watershed Environmental Analyses

    SciTech Connect

    Gassman, Philip W.; Williams, Jimmy R.; Wang, Xiuying; Saleh, Ali; Osei, Edward; Hauck, Larry; Izaurralde, Roberto C.; Flowers, Joan

    2010-06-01

    The Agricultural Policy Environmental eXtender (APEX) model was developed by the Blacklands Research and Extension Center in Temple, Texas. APEX is a flexible and dynamic tool that is capable of simulating a wide array of management practices, cropping systems, and other land uses across a broad range of agricultural landscapes, including whole farms and small watersheds.

  7. From "connecting the dots" to "threading the needle:" The challenges ahead in managing agricultural landscapes for environmental quality

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Non point source pollution from agriculture is one of the most challenging problems facing society. In this book chapter, we briefly review the development of “landscape thinking” in agriculture and how this has been incorporated into the USDA Conservation Effects Assessment Program (CEAP). We pre...

  8. Pesticide concentrations in frog tissue and wetland habitats in a landscape dominated by agriculture.

    PubMed

    Smalling, Kelly L; Reeves, Rebecca; Muths, Erin; Vandever, Mark; Battaglin, William A; Hladik, Michelle L; Pierce, Clay L

    2015-01-01

    Habitat loss and exposure to pesticides are likely primary factors contributing to amphibian decline in agricultural landscapes. Conservation efforts have attempted to restore wetlands lost through landscape modifications to reduce contaminant loads in surface waters and providing quality habitat to wildlife. The benefits of this increased wetland area, perhaps especially for amphibians, may be negated if habitat quality is insufficient to support persistent populations. We examined the presence of pesticides and nutrients in water and sediment as indicators of habitat quality and assessed the bioaccumulation of pesticides in the tissue of two native amphibian species Pseudacris maculata (chorus frogs) and Lithobates pipiens (leopard frogs) at six wetlands (3 restored and 3 reference) in Iowa, USA. Restored wetlands are positioned on the landscape to receive subsurface tile drainage water while reference wetlands receive water from overland run-off and shallow groundwater sources. Concentrations of the pesticides frequently detected in water and sediment samples were not different between wetland types. The median concentration of atrazine in surface water was 0.2 μg/L. Reproductive abnormalities in leopard frogs have been observed in other studies at these concentrations. Nutrient concentrations were higher in the restored wetlands but lower than concentrations thought lethal to frogs. Complex mixtures of pesticides including up to 8 fungicides, some previously unreported in tissue, were detected with concentrations ranging from 0.08 to 1,500 μg/kg wet weight. No significant differences in pesticide concentrations were observed between species, although concentrations tended to be higher in leopard frogs compared to chorus frogs, possibly because of differences in life histories. Our results provide information on habitat quality in restored wetlands that will assist state and federal agencies, landowners, and resource managers in identifying and implementing

  9. Low-Intensity Agricultural Landscapes in Transylvania Support High Butterfly Diversity: Implications for Conservation

    PubMed Central

    Loos, Jacqueline; Dorresteijn, Ine; Hanspach, Jan; Fust, Pascal; Rakosy, László; Fischer, Joern

    2014-01-01

    European farmland biodiversity is declining due to land use changes towards agricultural intensification or abandonment. Some Eastern European farming systems have sustained traditional forms of use, resulting in high levels of biodiversity. However, global markets and international policies now imply rapid and major changes to these systems. To effectively protect farmland biodiversity, understanding landscape features which underpin species diversity is crucial. Focusing on butterflies, we addressed this question for a cultural-historic landscape in Southern Transylvania, Romania. Following a natural experiment, we randomly selected 120 survey sites in farmland, 60 each in grassland and arable land. We surveyed butterfly species richness and abundance by walking transects with four repeats in summer 2012. We analysed species composition using Detrended Correspondence Analysis. We modelled species richness, richness of functional groups, and abundance of selected species in response to topography, woody vegetation cover and heterogeneity at three spatial scales, using generalised linear mixed effects models. Species composition widely overlapped in grassland and arable land. Composition changed along gradients of heterogeneity at local and context scales, and of woody vegetation cover at context and landscape scales. The effect of local heterogeneity on species richness was positive in arable land, but negative in grassland. Plant species richness, and structural and topographic conditions at multiple scales explained species richness, richness of functional groups and species abundances. Our study revealed high conservation value of both grassland and arable land in low-intensity Eastern European farmland. Besides grassland, also heterogeneous arable land provides important habitat for butterflies. While butterfly diversity in arable land benefits from heterogeneity by small-scale structures, grasslands should be protected from fragmentation to provide

  10. Low-intensity agricultural landscapes in Transylvania support high butterfly diversity: implications for conservation.

    PubMed

    Loos, Jacqueline; Dorresteijn, Ine; Hanspach, Jan; Fust, Pascal; Rakosy, László; Fischer, Joern

    2014-01-01

    European farmland biodiversity is declining due to land use changes towards agricultural intensification or abandonment. Some Eastern European farming systems have sustained traditional forms of use, resulting in high levels of biodiversity. However, global markets and international policies now imply rapid and major changes to these systems. To effectively protect farmland biodiversity, understanding landscape features which underpin species diversity is crucial. Focusing on butterflies, we addressed this question for a cultural-historic landscape in Southern Transylvania, Romania. Following a natural experiment, we randomly selected 120 survey sites in farmland, 60 each in grassland and arable land. We surveyed butterfly species richness and abundance by walking transects with four repeats in summer 2012. We analysed species composition using Detrended Correspondence Analysis. We modelled species richness, richness of functional groups, and abundance of selected species in response to topography, woody vegetation cover and heterogeneity at three spatial scales, using generalised linear mixed effects models. Species composition widely overlapped in grassland and arable land. Composition changed along gradients of heterogeneity at local and context scales, and of woody vegetation cover at context and landscape scales. The effect of local heterogeneity on species richness was positive in arable land, but negative in grassland. Plant species richness, and structural and topographic conditions at multiple scales explained species richness, richness of functional groups and species abundances. Our study revealed high conservation value of both grassland and arable land in low-intensity Eastern European farmland. Besides grassland, also heterogeneous arable land provides important habitat for butterflies. While butterfly diversity in arable land benefits from heterogeneity by small-scale structures, grasslands should be protected from fragmentation to provide

  11. Fluxes of carbon dioxide and methane from diverse aquatic environments in an agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stanley, E. H.; Crawford, J. T.; Loken, L. C.; Casson, N. J.; Gubbins, N. J.; Oliver, S. K.

    2014-12-01

    The contribution of aquatic environments to landscape carbon cycling is particularly apparent in carbon- and water-rich regions. Such areas arguably represent an end member in terms of the relative significance of aquatic carbon cycling, while dry, carbon-poor zones are the likely opposing end member. Not surprisingly, most limnological attention has focused on these former regions, leaving open questions as to how aquatic systems in other locales influence larger-scale carbon dynamics. This includes human-dominated landscapes where agricultural and urban land uses can fundamentally alter carbon dynamics. Surveys of streams, ponds, and lakes in a southern Wisconsin landscape highlight three findings relevant to understanding the role of these aquatic systems in larger-scale carbon dynamics. First, streams and ponds had unexpectedly high summertime concentrations in and fluxes of CO2 and CH4. These values were approximately an order of magnitude greater than for less disturbed, forest and wetland-dominated landscapes in northern Wisconsin. Second, while mean C gas concentrations in lakes were lower than in streams and ponds, detailed spatial measurements demonstrate variability in surface water CO2 (43-1090 ppm pCO2) and CH4 (6-839 ppm pCH4) within a lake on a single day is similar to that observed among 25 streams included in our survey (260-6000 ppm pCO2; 50-600 ppm pCH4). This small-scale heterogeneity highlights a basic challenge for upscaling site-specific data collected at one or a few points to the whole lake and across lakes. Third, while agricultural and urban ecosystems are not necessarily carbon-rich environments, area-specific carbon storage in streams and ponds is substantial (up to 3000-5000 g C per m2). Further, carbon storage was strongly related to CH4 concentrations in streams, as C-rich sediments provided both an environment and substrate to fuel methanogenesis. The picture that emerges of C processing in aquatic environments throughout this human

  12. Solving water quality problems in agricultural landscapes: New approaches for these nonlinear, multiprocess, multiscale systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belmont, Patrick; Foufoula-Georgiou, Efi

    2017-04-01

    Changes in climate and agricultural practices are putting pressure on agroenvironmental systems all over the world. Predicting the effects of future management or conservation actions has proven exceptionally challenging in these complex landscapes. We present a perspective, gained from a decade of research and stakeholder involvement in the Minnesota River Basin, where research findings have influenced solutions and policy in directions not obvious at the outset. Our approach has focused on identifying places, times, and processes of accelerated change and developing reduced complexity predictive frameworks that can inform mitigation actions.

  13. Shifting agriculture: the main cause of landscape degradation in the Central Spanish Pyrenees

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lasanta, Teodoro; Nadal-Romero, Estela; Errea, Paz

    2017-04-01

    Cereal agriculture occupied large areas in the Spanish Pyrenees to feed the population in a socio-economic system of limited exchanges with the outside. In the Western valleys, shifting agriculture constitutes the dominant field pattern, representing almost three-quarters of the traditional agricultural space (Lasanta et al., in press). These were cultivated at times of heavy population growth, necessitating steep and stony hillsides with poor soil to be tilled, or the ones that were far away from the village. The fields were created by clearing the vegetation from a slope, then burning it to use the ash as a fertilizer. Cereal was grown for 3-4 years, after which they were abandoned for 20-30 years to recover fertility, and the cycle was repeated. Almost all the fields (99%) using shifting agriculture had been abandoned by the 1950s. This study analyzes the role of the shifting agriculture in soil erosion and landscape degradation. For this purpose, (i) experimental plots, which reproduce the traditional agriculture in the Pyrenees and the abandonment processes, and (ii) the cartography made from the SIOSE (2009), which shows the present land cover 50 years after cropland abandonment, were used. The results show that shifting agriculture caused higher soil losses than other agricultural uses (1.36 kg m-2 yr-1): fallow land (0.87 kg m-2 yr-1), chemically fertilized cereal (0.86 kg m-2 yr-1) and meadow (0.14 kg m-2 yr-1). Also, after land abandonment, soil losses are higher in shifting agriculture (0.78 kg m-2 yr-1) than cereal lands (0.73 kg m-2 yr-1). The burning of the shrub cover and the use of ashes as fertilizer did not contribute to improve the soil quality, which explains both the higher soil losses during the cultivated period and after the abandonment, since slower plant succession occurs. The results obtained from the SIOSE confirm that the change from meadows to shrubland is relatively fast, as a consequence of the low relationship with livestock

  14. Airplane measurements above a patchy, agricultural dominated landscape in Central Europe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schween, J. H.; Selbach, C.; Crewell, S.; Geiss, H.

    2009-04-01

    During the FLUXPAT campaign in 2008 the MetAir Dimona research aricraft performed several fligths above a patchy, agricultural dominated landscape near Juelich/Germany. Main focus of the measurements are variability of water vapor and CO2 and their turbulent fluxes in the atmospheric boundary layer close to the ground. Flights took place at changing levels between 80m and 400m above ground in legs parallel and perpendicular to the prevailing wind. Agriculture in the region is dominated by two different crops: sugar beet and wheat. Simultaneous to the flights measurements at the ground took place to determine evapotranspiration and CO2 uptake of the crops, single plants and the soil below. We will present analyses of the airborne concentration and flux measurements, identify organized structures or at least parameters characterizing them. These parameters are related to external parameters as wind, stability, boundary layer depth and and surface fluxes and their distribution on the ground.

  15. Groundwater Ecosystems Vary with Land Use across a Mixed Agricultural Landscape.

    PubMed

    Korbel, K L; Hancock, P J; Serov, P; Lim, R P; Hose, G C

    2013-01-01

    Changes in surface land use may threaten groundwater quality and ecosystem integrity, particularly in shallow aquifers where links between groundwater and surface activities are most intimate. In this study we examine the response of groundwater ecosystem to agricultural land uses in the shallow alluvial aquifer of the Gwydir River valley, New South Wales, Australia. We compared groundwater quality and microbial and stygofauna assemblages among sites under irrigated cropping, non-irrigated cropping and grazing land uses. Stygofauna abundance and richness was greatest at irrigated sites, with the composition of the assemblage suggestive of disturbance. Microbial assemblages and water quality also varied with land use. Our study demonstrates significant differences in the composition of groundwater ecosystems in areas with different surface land use, and highlights the utility of groundwater biota for biomonitoring, particularly in agricultural landscapes. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.

  16. Landscape scale assessment of soil and water salinization processes in agricultural coastal area.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elen Bless, Aplena; Follain, Stéphane; Coiln, François; Crabit, Armand

    2017-04-01

    Soil salinization is among main land degradation process around the globe. It reduces soil quality, disturbs soil function, and has harmful impacts on plant growth that would threaten agricultural sustainability, particularly in coastal areas where mostly susceptible on land degradation because of pressure from anthropogenic activities and at the same time need to preserve soil quality for supporting food production. In this presentation, we present a landscape scale analysis aiming to assess salinization process affecting wine production. This study was carried out at Serignan estuary delta in South of France (Languadoc Roussillon Region, 43˚ 28'N and 3˚ 31'E). It is a sedimentary basin near coastline of Mediterranean Sea. Field survey was design to characterize both space and time variability of soil and water salinity through water electrical conductivity (ECw) and soil 1/5 electrical conductivity (EC1/5). For water measurements, Orb River and groundwater salinity (piezometers) were determined and for soil 1737 samples were randomly collected from different soil depths (20, 50, 80, and 120 cm) between year 2012 and 2016 and measured. In order to connect with agricultural practices observations and interviews with farmers were conducted. We found that some areas combining specific criteria presents higher electrical conductivity: positions with lower elevation (a.s.l), Cambisols (Calcaric) / Fluvisols soil type (WRB) and dominated clay textures. These observations combined with geochemical determination and spatial analysis confirm our first hypothesis of sea salt intrusion as the main driven factor of soil salinity in this region. In this context, identification of salinization process, fine determination of pedological specificities and fine understanding of agricultural practices allowed us to proposed adaptation strategies to restore soil production function. Please fill in your abstract text. Key Words: Salinity, Coastal Agriculture, Landscape, Soil, Water

  17. Mapping and determinism of soil microbial community distribution across an agricultural landscape

    PubMed Central

    Constancias, Florentin; Terrat, Sébastien; Saby, Nicolas P A; Horrigue, Walid; Villerd, Jean; Guillemin, Jean-Philippe; Biju-Duval, Luc; Nowak, Virginie; Dequiedt, Samuel; Ranjard, Lionel; Chemidlin Prévost-Bouré, Nicolas

    2015-01-01

    Despite the relevance of landscape, regarding the spatial patterning of microbial communities and the relative influence of environmental parameters versus human activities, few investigations have been conducted at this scale. Here, we used a systematic grid to characterize the distribution of soil microbial communities at 278 sites across a monitored agricultural landscape of 13 km². Molecular microbial biomass was estimated by soil DNA recovery and bacterial diversity by 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. Geostatistics provided the first maps of microbial community at this scale and revealed a heterogeneous but spatially structured distribution of microbial biomass and diversity with patches of several hundreds of meters. Variance partitioning revealed that both microbial abundance and bacterial diversity distribution were highly dependent of soil properties and land use (total variance explained ranged between 55% and 78%). Microbial biomass and bacterial richness distributions were mainly explained by soil pH and texture whereas bacterial evenness distribution was mainly related to land management. Bacterial diversity (richness, evenness, and Shannon index) was positively influenced by cropping intensity and especially by soil tillage, resulting in spots of low microbial diversity in soils under forest management. Spatial descriptors also explained a small but significant portion of the microbial distribution suggesting that landscape configuration also shapes microbial biomass and bacterial diversity. PMID:25833770

  18. Mapping and determinism of soil microbial community distribution across an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Constancias, Florentin; Terrat, Sébastien; Saby, Nicolas P A; Horrigue, Walid; Villerd, Jean; Guillemin, Jean-Philippe; Biju-Duval, Luc; Nowak, Virginie; Dequiedt, Samuel; Ranjard, Lionel; Chemidlin Prévost-Bouré, Nicolas

    2015-06-01

    Despite the relevance of landscape, regarding the spatial patterning of microbial communities and the relative influence of environmental parameters versus human activities, few investigations have been conducted at this scale. Here, we used a systematic grid to characterize the distribution of soil microbial communities at 278 sites across a monitored agricultural landscape of 13 km². Molecular microbial biomass was estimated by soil DNA recovery and bacterial diversity by 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. Geostatistics provided the first maps of microbial community at this scale and revealed a heterogeneous but spatially structured distribution of microbial biomass and diversity with patches of several hundreds of meters. Variance partitioning revealed that both microbial abundance and bacterial diversity distribution were highly dependent of soil properties and land use (total variance explained ranged between 55% and 78%). Microbial biomass and bacterial richness distributions were mainly explained by soil pH and texture whereas bacterial evenness distribution was mainly related to land management. Bacterial diversity (richness, evenness, and Shannon index) was positively influenced by cropping intensity and especially by soil tillage, resulting in spots of low microbial diversity in soils under forest management. Spatial descriptors also explained a small but significant portion of the microbial distribution suggesting that landscape configuration also shapes microbial biomass and bacterial diversity. © 2015 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Nectar resource limitation affects butterfly flight performance and metabolism differently in intensive and extensive agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Lebeau, Julie; Wesselingh, Renate A; Van Dyck, Hans

    2016-05-11

    Flight is an essential biological ability of many insects, but is energetically costly. Environments under rapid human-induced change are characterized by habitat fragmentation and may impose constraints on the energy income budget of organisms. This may, in turn, affect locomotor performance and willingness to fly. We tested flight performance and metabolic rates in meadow brown butterflies (Maniola jurtina) of two contrasted agricultural landscapes: intensively managed, nectar-poor (IL) versus extensively managed, nectar-rich landscapes (EL). Young female adults were submitted to four nectar treatments (i.e. nectar quality and quantity) in outdoor flight cages. IL individuals had better flight capacities in a flight mill and had lower resting metabolic rates (RMR) than EL individuals, except under the severest treatment. Under this treatment, RMR increased in IL individuals, but decreased in EL individuals; flight performance was maintained by IL individuals, but dropped by a factor 2.5 in EL individuals. IL individuals had more canalized (i.e. less plastic) responses relative to the nectar treatments than EL individuals. Our results show significant intraspecific variation in the locomotor and metabolic response of a butterfly to different energy income regimes relative to the landscape of origin. Ecophysiological studies help to improve our mechanistic understanding of the eco-evolutionary impact of anthropogenic environments on rare and widespread species. © 2016 The Author(s).

  20. Nectar resource limitation affects butterfly flight performance and metabolism differently in intensive and extensive agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Lebeau, Julie; Wesselingh, Renate A.; Van Dyck, Hans

    2016-01-01

    Flight is an essential biological ability of many insects, but is energetically costly. Environments under rapid human-induced change are characterized by habitat fragmentation and may impose constraints on the energy income budget of organisms. This may, in turn, affect locomotor performance and willingness to fly. We tested flight performance and metabolic rates in meadow brown butterflies (Maniola jurtina) of two contrasted agricultural landscapes: intensively managed, nectar-poor (IL) versus extensively managed, nectar-rich landscapes (EL). Young female adults were submitted to four nectar treatments (i.e. nectar quality and quantity) in outdoor flight cages. IL individuals had better flight capacities in a flight mill and had lower resting metabolic rates (RMR) than EL individuals, except under the severest treatment. Under this treatment, RMR increased in IL individuals, but decreased in EL individuals; flight performance was maintained by IL individuals, but dropped by a factor 2.5 in EL individuals. IL individuals had more canalized (i.e. less plastic) responses relative to the nectar treatments than EL individuals. Our results show significant intraspecific variation in the locomotor and metabolic response of a butterfly to different energy income regimes relative to the landscape of origin. Ecophysiological studies help to improve our mechanistic understanding of the eco-evolutionary impact of anthropogenic environments on rare and widespread species. PMID:27147100

  1. Evolution of antibiotic occurrence in a river through pristine, urban and agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Yang, Shinwoo; Carlson, Kenneth

    2003-11-01

    A river along the semi-arid Front Range of Colorado was monitored for antibiotics including five tetracycline and six sulfonamide compounds. Existing analytical methods were adapted to measure these compounds in a surface water matrix at environmentally relevant concentrations (0.05 microg/L). Natural organic matter present in surface waters was confirmed to significantly impact the low-level analysis of tetracyclines (TCs) necessitating the use of standard addition quantification techniques. Five sites along the Cache la Poudre River were monitored for antibiotics encompassing pristine areas without anthropogenic influence, urban areas impacted by wastewater discharges and agricultural areas susceptible to non-point source contaminant runoff. The only site at which no antibiotics were detected was the pristine site in the mountains before the river had encountered urban or agricultural landscapes. By the time the river had exited the urban area, 6 of the 11 antibiotic compounds that were monitored were found in the samples. At Site 5, which had both urban and agricultural influences all five of the TCs monitored were detected indicating both urban and agricultural influences. The concentration of TCs at Site 5 ranged from 0.08 to 0.30 microg/L.

  2. An insight into space and remote sensing technologies concerning agriculture and landscape analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cuca, Branka; Barazzetti, Luigi; Brumana, Raffaella; Previtali, Mattia

    2015-06-01

    Remote sensing and space technologies are increasingly called to offer innovative solutions for current challenges induced by climatic and global change. One of the main priorities of the European Space Policy regards the economic independence of the old continent in this sector. In terms of research and innovation this inevitably leads to numerous attempts in having independent market of services that would tackle specific needs of the citizens. Agriculture, for example, is one of the sectors majorly subsidized by European funds on national, regional and local level, with the aim to foster a more productive and sustainable development. Due to a large territorial scale at which agricultural phenomena are observed, and thus the spatial resolution required, it is also one of the main sectors that has been monitored from space over the past 30 years. In fact, one of the main missions of USA Landsat satellites was to provide a continuous and systematic overview of the globe for the purposes of an effective monitoring of the environment. This paper represents an overview of the ongoing initiatives in Space research done for the field of agriculture and landscape monitoring. In particular, the paper looks into the future possibilities that will be offered by full, open and free-of-charge data arriving from ongoing Copernicus missions and the contribution of Sentinel satellites to the agricultural sector.

  3. Identifying Landscape Areas Prone to Generating Storm Runoff in Central New York Agricultural Fields

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmeister, K.; Walter, M. T.

    2015-12-01

    Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution continues to be a leading cause of surface water degradation, especially in agricultural areas. In humid regions where variable source area (VSA) hydrology dominates storm runoff, NPS pollution is generated where VSAs coincide with polluting activities. Mapping storm runoff risks could allow for more precise and informed targeting of NPS pollution mitigation practices in agricultural landscapes. Topographic wetness indices (TWI) provide good approximations of relative soil moisture patterns and relative storm runoff risks. Simulation models are typically used in conjunction with TWIs to quantify VSA behavior. In this study we use empirically derived relationships between TWI values, volumetric water content (VWC) and rainfall frequencies to develop runoff probability maps. Rainfall and soil VWC were measured across regionally representative agricultural areas in central New York over three years (2012-2015) to determine the volume of runoff generated from agricultural fields in the area. We assumed the threshold for storm runoff occurs when the combination of antecedent soil water and rainfall are sufficient to saturate the soil. We determined that approximately 50% of the storm runoff volume is generated from 10% of the land area during spring, summer, and autumn seasons, while the risk of storm runoff generation is higher in the spring and autumn seasons than in the summer for the same area of land.

  4. Scenarios reveal pathways to sustain future ecosystem services in an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Qiu, Jiangxiao; Carpenter, Stephen R; Booth, Eric G; Motew, Melissa; Zipper, Samuel C; Kucharik, Christopher J; Chen, Xi; Loheide, Steven P; Seifert, Jenny; Turner, Monica G

    2017-09-25

    Sustaining food production, water quality, soil retention, flood and climate regulation in agricultural landscapes is a pressing global challenge given accelerating environmental changes. Scenarios are stories about plausible futures, and scenarios can be integrated with biophysical simulation models to explore quantitatively how the future might unfold. However, few studies have incorporated a wide range of drivers (e.g., climate, land-use, management, population, human diet) in spatially explicit, process-based models to investigate spatial-temporal dynamics and relationships of a portfolio of ecosystem services. Here, we simulated nine ecosystem services (three provisioning and six regulating services) at 220-m×220-m from 2010 to 2070 under four contrasting scenarios in the 1345-km(2) Yahara Watershed (Wisconsin, USA) using Agro-IBIS, a dynamic model of terrestrial ecosystem processes, biogeochemistry, water and energy balance. We asked: (1) How does ecosystem service supply vary among alternative future scenarios? (2) Where on the landscape is the provision of ecosystem services most susceptible to future social-ecological changes? (3) Among alternative future scenarios, are relationships (i.e., tradeoffs, synergies) among food production, water and biogeochemical services consistent over time? Our results showed that food production varied substantially with future land-use choices and management, and its tradeoffs with water quality and soil retention persisted under most scenarios. However, pathways to mitigate or even reverse such tradeoffs through technological advances and sustainable agricultural practices were apparent. Consistent relationships among regulating services were identified across scenarios (e.g., tradeoffs of freshwater supply vs. flood and climate regulation, and synergies among water quality, soil retention and climate regulation), suggesting opportunities and challenges to sustaining these services. In particular, proactive land

  5. The landscape model: A model for exploring trade-offs between agricultural production and the environment.

    PubMed

    Coleman, Kevin; Muhammed, Shibu E; Milne, Alice E; Todman, Lindsay C; Dailey, A Gordon; Glendining, Margaret J; Whitmore, Andrew P

    2017-12-31

    We describe a model framework that simulates spatial and temporal interactions in agricultural landscapes and that can be used to explore trade-offs between production and environment so helping to determine solutions to the problems of sustainable food production. Here we focus on models of agricultural production, water movement and nutrient flow in a landscape. We validate these models against data from two long-term experiments, (the first a continuous wheat experiment and the other a permanent grass-land experiment) and an experiment where water and nutrient flow are measured from isolated catchments. The model simulated wheat yield (RMSE 20.3-28.6%), grain N (RMSE 21.3-42.5%) and P (RMSE 20.2-29% excluding the nil N plots), and total soil organic carbon particularly well (RMSE3.1-13.8%), the simulations of water flow were also reasonable (RMSE 180.36 and 226.02%). We illustrate the use of our model framework to explore trade-offs between production and nutrient losses. Copyright © 2017 Rothamsted Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. Frugivorous Bats Maintain Functional Habitat Connectivity in Agricultural Landscapes but Rely Strongly on Natural Forest Fragments

    PubMed Central

    Ripperger, Simon P.; Kalko, Elisabeth K. V.; Rodríguez-Herrera, Bernal; Mayer, Frieder; Tschapka, Marco

    2015-01-01

    Anthropogenic changes in land use threaten biodiversity and ecosystem functioning by the conversion of natural habitat into agricultural mosaic landscapes, often with drastic consequences for the associated fauna. The first step in the development of efficient conservation plans is to understand movement of animals through complex habitat mosaics. Therefore, we studied ranging behavior and habitat use in Dermanura watsoni (Phyllostomidae), a frugivorous bat species that is a valuable seed disperser in degraded ecosystems. Radio-tracking of sixteen bats showed that the animals strongly rely on natural forest. Day roosts were exclusively located within mature forest fragments. Selection ratios showed that the bats foraged selectively within the available habitat and positively selected natural forest. However, larger daily ranges were associated with higher use of degraded habitats. Home range geometry and composition of focal foraging areas indicated that wider ranging bats performed directional foraging bouts from natural to degraded forest sites traversing the matrix over distances of up to three hundred meters. This behavior demonstrates the potential of frugivorous bats to functionally connect fragmented areas by providing ecosystem services between natural and degraded sites, and highlights the need for conservation of natural habitat patches within agricultural landscapes that meet the roosting requirements of bats. PMID:25830222

  7. Frugivorous bats maintain functional habitat connectivity in agricultural landscapes but rely strongly on natural forest fragments.

    PubMed

    Ripperger, Simon P; Kalko, Elisabeth K V; Rodríguez-Herrera, Bernal; Mayer, Frieder; Tschapka, Marco

    2015-01-01

    Anthropogenic changes in land use threaten biodiversity and ecosystem functioning by the conversion of natural habitat into agricultural mosaic landscapes, often with drastic consequences for the associated fauna. The first step in the development of efficient conservation plans is to understand movement of animals through complex habitat mosaics. Therefore, we studied ranging behavior and habitat use in Dermanura watsoni (Phyllostomidae), a frugivorous bat species that is a valuable seed disperser in degraded ecosystems. Radio-tracking of sixteen bats showed that the animals strongly rely on natural forest. Day roosts were exclusively located within mature forest fragments. Selection ratios showed that the bats foraged selectively within the available habitat and positively selected natural forest. However, larger daily ranges were associated with higher use of degraded habitats. Home range geometry and composition of focal foraging areas indicated that wider ranging bats performed directional foraging bouts from natural to degraded forest sites traversing the matrix over distances of up to three hundred meters. This behavior demonstrates the potential of frugivorous bats to functionally connect fragmented areas by providing ecosystem services between natural and degraded sites, and highlights the need for conservation of natural habitat patches within agricultural landscapes that meet the roosting requirements of bats.

  8. A comparison of the herbicide tolerances of rare and common plants in an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Egan, J Franklin; Graham, Ian M; Mortensen, David A

    2014-03-01

    Declining plant biodiversity in agroecosystems has often been attributed to escalating use of chemical herbicides, but other changes in farming systems, including the clearing of seminatural habitat fragments, confound the influence of herbicides. The present study introduces a new approach to evaluate the impacts of herbicide pollution on plant communities at landscape or regional scales. If herbicides are in fact a key factor shaping agricultural plant diversity, one would expect to see the signal of past herbicide impacts in the current plant community composition of an intensively farmed region, with common, successful species more tolerant to widely used herbicides than rare or declining species. Data from an extensive field survey of plant diversity in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA, were compared with herbicide bioassay experiments in a greenhouse to test the hypothesis that common species possess higher herbicide tolerances than rare species. Five congeneric pairs of rare and common species were treated with 3 commonly used herbicide modes of action in bioassay experiments, and few significant differences were found in the tolerances of rare species relative to common species. These preliminary results suggest that other factors beyond herbicide exposure may be more important in shaping the distribution and abundance of plant species diversity across an agricultural landscape. © 2014 SETAC.

  9. Agricultural intensification and biodiversity partitioning in European landscapes comparing plants, carabids, and birds.

    PubMed

    Flohre, Andreas; Fischer, Christina; Aavik, Tsipe; Bengtsson, Jan; Berendse, Frank; Bommarco, Riccardo; Ceryngier, Piotr; Clement, Lars W; Dennis, Christopher; Eggers, Sönke; Emmerson, Mark; Geiger, Flavia; Guerrero, Irene; Hawro, Violetta; Inchausti, Pablo; Liira, Jaan; Morales, Manuel B; Oñate, Juan J; Pärt, Tomas; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Winqvist, Camilla; Thies, Carsten; Tscharntke, Teja

    2011-07-01

    Effects of agricultural intensification (AI) on biodiversity are often assessed on the plot scale, although processes determining diversity also operate on larger spatial scales. Here, we analyzed the diversity of vascular plants, carabid beetles, and birds in agricultural landscapes in cereal crop fields at the field (n = 1350), farm (n = 270), and European-region (n = 9) scale. We partitioned diversity into its additive components alpha, beta, and gamma, and assessed the relative contribution of beta diversity to total species richness at each spatial scale. AI was determined using pesticide and fertilizer inputs, as well as tillage operations and categorized into low, medium, and high levels. As AI was not significantly related to landscape complexity, we could disentangle potential AI effects on local vs. landscape community homogenization. AI negatively affected the species richness of plants and birds, but not carabid beetles, at all spatial scales. Hence, local AI was closely correlated to beta diversity on larger scales up to the farm and region level, and thereby was an indicator of farm- and region-wide biodiversity losses. At the scale of farms (12.83-20.52%) and regions (68.34-80.18%), beta diversity accounted for the major part of the total species richness for all three taxa, indicating great dissimilarity in environmental conditions on larger spatial scales. For plants, relative importance of alpha diversity decreased with AI, while relative importance of beta diversity on the farm scale increased with AI for carabids and birds. Hence, and in contrast to our expectations, AI does not necessarily homogenize local communities, presumably due to the heterogeneity of farming practices. In conclusion, a more detailed understanding of AI effects on diversity patterns of various taxa and at multiple spatial scales would contribute to more efficient agri-environmental schemes in agroecosystems.

  10. Tightly-Coupled Plant-Soil Nitrogen Cycling: Comparison of Organic Farms across an Agricultural Landscape.

    PubMed

    Bowles, Timothy M; Hollander, Allan D; Steenwerth, Kerri; Jackson, Louise E

    2015-01-01

    How farming systems supply sufficient nitrogen (N) for high yields but with reduced N losses is a central challenge for reducing the tradeoffs often associated with N cycling in agriculture. Variability in soil organic matter and management of organic farms across an agricultural landscape may yield insights for improving N cycling and for evaluating novel indicators of N availability. We assessed yields, plant-soil N cycling, and root expression of N metabolism genes across a representative set of organic fields growing Roma-type tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.) in an intensively-managed agricultural landscape in California, USA. The fields spanned a three-fold range of soil carbon (C) and N but had similar soil types, texture, and pH. Organic tomato yields ranged from 22.9 to 120.1 Mg ha-1 with a mean similar to the county average (86.1 Mg ha-1), which included mostly conventionally-grown tomatoes. Substantial variability in soil inorganic N concentrations, tomato N, and root gene expression indicated a range of possible tradeoffs between yields and potential for N losses across the fields. Fields showing evidence of tightly-coupled plant-soil N cycling, a desirable scenario in which high crop yields are supported by adequate N availability but low potential for N loss, had the highest total and labile soil C and N and received organic matter inputs with a range of N availability. In these fields, elevated expression of a key gene involved in root N assimilation, cytosolic glutamine synthetase GS1, confirmed that plant N assimilation was high even when inorganic N pools were low. Thus tightly-coupled N cycling occurred on several working organic farms. Novel combinations of N cycling indicators (i.e. inorganic N along with soil microbial activity and root gene expression for N assimilation) would support adaptive management for improved N cycling on organic as well as conventional farms, especially when plant-soil N cycling is rapid.

  11. Floral resource limitation severely reduces butterfly survival, condition and flight activity in simplified agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Lebeau, Julie; Wesselingh, Renate A; Van Dyck, Hans

    2016-02-01

    Agricultural intensification has a strong negative impact on farmland biodiversity (including flower-visiting insects), but understanding the mechanisms involved in this requires experimental work. We document the impact of nectar limitation on the performance of a flower-visiting insect, the meadow brown butterfly Maniola jurtina. We conducted two types of experiments: a field experiment in agricultural landscapes with grasslands of different management intensity and an experiment in outdoor flight cages in which the nectar supply was simulated. For the field experiment, we introduced an array of nectar resources in intensively managed, nectar-poor meadows and in extensively managed, flower-rich grasslands and counted flower visitors. Despite higher butterfly abundance in the extensive meadows, our introduced nectar sources were more frequently visited in intensive meadows, indicating the lack of floral resources. The 48-h confinement under nectar-poor conditions in the flight cages had a strong negative effect on body condition, flight activity and lifetime survival compared to butterflies under nectar-rich conditions. Female lifespan was reduced by 22% and male lifespan even by 43%. Agricultural landscapes that provide limited amounts of floral nectar, and no high-quality, preferred nectar sources relative to the needs of the flower-visiting species, may create ecological sinks. Regards an insect's performance, the simple presence of nectar is not necessarily functionally adequate. The effectiveness of agri-environmental schemes for flower-visiting insects (e.g. flower strips) could be improved based on ecological and evolutionary insights on the effects of specific nectar quantities and qualities.

  12. Contrasting perceptions of anthropogenic coastal agricultural landscape meanings and management in Italy and Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Targetti, Stefano; Sherren, Kate; Raggi, Meri; Viaggi, Davide

    2016-04-01

    The Anthropocene concept entails the idea that humans have become the most influential driving factor on the environment. In this context, it is useful to get insights from coastal areas that are affected by a huge impact of human activities in shaping the territory, are prone to several threats linked with climate change, and featured by interlinked economic, cultural and social systems. We compare evidence from three different methods focusing on the perceptions of coastal agricultural landscapes: i) a survey focusing on residents' perceptions of local rural landscape elements; ii) an expert-elicitation multicriteria exercise (Analytic Network Process) focusing on the relationship between economic actors, ecosystem services and local competitiveness; and iii) a Q-methodology survey to identify public discourses concerning management alternatives. The methods were applied in two coastal case studies characterized by land drainage, shoreline barriers and coastal armoring that represent high cultural heritage; created by humans they rely on active management to persist. Moreover, in both the case studies concerns have been raised about the role of agriculture in the rural development context and the perspectives of local stakeholders towards the management of the reclaimed lands. The first area is located on the southern side of the Po River Delta (Emilia Romagna, Italy). The area was reclaimed during the 19th and 20th centuries for agricultural production and is now characterized by intensive agriculture in the hinterlands, an urbanised coastal area with a developed tourism sector, and the presence of remnant wetlands which are mostly included in the Po Delta Natural Park (covering around 30% of the case study). The second area is located in the dykelands of the Bay of Fundy (Nova Scotia, Canada) whose origins go back to the 17th Century when French settlers built the first dykes to reclaim salt marshes for farmland. While some are still farmed, a range of

  13. Rapid genetic turnover in populations of the insect pest Bemisia tabaci Middle East: Asia Minor 1 in an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Dinsdale, A; Schellhorn, N A; De Barro, P; Buckley, Y M; Riginos, C

    2012-10-01

    Organisms differ greatly in dispersal ability, and landscapes differ in amenability to an organism's movement. Thus, landscape structure and heterogeneity can affect genetic composition of populations. While many agricultural pests are known for their ability to disperse rapidly, it is unclear how fast and over what spatial scale insect pests might respond to the temporally dynamic agricultural landscapes they inhabit. We used population genetic analyses of a severe crop pest, a member of the Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Aleyrodoidea: Aleyrodidea) cryptic species complex known as Middle East-Asia Minor 1 (commonly known as biotype B), to estimate spatial and temporal genetic diversity over four months of the 2006-2007 summer growing season. We examined 559 individuals from eight sites, which were scored for eight microsatellite loci. Temporal genetic structure greatly exceeded spatial structure. There was significant temporal change in local genetic composition from the beginning to the end of the season accompanied by heterozygote deficits and inbreeding. This temporal structure suggests entire cohorts of pests can occupy a large and variable agricultural landscape but are rapidly replaced. These rapid genetic fluctuations reinforce the concept that agricultural landscapes are dynamic mosaics in time and space and may contribute to better decisions for pest and insecticide resistance management.

  14. Changes in soil fungal communities across a landscape of agricultural soil land-uses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berthrong, S. T.; Buckley, D. H.; Drinkwater, L. E.

    2012-12-01

    Agricultural management is a major driver of changes in soils and their resident microbial communities, but we do not yet have a clear picture of how agriculture affects soil fungi. This is an important gap in our knowledge since fungi play an important role in many soil processes. Previous research has suggested that organic management practices can lead to an increase in soil fungal community diversity, which could have impacts on soil processes and alter the long term trajectory of soil quality in agricultural systems. Also, the relationship between management effects, biogeography, and soil fungi is not clear. The biogeography of macroscopic species is well described by taxa-area relationships and distance decay models, and recent research has suggested that certain subsets of fungi (e.g. AMF, litter sapotrophs) demonstrate similar patterns. However there is little information on how soil fungi as a whole are distributed across a landscape with soils under different managements. The goal of this project was to examine how different management practices alter soil fungal communities across a landscape of agricultural fields in upstate NY. We asked several specific questions: 1) Do different types of agricultural land-uses lead to divergent or convergent communities of soil fungi? 2) If soil type is held constant, do soil fungal communities diverge with geographic distance? 3) What are the major fungal groups that change in response to soil management, and are they cosmopolitan or endemic across the landscape? We studied these questions across agricultural fields in upstate NY that ranged from conventional corn, organic grains/corn, and long-term pasture. We sampled four fields (conventional, 10 and 20 year organic, and pasture) that had identical soils types and ranged from 100 m to 4 km apart. We utilized a multiplexed pyrosequencing approach on genomic DNA to analyze the structure of the soils' fungal communities. This approach allowed us to study soil fungi

  15. Grass strip corridors in agricultural landscapes enhance nest-site colonization by solitary wasps.

    PubMed

    Holzschuh, Andrea; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Tscharntke, Teja

    2009-01-01

    Corridors that connect otherwise isolated habitats have often been proposed as a management strategy to mitigate negative effects of habitat fragmentation. Non-crop corridors may have the potential to enhance the connectivity for arthropod predators in cropland landscapes, especially for species that require multiple habitats, such as cavity-nesting wasps which use wooded habitat for nesting and grassland habitat for foraging. However, the effects of corridors in nonexperimental landscapes have been rarely examined. We studied the species richness and abundance of cavity-nesting wasps and their parasitoids in standardized trap nests located in three habitat types (forest edge, hedge, grass strip) and in three grass-strip types (connected to a forest edge, slightly isolated, highly isolated from a forest edge). Species richness and the abundance of wasps (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae, Eumenidae, Pompilidae) were highest at forest edges, which provide natural nesting sites, and lowest in grass strips, with few natural nesting sites. Wasp abundance in grass strips connected to forest edges was 270% higher than in slightly isolated grass strips and 600% higher than in highly isolated grass strips. The abundance of caterpillar-hunting eumenid wasps was 600% higher in connected grass strips than in slightly and highly isolated grass strips. Species richness of wasps was enhanced by 180% in connected grass strips compared to highly isolated grass strips. Parasitism rates were not directly influenced by habitat or grass-strip type, but increased with increasing parasitoid diversity that was higher at forest edges than in grass strips. We conclude that grass-strip corridors enhance the colonization of nesting sites, presumably by facilitating wasp movements. In agricultural landscapes, where nesting sites are limited and food availability changes frequently, rapid colonization of nests may enhance population viability. Higher wasp abundance in connected nesting sites may be

  16. Landscape planning for agricultural nonpoint source pollution reduction I: a geographical allocation framework.

    PubMed

    Diebel, Matthew W; Maxted, Jeffrey T; Nowak, Peter J; Vander Zanden, M Jake

    2008-11-01

    Agricultural nonpoint source pollution remains a persistent environmental problem, despite the large amount of money that has been spent on its abatement. At local scales, agricultural best management practices (BMPs) have been shown to be effective at reducing nutrient and sediment inputs to surface waters. However, these effects have rarely been found to act in concert to produce measurable, broad-scale improvements in water quality. We investigated potential causes for this failure through an effort to develop recommendations for the use of riparian buffers in addressing nonpoint source pollution in Wisconsin. We used frequency distributions of phosphorus pollution at two spatial scales (watershed and field), along with typical stream phosphorus (P) concentration variability, to simulate benefit/cost curves for four approaches to geographically allocating conservation effort. The approaches differ in two ways: (1) whether effort is aggregated within certain watersheds or distributed without regard to watershed boundaries (dispersed), and (2) whether effort is targeted toward the most highly P-polluting fields or is distributed randomly with regard to field-scale P pollution levels. In realistic implementation scenarios, the aggregated and targeted approach most efficiently improves water quality. For example, with effort on only 10% of a model landscape, 26% of the total P load is retained and 25% of watersheds significantly improve. Our results indicate that agricultural conservation can be more efficient if it accounts for the uneven spatial distribution of potential pollution sources and the cumulative aspects of environmental benefits.

  17. Vegetation Water Content Mapping in a Diverse Agricultural Landscape: National Airborne Field Experiment 2006

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cosh, Michael H.; Jing Tao; Jackson, Thomas J.; McKee, Lynn; O'Neill, Peggy

    2011-01-01

    Mapping land cover and vegetation characteristics on a regional scale is critical to soil moisture retrieval using microwave remote sensing. In aircraft-based experiments such as the National Airborne Field Experiment 2006 (NAFE 06), it is challenging to provide accurate high resolution vegetation information, especially on a daily basis. A technique proposed in previous studies was adapted here to the heterogenous conditions encountered in NAFE 06, which included a hydrologically complex landscape consisting of both irrigated and dryland agriculture. Using field vegetation sampling and ground-based reflectance measurements, the knowledge base for relating the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) and the vegetation water content was extended to a greater diversity of agricultural crops, which included dryland and irrigated wheat, alfalfa, and canola. Critical to the generation of vegetation water content maps, the land cover for this region was determined from satellite visible/infrared imagery and ground surveys with an accuracy of 95.5% and a kappa coefficient of 0.95. The vegetation water content was estimated with a root mean square error of 0.33 kg/sq m. The results of this investigation contribute to a more robust database of global vegetation water content observations and demonstrate that the approach can be applied with high accuracy. Keywords: Vegetation, field experimentation, thematic mapper, NDWI, agriculture.

  18. Vegetation Water Content Mapping in a Diverse Agricultural Landscape: National Airborne Field Experiment 2006

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cosh, Michael H.; Jing Tao; Jackson, Thomas J.; McKee, Lynn; O'Neill, Peggy

    2011-01-01

    Mapping land cover and vegetation characteristics on a regional scale is critical to soil moisture retrieval using microwave remote sensing. In aircraft-based experiments such as the National Airborne Field Experiment 2006 (NAFE 06), it is challenging to provide accurate high resolution vegetation information, especially on a daily basis. A technique proposed in previous studies was adapted here to the heterogenous conditions encountered in NAFE 06, which included a hydrologically complex landscape consisting of both irrigated and dryland agriculture. Using field vegetation sampling and ground-based reflectance measurements, the knowledge base for relating the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) and the vegetation water content was extended to a greater diversity of agricultural crops, which included dryland and irrigated wheat, alfalfa, and canola. Critical to the generation of vegetation water content maps, the land cover for this region was determined from satellite visible/infrared imagery and ground surveys with an accuracy of 95.5% and a kappa coefficient of 0.95. The vegetation water content was estimated with a root mean square error of 0.33 kg/sq m. The results of this investigation contribute to a more robust database of global vegetation water content observations and demonstrate that the approach can be applied with high accuracy. Keywords: Vegetation, field experimentation, thematic mapper, NDWI, agriculture.

  19. Fine-scale spatial genetic structure of common and declining bumble bees across an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Dreier, Stephanie; Redhead, John W; Warren, Ian A; Bourke, Andrew F G; Heard, Matthew S; Jordan, William C; Sumner, Seirian; Wang, Jinliang; Carvell, Claire

    2014-07-01

    Land-use changes have threatened populations of many insect pollinators, including bumble bees. Patterns of dispersal and gene flow are key determinants of species' ability to respond to land-use change, but have been little investigated at a fine scale (<10 km) in bumble bees. Using microsatellite markers, we determined the fine-scale spatial genetic structure of populations of four common Bombus species (B. terrestris, B. lapidarius, B. pascuorum and B. hortorum) and one declining species (B. ruderatus) in an agricultural landscape in Southern England, UK. The study landscape contained sown flower patches representing agri-environment options for pollinators. We found that, as expected, the B. ruderatus population was characterized by relatively low heterozygosity, number of alleles and colony density. Across all species, inbreeding was absent or present but weak (FIS  = 0.01-0.02). Using queen genotypes reconstructed from worker sibships and colony locations estimated from the positions of workers within these sibships, we found that significant isolation by distance was absent in B. lapidarius, B. hortorum and B. ruderatus. In B. terrestris and B. pascuorum, it was present but weak; for example, in these two species, expected relatedness of queens founding colonies 1 m apart was 0.02. These results show that bumble bee populations exhibit low levels of spatial genetic structure at fine spatial scales, most likely because of ongoing gene flow via widespread queen dispersal. In addition, the results demonstrate the potential for agri-environment scheme conservation measures to facilitate fine-scale gene flow by creating a more even distribution of suitable habitats across landscapes. © 2014 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Organic farming benefits local plant diversity in vineyard farms located in intensive agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Nascimbene, Juri; Marini, Lorenzo; Paoletti, Maurizio G

    2012-05-01

    The majority of research on organic farming has considered arable and grassland farming systems in Central and Northern Europe, whilst only a few studies have been carried out in Mediterranean agro-systems, such as vineyards, despite their economic importance. The main aim of the study was to test whether organic farming enhances local plant species richness in both crop and non-crop areas of vineyard farms located in intensive conventional landscapes. Nine conventional and nine organic farms were selected in an intensively cultivated region (i.e. no gradient in landscape composition) in northern Italy. In each farm, vascular plants were sampled in one vineyard and in two non-crop linear habitats, grass strips and hedgerows, adjacent to vineyards and therefore potentially influenced by farming. We used linear mixed models to test the effect of farming, and species longevity (annual vs. perennial) separately for the three habitat types. In our intensive agricultural landscapes organic farming promoted local plant species richness in vineyard fields, and grassland strips while we found no effect for linear hedgerows. Differences in species richness were not associated to differences in species composition, indicating that similar plant communities were hosted in vineyard farms independently of the management type. This negative effect of conventional farming was probably due to the use of herbicides, while mechanical operations and mowing regime did not differ between organic and conventional farms. In grassland strips, and only marginally in vineyards, we found that the positive effect of organic farming was more pronounced for perennial than annual species.

  1. Mitigating Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Agricultural Landscape: The Role of Isotopic Techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zaman, Mohammad; Nguyen, Minh Long

    2014-05-01

    A review of studies from agricultural landscapes indicate that intensification of agricultural activities, inefficient use of reactive nitrogen (N) fertilizers and irrigation water, increasing human population and changes in their diet (more protein demand), high stocking rate (number of grazing livestock per hectare) and intensive cultivation are the major influencing factors for nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions into the atmosphere. Nitrification (both autotrophic and heterotrophic), denitrification and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) are the three major microbial processes that produce greenhouse N2O and non-greenhouse gas (N2) and can sometimes occur concurrently in a given soil system. The contribution of N2O production from each of these microbial processes is inconclusive because of the complex interactions between various microbial processes and the physical and chemical conditions in soil microsite (s). Nitrous oxide emissions across an agricultural landscape from different N inputs (chemical fertilizers and animal manure) and soil types are also extremely variable both temporally and spatially and range from 1-20% of the applied N and could therefore represent agronomic loss. The available conventional methods such as acetylene (C2H2) inhibition and helium (He) cannot accurately measure both N2O and N2 and their ratio in a given soil. The use of 15N stable isotopic technique offers the best option to measure both N2O and N2 and to identify their source (nitrification and denitrification) with a greater accuracy. Manipulating soil and fertilizer management practices can minimise these gaseous N losses. For example the combined use of urease inhibitor like (N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (nBTPT) (trade name Agrotain®) and nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide (DCD) with urea (100 kg N ha-1) or animal urine (600 kg N ha-1) was shown to reduce N losses by 39-53 % via denitrification-nitrification-DNRA processes. Other farm management

  2. Biodiversity and agriculture in dynamic landscapes: Integrating ground and remotely-sensed baseline surveys.

    PubMed

    Gillison, Andrew N; Asner, Gregory P; Fernandes, Erick C M; Mafalacusser, Jacinto; Banze, Aurélio; Izidine, Samira; da Fonseca, Ambrósio R; Pacate, Hermenegildo

    2016-07-15

    Sustainable biodiversity and land management require a cost-effective means of forecasting landscape response to environmental change. Conventional species-based, regional biodiversity assessments are rarely adequate for policy planning and decision making. We show how new ground and remotely-sensed survey methods can be coordinated to help elucidate and predict relationships between biodiversity, land use and soil properties along complex biophysical gradients that typify many similar landscapes worldwide. In the lower Zambezi valley, Mozambique we used environmental, gradient-directed transects (gradsects) to sample vascular plant species, plant functional types, vegetation structure, soil properties and land-use characteristics. Soil fertility indices were derived using novel multidimensional scaling of soil properties. To facilitate spatial analysis, we applied a probabilistic remote sensing approach, analyzing Landsat 7 satellite imagery to map photosynthetically active and inactive vegetation and bare soil along each gradsect. Despite the relatively low sample number, we found highly significant correlations between single and combined sets of specific plant, soil and remotely sensed variables that permitted testable spatial projections of biodiversity and soil fertility across the regional land-use mosaic. This integrative and rapid approach provides a low-cost, high-return and readily transferable methodology that permits the ready identification of testable biodiversity indicators for adaptive management of biodiversity and potential agricultural productivity. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Use of anthropogenic linear features by two medium-sized carnivores in reserved and agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Andersen, Georgina E; Johnson, Christopher N; Barmuta, Leon A; Jones, Menna E

    2017-09-14

    Many carnivores are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation. These changes create linear features and habitat edges that can facilitate foraging and/or travel. To understand the significance of anthropogenic linear features in the ecology of carnivores, fine-scaled studies are needed. We studied two medium-sized carnivores: the endangered Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and the near threatened spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus), in a mixed landscape of conservation and agricultural land. Using GPS tracking, we investigated their use of intact habitat versus linear features such as roads, fences and the pasture/cover interface. Both species showed a positive selection for anthropogenic linear features, using the pasture/cover interface for foraging and roads for movement and foraging. Devils travelled along fence lines, while quolls showed little preference for them. Otherwise, both species foraged in forest and travelled through pasture. While devils and quolls can utilise anthropogenic linear features, we suggest that their continued survival in these habitats may depend on the intensity of other threats, e.g. persecution, and providing that sufficient intact habitat remains to sustain their ecological needs. We suggest that the management of both species and probably many other species of carnivores should focus on controlling mortality factors associated with human use of landscapes.

  4. Biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes: challenges and opportunities of coffee agroforests in the Western Ghats, India.

    PubMed

    Garcia, Claude A; Bhagwat, Shonil A; Ghazoul, Jaboury; Nath, Cheryl D; Nanaya, Konerira M; Kushalappa, Chepudira G; Raghuramulu, Yenugula; Nasi, Robert; Vaast, Philippe

    2010-04-01

    The new approaches advocated by the conservation community to integrate conservation and livelihood development now explicitly address landscape mosaics composed of agricultural and forested land rather than only protected areas and largely intact forests. We refer specifically to a call by Harvey et al. (2008) to develop a new approach based on six strategies to integrate biodiversity conservation with sustainable livelihoods in Mesoamerican landscape mosaics. We examined the applicability of this proposal to the coffee agroforests of the Western Ghats, India. Of the six strategies, only one directly addresses livelihood conditions. Their approach has a clear emphasis on conservation and, as currently formulated risks repeating the failures of past integrated conservation and development projects. It fails to place the aspirations of farmers at the core of the agenda. Thus, although we acknowledge and share the broad vision and many of the ideas proposed by this approach, we urge more balanced priority setting by emphasizing people as much as biodiversity through a careful consideration of local livelihood needs and aspirations.

  5. Landscape planning for agricultural nonpoint source pollution reduction III: Assessing phosphorus and sediment reduction potential

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Diebel, M.W.; Maxted, J.T.; Robertson, D.M.; Han, S.; Vander Zanden, M. J.

    2009-01-01

    Riparian buffers have the potential to improve stream water quality in agricultural landscapes. This potential may vary in response to landscape characteristics such as soils, topography, land use, and human activities, including legacies of historical land management. We built a predictive model to estimate the sediment and phosphorus load reduction that should be achievable following the implementation of riparian buffers; then we estimated load reduction potential for a set of 1598 watersheds (average 54 km2) in Wisconsin. Our results indicate that land cover is generally the most important driver of constituent loads in Wisconsin streams, but its influence varies among pollutants and according to the scale at which it is measured. Physiographic (drainage density) variation also influenced sediment and phosphorus loads. The effect of historical land use on present-day channel erosion and variation in soil texture are the most important sources of phosphorus and sediment that riparian buffers cannot attenuate. However, in most watersheds, a large proportion (approximately 70%) of these pollutants can be eliminated from streams with buffers. Cumulative frequency distributions of load reduction potential indicate that targeting pollution reduction in the highest 10% of Wisconsin watersheds would reduce total phosphorus and sediment loads in the entire state by approximately 20%. These results support our approach of geographically targeting nonpoint source pollution reduction at multiple scales, including the watershed scale. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

  6. Impact of climate change on the water cycle of agricultural landscapes in Southwest Germany

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Witte, Irene; Ingwersen, Joachim; Gayler, Sebastian; Streck, Thilo

    2016-04-01

    For agricultural production and life in general, water is a necessity. To ensure food and drinking water security in the future an understanding of the impact of climate change on the water cycle is indispensable. The objective of this PhD research is to assess how higher temperatures, higher atmospheric CO2 concentration and changing precipitation patterns will alter the water cycle of agricultural landscapes in Southwest Germany. As representative key characteristics data evaluation will focus on water use efficiency (WUE) and groundwater recharge. The main research question is whether the positive effect of elevated atmospheric CO2 on WUE will be overcompensated by a decrease in net primary production due to warming and to altered seasonal water availability caused by higher rainfall variability. Elevated atmospheric CO2 stimulates plant growth and improves WUE, whereas higher temperatures are expected to reduce net primary production and groundwater recharge. Another research question referring to groundwater recharge is whether groundwater recharge will increase in winter and decrease in summer in Southwest Germany. Changed groundwater recharge directly affects drinking water supply and is an indicator for possible temporary water shortages in agricultural production. A multi-model ensemble composed of 16 combinations of four crop growth models, two water regime models and two nitrogen models will be calibrated and validated against sets of field data. Field data will be provided by FOR 1965 from 2009-2015 for the Kraichgau region and the Swabian Alb, two contrasting areas with regard to climate and agricultural intensity. By using a multi model ensemble uncertainties in predictions due to different model structures (epistemic uncertainty) can be quantified. The uncertainty related to the randomness of inputs and parameters, the so-called aleatory uncertainty, will be additionally assessed for each of the 16 models. Hence, a more reliable range of future

  7. Agricultural landscapes: Can they support healthy bird populations as well as farm products?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peterjohn, B.G.

    2003-01-01

    At the beginning of the twentieth century, prospects for bird populations occupying farmlands were promising. Agricultural expansion and the resulting deforestation produced wholesale changes to the landscape of eastern North America (Trautman 1977, Zeranski and Baptist 1990, Nicholson 1997). Regional avifaunas were transformed as Horned Larks (Eremophila alpestris), Dickcissels (Spiza americana), and other farmland birds undertook range expansions (Hurley and Franks 1976, Askins 1999). Those farmland birds became conspicuous, frequently in numbers that are hard to imagine today (Trautman 1940).One hundred years later, many of those once plentiful species experienced dramatic population declines (Askins 1993, Peterjohn and Sauer 1999). Those trends were evident for many decades, although pre-1965 trends were largely based on anecdotal accounts and were frequently attributed to changing regional landscapes due to urban expansion, farm abandonment resulting in increased forest cover, and the more intensive use of remaining agricultural fields (Trautman 1940, Herkert 1991, Askins 2000). However, numerous specific factors were implicated in local declines of individual species (Kantrud 1981, Bollinger et al. 1990, Lymn and Temple 1991, Bowen and Kruse 1993, Herkert 1994, Houston and Schmutz 1999, Blackwell and Dolbeer 2001).Understanding factors responsible for population changes can be approached at various geographic scales. Local studies identify specific factors influencing small populations, but the applicability of those results across broad geographic areas is often uncertain. Studies conducted at large geographic scales identify broad patterns of change, but those patterns frequently involve interrelated factors that may be only loosely related to the actual causes of population change. However, correlations between broad patterns of changes in bird populations and land-use characteristics provide a basis for directing future studies conducted at smaller

  8. Landscape conditions predisposing grizzly bears to conflicts on private agricultural lands in the western USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilson, S.M.; Madel, M.J.; Mattson, D.J.; Graham, J.M.; Merrill, T.

    2006-01-01

    We used multiple logistic regression to model how different landscape conditions contributed to the probability of human-grizzly bear conflicts on private agricultural ranch lands. We used locations of livestock pastures, traditional livestock carcass disposal areas (boneyards), beehives, and wetland-riparian associated vegetation to model the locations of 178 reported human-grizzly bear conflicts along the Rocky Mountain East Front, Montana, USA during 1986-2001. We surveyed 61 livestock producers in the upper Teton watershed of north-central Montana, to collect spatial and temporal data on livestock pastures, boneyards, and beehives for the same period, accounting for changes in livestock and boneyard management and beehive location and protection, for each season. We used 2032 random points to represent the null hypothesis of random location relative to potential explanatory landscape features, and used Akaike's Information Criteria (AIC/AICC) and Hosmer-Lemeshow goodness-of-fit statistics for model selection. We used a resulting "best" model to map contours of predicted probabilities of conflict, and used this map for verification with an independent dataset of conflicts to provide additional insights regarding the nature of conflicts. The presence of riparian vegetation and distances to spring, summer, and fall sheep or cattle pastures, calving and sheep lambing areas, unmanaged boneyards, and fenced and unfenced beehives were all associated with the likelihood of human-grizzly bear conflicts. Our model suggests that collections of attractants concentrated in high quality bear habitat largely explain broad patterns of human-grizzly bear conflicts on private agricultural land in our study area. ?? 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Railway Embankments as New Habitat for Pollinators in an Agricultural Landscape

    PubMed Central

    Moroń, Dawid; Skórka, Piotr; Lenda, Magdalena; Rożej-Pabijan, Elżbieta; Wantuch, Marta; Kajzer-Bonk, Joanna; Celary, Waldemar; Mielczarek, Łukasz Emil; Tryjanowski, Piotr

    2014-01-01

    Pollinating insect populations, essential for maintaining wild plant diversity and agricultural productivity, rely on (semi)natural habitats. An increasing human population is encroaching upon and deteriorating pollinator habitats. Thus the population persistence of pollinating insects and their associated ecosystem services may depend upon on man-made novel habitats; however, their importance for ecosystem services is barely understood. We tested if man-made infrastructure (railway embankments) in an agricultural landscape establishes novel habitats that support large populations of pollinators (bees, butterflies, hoverflies) when compared to typical habitats for these insects, i.e., semi-natural grasslands. We also identified key environmental factors affecting the species richness and abundance of pollinators on embankments. Species richness and abundance of bees and butterflies were higher for railway embankments than for grasslands. The occurrence of bare (non-vegetated) ground on embankments positively affected bee species richness and abundance, but negatively affected butterfly populations. Species richness and abundance of butterflies positively depended on species richness of native plants on embankments, whereas bee species richness was positively affected by species richness of non-native flowering plants. The density of shrubs on embankments negatively affected the number of bee species and their abundance. Bee and hoverfly species richness were positively related to wood cover in a landscape surrounding embankments. This is the first study showing that railway embankments constitute valuable habitat for the conservation of pollinators in farmland. Specific conservation strategies involving embankments should focus on preventing habitat deterioration due to encroachment of dense shrubs and maintaining grassland vegetation with patches of bare ground. PMID:25054427

  10. The footprint of marginal agriculture in the Mediterranean mountain landscape: An analysis of the Central Spanish Pyrenees.

    PubMed

    Lasanta, T; Nadal-Romero, E; Errea, M P

    2017-12-01

    Agriculture forms an essential part of the mountains of the Mediterranean. For centuries, large areas were cultivated to feed the local population, with highly marginal slopes being tilled at times of heavy demographic pressure, using the shifting agriculture system. A great deal of agricultural land was abandoned during the 20th century, giving rise to secondary succession processes that tend to eliminate the agricultural footprint. However, revegetation is a highly complex process leading to areas with dense, well-structured plant cover, and other open areas of scrubland. This article studies the role of traditional agriculture in the deterioration of the landscape. By using experimental plots in the Central Pyrenees to reproduce traditional agriculture and abandonment, maps of field types, and current uses and ground cover, it could be confirmed that shifting agriculture has caused very heavy soil loss, which explains the deterioration of the landscape on several slopes. Burning scrub and adding the ash to the soil as a fertilizer did not greatly help to improve soil quality, but caused high rates of erosion and a very slow process of regrowth. The average data obtained from the shifting experimental plots recorded losses of 1356kgha(-1)years(-1), 1.6 times more than the plot of fertilized cereal, and 8.2 times more than the dense scrub plot. Following abandonment, losses in the shifting agriculture plot were almost three times higher than the abandoned sloping field plot. Traditional shifting agriculture in the Pyrenees is the main cause of the deterioration of the landscape 50-70years after agriculture ceased. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. Linking ecology and aesthetics in sustainable agricultural landscapes: Lessons from the Palouse region of Washington, U.S.A

    Treesearch

    Linda R. Klein; William G. Hendrix; Virginia I. Lohr; Jolie B. Kaytes; Rodney D. Sayler; Mark E. Swanson; William J. Elliot; John P. Reganold

    2015-01-01

    Inspired by international escalation in agricultural sustainability debates, we explored the promise of landscape-scale conservation buffers to mitigate environmental damage, improve ecological function, and enhance scenic quality. Although the ecological benefits of buffer vegetation are well established by plot- and field-scale research, buffer adoption by farmers is...

  12. Nitrogen transport within an agricultural landscape: insights on how hydrology, biogeochemistry, and the landscape intersect to control the fate and transport of nitrogen in the Mississippi Delta

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barlow, Jeannie R.; Kröger, Robert

    2014-01-01

    Nitrogen (N) is a ubiquitous contaminant throughout agricultural landscapes due to both the application of inorganic and organic fertilizers to agricultural fields and the general persistence of nitrate (NO3 ) in oxygenated aqueous environments (Denver et al. 2010; Domagalski et al. 2008; Green et al. 2008; Coupe 2001; Nolan and Stoner 2000). In order to understand why excess N occurs various hydrologic systems (environments), it is important to consider potential sources, the locations of these sources in the watershed, and the timing of the application of sources with respect to the movement of water. To learn how to manage N in a watershed, it is necessary to identify and quantify flow paths and biogeochemical conditions, which ultimately combine to determine transport and fate. If sources, transport mechanisms, and biogeochemical controls were uniformly distributed, it would be possible to manage N uniformly throughout a watershed. However, uniform conditions are rare to nonexistent in the natural world and in the landscape altered for agricultural production. In order to adjust management activities on the landscape to have the greatest effect, it is important to understand the fate and transport N within the intersection of hydrology and biogeochemistry, that is, to understand the extent and duration of the hydrologic and biogeochemical controls as N is routed through and among each hydrologic compartment.

  13. Landscape fragmentation and pollinator movement within agricultural environments: a modelling framework for exploring foraging and movement ecology

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Pollinator decline has been linked to landscape change, through both habitat fragmentation and the loss of habitat suitable for the pollinators to live within. One method for exploring why landscape change should affect pollinator populations is to combine individual-level behavioural ecological techniques with larger-scale landscape ecology. A modelling framework is described that uses spatially-explicit individual-based models to explore the effects of individual behavioural rules within a landscape. The technique described gives a simple method for exploring the effects of the removal of wild corridors, and the creation of wild set-aside fields: interventions that are common to many national agricultural policies. The effects of these manipulations on central-place nesting pollinators are varied, and depend upon the behavioural rules that the pollinators are using to move through the environment. The value of this modelling framework is discussed, and future directions for exploration are identified. PMID:24795848

  14. Landscape fragmentation and pollinator movement within agricultural environments: a modelling framework for exploring foraging and movement ecology.

    PubMed

    Rands, Sean A

    2014-01-01

    Pollinator decline has been linked to landscape change, through both habitat fragmentation and the loss of habitat suitable for the pollinators to live within. One method for exploring why landscape change should affect pollinator populations is to combine individual-level behavioural ecological techniques with larger-scale landscape ecology. A modelling framework is described that uses spatially-explicit individual-based models to explore the effects of individual behavioural rules within a landscape. The technique described gives a simple method for exploring the effects of the removal of wild corridors, and the creation of wild set-aside fields: interventions that are common to many national agricultural policies. The effects of these manipulations on central-place nesting pollinators are varied, and depend upon the behavioural rules that the pollinators are using to move through the environment. The value of this modelling framework is discussed, and future directions for exploration are identified.

  15. Pest Control and Pollination Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hedgerow Restoration in a Simplified Agricultural Landscape.

    PubMed

    Morandin, L A; Long, R F; Kremen, C

    2016-05-11

    Field edge habitat in homogeneous agricultural landscapes can serve multiple purposes including enhanced biodiversity, water quality protection, and habitat for beneficial insects, such as native bees and natural enemies. Despite this ecosystem service value, adoption of field border plantings, such as hedgerows, on large-scale mono-cropped farms is minimal. With profits primarily driving agricultural production, a major challenge affecting hedgerow plantings is linked to establishment costs and the lack of clear economic benefits on the restoration investment. Our study documented that hedgerows are economically viable to growers by enhancing beneficial insects and natural pest control and pollination on farms. With pest control alone, our model shows that it would take 16 yr to break even from insecticide savings on the US$4,000 cost of a typical 300-m hedgerow field edge planting. By adding in pollination benefits by native bees, where honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) may be limiting, the return time is reduced to 7 yr. USDA cost share programs allow for a quicker return on a hedgerow investment. Our study shows that over time, small-scale restoration can be profitable, helping to overcome the barrier of cost associated with field edge habitat restoration on farms.

  16. Agroforestry-based management of salt-affected croplands in irrigated agricultural landscape in Uzbekistan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khamzina, Asia; Kumar, Navneet; Heng, Lee

    2017-04-01

    In the lower Amu Darya River Basin, the decades of intensive irrigation led to elevated groundwater tables, resulting in ubiquitous soil salinization and adverse impact on crop production. Field-scale afforestation trials and farm-scale economic analyses in the Khorezm region have determined that afforestation can be an environmentally and financially attractive land-use option for degraded croplands because it combines a diversified agricultural production, carbon sequestration, an improved soil health and minimizes the use of irrigation water. We examined prospects for upscaling afforestation activity for regional land-use planning considering prevailing constraints in irrigated agriculture landscape. Assessment of salinity-induced cropland productivity decline using satellite imagery of multiple spatial and temporal resolution revealed that 18-38% of the marginally productive or abandoned cropland might be considered for conversion to agroforestry. Furthermore, a regional-scale water balance suggests that most of these marginal croplands are characterized by sufficient surface water supplies for irrigating the newly planted saplings, before they are able to rely on the groundwater alone. However, the 10-year monitoring of soil salt dynamics in the afforestation trials reveals increasing salinity levels due to the salt exclusion from the root water uptake by the trees. Further study focuses on enhancing long-term sustainability of afforestation as a management option for highly saline lands by examining salt tolerance of candidate species using 13C isotopic signature as the indicator of water and salt stress, salt leaching needs and implications for regional scale planning.

  17. Vegetation water content mapping in a diverse agricultural landscape: National Airborne Field Experiment 2006

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cosh, Michael H.; Tao, Jing; Jackson, Thomas J.; McKee, Lynn; O'Neill, Peggy

    2010-05-01

    Mapping land cover and vegetation characteristics on a regional scale is critical to soil moisture retrieval using microwave remote sensing. In aircraft-based experiments such as the National Airborne Field Experiment 2006 (NAFE'06), it is challenging to provide accurate high resolution vegetation information, especially on a daily basis. A technique proposed in previous studies was adapted here to the heterogenous conditions encountered in NAFE'06, which included a hydrologically complex landscape consisting of both irrigated and dryland agriculture. Using field vegetation sampling and ground-based reflectance measurements, the knowledge base for relating the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) and the vegetation water content was extended to a greater diversity of agricultural crops, which included dryland and irrigated wheat, alfalfa, and canola. Critical to the generation of vegetation water content maps, the land cover for this region was determined from satellite visible/infrared imagery and ground surveys with an accuracy of 95.5% and a kappa coefficient of 0.95. The vegetation water content was estimated with a root mean square error of 0.33 kg/m2. The results of this investigation contribute to a more robust database of global vegetation water content observations and demonstrate that the approach can be applied with high accuracy.

  18. Tightly-Coupled Plant-Soil Nitrogen Cycling: Comparison of Organic Farms across an Agricultural Landscape

    PubMed Central

    Bowles, Timothy M.; Hollander, Allan D.; Steenwerth, Kerri; Jackson, Louise E.

    2015-01-01

    How farming systems supply sufficient nitrogen (N) for high yields but with reduced N losses is a central challenge for reducing the tradeoffs often associated with N cycling in agriculture. Variability in soil organic matter and management of organic farms across an agricultural landscape may yield insights for improving N cycling and for evaluating novel indicators of N availability. We assessed yields, plant-soil N cycling, and root expression of N metabolism genes across a representative set of organic fields growing Roma-type tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.) in an intensively-managed agricultural landscape in California, USA. The fields spanned a three-fold range of soil carbon (C) and N but had similar soil types, texture, and pH. Organic tomato yields ranged from 22.9 to 120.1 Mg ha-1 with a mean similar to the county average (86.1 Mg ha-1), which included mostly conventionally-grown tomatoes. Substantial variability in soil inorganic N concentrations, tomato N, and root gene expression indicated a range of possible tradeoffs between yields and potential for N losses across the fields. Fields showing evidence of tightly-coupled plant-soil N cycling, a desirable scenario in which high crop yields are supported by adequate N availability but low potential for N loss, had the highest total and labile soil C and N and received organic matter inputs with a range of N availability. In these fields, elevated expression of a key gene involved in root N assimilation, cytosolic glutamine synthetase GS1, confirmed that plant N assimilation was high even when inorganic N pools were low. Thus tightly-coupled N cycling occurred on several working organic farms. Novel combinations of N cycling indicators (i.e. inorganic N along with soil microbial activity and root gene expression for N assimilation) would support adaptive management for improved N cycling on organic as well as conventional farms, especially when plant-soil N cycling is rapid. PMID:26121264

  19. Landscape context mediates influence of local food abundance on wetland use by wintering shorebirds in an agricultural valley

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Taft, Oriane W.; Haig, Susan M.

    2006-01-01

    While it is widely understood that local abundance of benthic invertebrates can greatly influence the distribution and abundance of wetland birds, no studies have examined if wetland landscape context can mediate this relationship. We studied the influence of wetland food abundance and landscape context on use of agricultural wetlands by wintering dunlin (Calidris alpina) and killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, USA, over two winters (1999a??2000, 2000a??2001) of differing rainfall and subsequent habitat distribution. We monitored bird use (frequency of occurrence and abundance) at a sample of wetlands differing in local food abundance (density and biomass) and landscape context [adjacent shorebird habitat (defined as ha of wet habitat with less than 50% vegetative cover and within a 2-km radius) and nearest neighbor distance]. We evaluated predictive models for bird use using linear regression and the Cp criterion to select the most parsimonious model. During the dry winter (2000a??2001), dunlin exhibited greater use of sites with higher invertebrate density and biomass but also with more adjacent shorebird habitat and closest to a wetland neighbor. However, neither landscape context nor food abundance were important predictors of dunlin use during the wet winter (1999a??2000). Use of sites by killdeer was unrelated to either local food abundance or landscape context measures during both winters. Our findings contribute to a growing recognition of the importance of landscape structure to wetland birds and highlight a number of implications for the spatial planning and enhancement of wetlands using a landscape approach.

  20. Silicate weathering and CO2 consumption within agricultural landscapes, the Ohio-Tennessee River Basin, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fortner, S. K.; Lyons, W. B.; Carey, A. E.; Shipitalo, M. J.; Welch, S. A.; Welch, K. A.

    2012-03-01

    Myriad studies have shown the extent of human alteration to global biogeochemical cycles. Yet, there is only a limited understanding of the influence that humans have over silicate weathering fluxes; fluxes that have regulated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and global climate over geologic timescales. Natural landscapes have been reshaped into agricultural ones to meet food needs for growing world populations. These processes modify soil properties, alter hydrology, affect erosion, and consequently impact water-soil-rock interactions such as chemical weathering. Dissolved silica (DSi), Ca2+, Mg2+, NO3-, and total alkalinity were measured in water samples collected from five small (0.0065 to 0.383 km2) gauged watersheds at the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed (NAEW) near Coshocton, Ohio, USA. The sampled watersheds in this unglaciated region include: a forested site (70+ year stand), mixed agricultural use (corn, forest, pasture), an unimproved pasture, tilled corn, and a recently (<3 yr) converted no-till corn field. The first three watersheds had perennial streams, but the two corn watersheds only produced runoff during storms and snowmelt. For the perennial streams, total discharge was an important control of dissolved silicate transport. Median DSi yields (2210-3080 kg km-2 yr-1) were similar to the median of annual averages between 1979-2009 for the much larger Ohio-Tennessee River Basin (2560 kg km-2 yr-1). Corn watersheds, which only had surface runoff, had substantially lower DSi yields (<530 kg km-2 yr-1) than the perennial-flow watersheds. The lack of contributions from Si-enriched groundwater largely explained their much lower DSi yields with respect to sites having baseflow. A significant positive correlation between the molar ratio of (Ca2++Mg2+)/alkalinity to DSi in the tilled corn and the forested site suggested, however, that silicate minerals weathered as alkalinity was lost via enhanced nitrification resulting from fertilizer

  1. Nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural landscapes: quantification tools, policy development, and opportunities for improved management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tonitto, C.; Gurwick, N. P.

    2012-12-01

    Policy initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) have promoted the development of agricultural management protocols to increase SOC storage and reduce GHG emissions. We review approaches for quantifying N2O flux from agricultural landscapes. We summarize the temporal and spatial extent of observations across representative soil classes, climate zones, cropping systems, and management scenarios. We review applications of simulation and empirical modeling approaches and compare validation outcomes across modeling tools. Subsequently, we review current model application in agricultural management protocols. In particular, we compare approaches adapted for compliance with the California Global Warming Solutions Act, the Alberta Climate Change and Emissions Management Act, and by the American Carbon Registry. In the absence of regional data to drive model development, policies that require GHG quantification often use simple empirical models based on highly aggregated data of N2O flux as a function of applied N - Tier 1 models according to IPCC categorization. As participants in development of protocols that could be used in carbon offset markets, we observed that stakeholders outside of the biogeochemistry community favored outcomes from simulation modeling (Tier 3) rather than empirical modeling (Tier 2). In contrast, scientific advisors were more accepting of outcomes based on statistical approaches that rely on local observations, and their views sometimes swayed policy practitioners over the course of policy development. Both Tier 2 and Tier 3 approaches have been implemented in current policy development, and it is important that the strengths and limitations of both approaches, in the face of available data, be well-understood by those drafting and adopting policies and protocols. The reliability of all models is contingent on sufficient observations for model development and validation. Simulation models applied without site-calibration generally

  2. REDD+ and climate smart agriculture in landscapes: A case study in Vietnam using companion modelling.

    PubMed

    Salvini, G; Ligtenberg, A; van Paassen, A; Bregt, A K; Avitabile, V; Herold, M

    2016-05-01

    Finding land use strategies that merge land-based climate change mitigation measures and adaptation strategies is still an open issue in climate discourse. This article explores synergies and trade-offs between REDD+, a scheme that focuses mainly on mitigation through forest conservation, with "Climate Smart Agriculture", an approach that emphasizes adaptive agriculture. We introduce a framework for ex-ante assessment of the impact of land management policies and interventions and for quantifying their impacts on land-based mitigation and adaptation goals. The framework includes a companion modelling (ComMod) process informed by interviews with policymakers, local experts and local farmers. The ComMod process consists of a Role-Playing Game with local farmers and an Agent Based Model. The game provided a participatory means to develop policy and climate change scenarios. These scenarios were then used as inputs to the Agent Based Model, a spatially explicit model to simulate landscape dynamics and the associated carbon emissions over decades. We applied the framework using as case study a community in central Vietnam, characterized by deforestation for subsistence agriculture and cultivation of acacias as a cash crop. The main findings show that the framework is useful in guiding consideration of local stakeholders' goals, needs and constraints. Additionally the framework provided beneficial information to policymakers, pointing to ways that policies might be re-designed to make them better tailored to local circumstances and therefore more effective in addressing synergistically climate change mitigation and adaptation objectives. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. [Impacts of landscape patterns on heavy metal contamination of agricultural top soils in the Pearl River Delta, South China].

    PubMed

    Li, Cheng; Li, Fang-bai; Wu, Zhi-feng; Cheng, Jiong

    2015-04-01

    Landscape patterns are known to influence many ecological processes, but the relationship between landscape patterns and soil pollution processes is not well understood. Based on 300 top soil samples, land use and cover map for the Pearl River Delta (PRD) of 2005, this study explored the characteristics and spatial pattern of heavy metal contamination of agricultural top soils and examined the impacts of landscape patterns on the heavy metal contamination in the buffers of soil samples. Research methods included geostatistical analysis, landscape pattern analysis, single-factor pollution indices, and Pearson correlation analysis. We found that: 1) out of the 235 agricultural soil samples, 3.8%, 0.4%, 17.0% and 9.4% samples exceeded the Grade II national standard for As, Pb, Cd and Ni concentrations respectively. High pollution levels were found in three cities, Guangzhou, Foshan and Zhongshan; 2) soils in the farmland were more polluted than those in the forest and orchard land, and there were no differences among different agricultural land use types in contamination level of each heavy metal (except Cd); and 3) the proportion, mean patch area as well as the degree of landscape fragmentation, landscape-level structural complexity and aggregation/connectivity of water at the buffer zone were significantly positively correlated with the contamination level of each of the four heavy metals in agricultural top soils. Part of the landscape pattern of urban land in the buffer zone also positively correlated with Pb and Cd levels (P < 0.05). On the contrary, the proportion, mean patch area and aggregation degree of forest land negatively correlated with soil Pb and Ni levels (P < 0.05); and 4) the closer to the industry land were the soil samples, the more polluted the soils were for Pb, Cd and Ni. Only landscape diversity was found to be positively correlated with soil Cd contamination. The study results provide new information and scientific basis for heavy metal

  4. Wide-area mapping of small-scale features in agricultural landscapes using airborne remote sensing

    PubMed Central

    O’Connell, Jerome; Bradter, Ute; Benton, Tim G.

    2015-01-01

    Natural and semi-natural habitats in agricultural landscapes are likely to come under increasing pressure with the global population set to exceed 9 billion by 2050. These non-cropped habitats are primarily made up of trees, hedgerows and grassy margins and their amount, quality and spatial configuration can have strong implications for the delivery and sustainability of various ecosystem services. In this study high spatial resolution (0.5 m) colour infrared aerial photography (CIR) was used in object based image analysis for the classification of non-cropped habitat in a 10,029 ha area of southeast England. Three classification scenarios were devised using 4 and 9 class scenarios. The machine learning algorithm Random Forest (RF) was used to reduce the number of variables used for each classification scenario by 25.5 % ± 2.7%. Proportion of votes from the 4 class hierarchy was made available to the 9 class scenarios and where the highest ranked variables in all cases. This approach allowed for misclassified parent objects to be correctly classified at a lower level. A single object hierarchy with 4 class proportion of votes produced the best result (kappa 0.909). Validation of the optimum training sample size in RF showed no significant difference between mean internal out-of-bag error and external validation. As an example of the utility of this data, we assessed habitat suitability for a declining farmland bird, the yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella), which requires hedgerows associated with grassy margins. We found that ∼22% of hedgerows were within 200 m of margins with an area >183.31 m2. The results from this analysis can form a key information source at the environmental and policy level in landscape optimisation for food production and ecosystem service sustainability. PMID:26664131

  5. Wide-area mapping of small-scale features in agricultural landscapes using airborne remote sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Connell, Jerome; Bradter, Ute; Benton, Tim G.

    2015-11-01

    Natural and semi-natural habitats in agricultural landscapes are likely to come under increasing pressure with the global population set to exceed 9 billion by 2050. These non-cropped habitats are primarily made up of trees, hedgerows and grassy margins and their amount, quality and spatial configuration can have strong implications for the delivery and sustainability of various ecosystem services. In this study high spatial resolution (0.5 m) colour infrared aerial photography (CIR) was used in object based image analysis for the classification of non-cropped habitat in a 10,029 ha area of southeast England. Three classification scenarios were devised using 4 and 9 class scenarios. The machine learning algorithm Random Forest (RF) was used to reduce the number of variables used for each classification scenario by 25.5 % ± 2.7%. Proportion of votes from the 4 class hierarchy was made available to the 9 class scenarios and where the highest ranked variables in all cases. This approach allowed for misclassified parent objects to be correctly classified at a lower level. A single object hierarchy with 4 class proportion of votes produced the best result (kappa 0.909). Validation of the optimum training sample size in RF showed no significant difference between mean internal out-of-bag error and external validation. As an example of the utility of this data, we assessed habitat suitability for a declining farmland bird, the yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella), which requires hedgerows associated with grassy margins. We found that ˜22% of hedgerows were within 200 m of margins with an area >183.31 m2. The results from this analysis can form a key information source at the environmental and policy level in landscape optimisation for food production and ecosystem service sustainability.

  6. Wide-area mapping of small-scale features in agricultural landscapes using airborne remote sensing.

    PubMed

    O'Connell, Jerome; Bradter, Ute; Benton, Tim G

    2015-11-01

    Natural and semi-natural habitats in agricultural landscapes are likely to come under increasing pressure with the global population set to exceed 9 billion by 2050. These non-cropped habitats are primarily made up of trees, hedgerows and grassy margins and their amount, quality and spatial configuration can have strong implications for the delivery and sustainability of various ecosystem services. In this study high spatial resolution (0.5 m) colour infrared aerial photography (CIR) was used in object based image analysis for the classification of non-cropped habitat in a 10,029 ha area of southeast England. Three classification scenarios were devised using 4 and 9 class scenarios. The machine learning algorithm Random Forest (RF) was used to reduce the number of variables used for each classification scenario by 25.5 % ± 2.7%. Proportion of votes from the 4 class hierarchy was made available to the 9 class scenarios and where the highest ranked variables in all cases. This approach allowed for misclassified parent objects to be correctly classified at a lower level. A single object hierarchy with 4 class proportion of votes produced the best result (kappa 0.909). Validation of the optimum training sample size in RF showed no significant difference between mean internal out-of-bag error and external validation. As an example of the utility of this data, we assessed habitat suitability for a declining farmland bird, the yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella), which requires hedgerows associated with grassy margins. We found that ∼22% of hedgerows were within 200 m of margins with an area >183.31 m(2). The results from this analysis can form a key information source at the environmental and policy level in landscape optimisation for food production and ecosystem service sustainability.

  7. Biodiversity in Organic Farmland - How Does Landscape Context Influence Species Diversity in Organic Vs. Conventional Agricultural Fields?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seufert, V.; Wood, S.; Reid, A.; Gonzalez, A.; Rhemtulla, J.; Ramankutty, N.

    2014-12-01

    The most important current driver of biodiversity loss is the conversion of natural habitats for human land uses, mostly for the purpose of food production. However, by causing this biodiversity loss, food production is eroding the very same ecosystem services (e.g. pollination and soil fertility) that it depends on. We therefore need to adopt more wildlife-friendly agricultural practices that can contribute to preserving biodiversity. Organic farming has been shown to typically host higher biodiversity than conventional farming. But how is the biodiversity benefit of organic management dependent on the landscape context farms are situated in? To implement organic farming as an effective means for protecting biodiversity and enhancing ecosystem services we need to understand better under what conditions organic management is most beneficial for species. We conducted a meta-analysis of the literature to answer this question, compiling the most comprehensive database to date of studies that monitored biodiversity in organic vs. conventional fields. We also collected information about the landscape surrounding these fields from remote sensing products. Our database consists of 348 study sites across North America and Europe. Our analysis shows that organic management can improve biodiversity in agricultural fields substantially. It is especially effective at preserving biodiversity in homogeneous landscapes that are structurally simplified and dominated by either cropland or pasture. In heterogeneous landscapes conventional agriculture might instead already hold high biodiversity, and organic management does not appear to provide as much of a benefit for species richness as in simplified landscapes. Our results suggest that strategies to maintain biodiversity-dependent ecosystem services should include a combination of pristine natural habitats, wildlife-friendly farming systems like organic farming, and high-yielding conventional systems, interspersed in structurally

  8. Factors affecting songbird nest survival in riparian forests in a midwestern agricultural landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peak, R.G.; Thompson, F. R.; Shaffer, T.L.

    2004-01-01

    We investigated factors affecting nest success of songbirds in riparian forest and buffers in northeastern Missouri. We used an information-theoretic approach to determine support for hypotheses concerning effects of nest-site, habitat-patch, edge, and temporal factors on nest success of songbirds in three narrow (55–95 m) and three wide (400–530 m) riparian forests with adjacent grassland-shrub buffer strips and in three narrow and three wide riparian forests without adjacent grassland-shrub buffer strips. We predicted that temporal effects would have the most support and that habitat-patch and edge effects would have little support, because nest predation would be great across all sites in the highly fragmented, predominantly agricultural landscape. Interval nest success was 0.404, 0.227, 0.070, and 0.186, respectively, for Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea), and forest interior species pooled (Acadian Flycatcher [Empidonax virescens], Wood Thrush [Hylocichla mustelina], Ovenbird [Seiurus aurocapillus], and Kentucky Warbler [Oporornis formosus]). The effect of nest stage on nest success had the most support; daily nest success for Gray Catbird and Indigo Bunting were lowest in the laying stage. We found strong support for greater nest success of Gray Catbird in riparian forests with adjacent buffer strips than in riparian forests without adjacent buffer strips. Patch width also occurred in the most-supported model for Gray Catbird, but with very limited support. The null model received the most support for Northern Cardinal. Riparian forests provided breeding habitat for area-sensitive forest species and grassland-shrub nesting species. Buffer strips provided additional breeding habitat for grassland-shrub nesting species. Interval nest success for Indigo Bunting and area-sensitive forest species pooled, however, fell well below the level that is likely necessary to balance

  9. Temporal Beta Diversity of Bird Assemblages in Agricultural Landscapes: Land Cover Change vs. Stochastic Processes.

    PubMed

    Baselga, Andrés; Bonthoux, Sébastien; Balent, Gérard

    2015-01-01

    Temporal variation in the composition of species assemblages could be the result of deterministic processes driven by environmental change and/or stochastic processes of colonization and local extinction. Here, we analyzed the relative roles of deterministic and stochastic processes on bird assemblages in an agricultural landscape of southwestern France. We first assessed the impact of land cover change that occurred between 1982 and 2007 on (i) the species composition (presence/absence) of bird assemblages and (ii) the spatial pattern of taxonomic beta diversity. We also compared the observed temporal change of bird assemblages with a null model accounting for the effect of stochastic dynamics on temporal beta diversity. Temporal assemblage dissimilarity was partitioned into two separate components, accounting for the replacement of species (i.e. turnover) and for the nested species losses (or gains) from one time to the other (i.e. nestedness-resultant dissimilarity), respectively. Neither the turnover nor the nestedness-resultant components of temporal variation were accurately explained by any of the measured variables accounting for land cover change (r(2)<0.06 in all cases). Additionally, the amount of spatial assemblage heterogeneity in the region did not significantly change between 1982 and 2007, and site-specific observed temporal dissimilarities were larger than null expectations in only 1% of sites for temporal turnover and 13% of sites for nestedness-resultant dissimilarity. Taken together, our results suggest that land cover change in this agricultural landscape had little impact on temporal beta diversity of bird assemblages. Although other unmeasured deterministic process could be driving the observed patterns, it is also possible that the observed changes in presence/absence species composition of local bird assemblages might be the consequence of stochastic processes in which species populations appeared and disappeared from specific localities in

  10. Factors affecting songbird nest survival in riparian forests in a Midwestern agricultural landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peak, R.G.; Thompson, F. R.; Shaffer, T.L.

    2004-01-01

    We investigated factors affecting nest success of songbirds in riparian forest and buffers in northeastern Missouri. We used an information-theoretic approach to determine support for hypotheses concerning effects of nest-site, habitat-patch, edge, and temporal factors on nest success of songbirds in three narrow (55DS95 m) and three wide (400DS530 m) riparian forests with adjacent grasslandDSshrub buffer strips and in three narrow and three wide riparian forests without adjacent grasslandDSshrub buffer strips. We predicted that temporal effects would have the most support and that habitat-patch and edge effects would have little support, because nest predation would be great across all sites in the highly fragmented, predominantly agricultural landscape. Interval nest success was 0.404, 0.227, 0.070, and 0.186, respectively, for Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea), and forest interior species pooled (Acadian Flycatcher [Empidonax virescens], Wood Thrush [Hylocichla mustelina], Ovenbird [Seiurus aurocapillus], and Kentucky Warbler [Oporornis formosus]). The effect of nest stage on nest success had the most support; daily nest success for Gray Catbird and Indigo Bunting were lowest in the laying stage. We found strong support for greater nest success of Gray Catbird in riparian forests with adjacent buffer strips than in riparian forests without adjacent buffer strips. Patch width also occurred in the most supported model for Gray Catbird, but with very limited support. The null model received the most support for Northern Cardinal. Riparian forests provided breeding habitat for areas sensitive forest species and grassland-shrub nesting species. Buffer strips provided additional breeding habitat for grassland-shrub nesting species. Interval nest success for Indigo Bunting and area-sensitive forest species pooled, however, fell well below the level that is likely necessary to balance

  11. The Influence of Soil Displacement in Bavarian Agricultural Landscapes on the Land-Atmosphere Exchange of Greenhouse Gases.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smidt, J.; Schmid, H. P. E.

    2016-12-01

    The terrestrial biosphere represents the world's second-largest stock of carbon, after the oceans, estimated to be 2300 Gt carbon with 1500 Gt of organic carbon (Kirkels et al., 2014). In agricultural landscapes, erosion and deposition caused by tillage and subsequent heavy precipitation redistribute large amounts of soil and therefore carbon (Van Oost et al., 2007). Erosion rates in areas of agricultural production are 1-2 magnitudes larger than in areas covered with native vegetation (Montgomery, 2007). Landscapes in the German state of Bavaria have been used for agricultural production for thousands of years. Within the framework of the project "Bavarian Landscapes Under Climate Change," a multi-method approach is taken. At two distinct watersheds in Bavaria, we attempt to quantify the effect of soil displacement on the fluxes of CO2, N2O and CH4 using continuous eddy covariance (EC) data, small manual gas chamber measurements and a soil laboratory incubation experiment designed to simulate an erosion event. The pre-alpine site of Rottenbuch, part of the TERENO network, is located at 690 masl and characterized by molasses and carbonic/dolomitic fluvioglacial sediments. The Otterbach site, part of the Bavarian Forest, lies at 350 masl and is dominated by granite and gneiss rock. The sites have an annual precipitation of 1200 and 700 mm, respectively. In Rottenbuch, the downslope area is managed grassland and the upslope area is grazed part of the year. In Otterbach, the downslope field is organic grassland, and the upslope area is used for agricultural production. There is a standard EC station at each site, as well as automatic chambers (Rottenbuch) and manual chambers (Otterbach). The data collected will be used to calibrate, run and verify numerical models to ascertain the sensitivity of the fluxes to biological, biochemical and physical processes and ultimately bring light to the question of agricultural landscapes as sinks or sources of greenhouse gases.

  12. Quantifying exposure of wild bumblebees to mixtures of agrochemicals in agricultural and urban landscapes.

    PubMed

    Botías, Cristina; David, Arthur; Hill, Elizabeth M; Goulson, Dave

    2017-03-01

    The increased use of pesticides has caused concern over the possible direct association of exposure to combinations of these compounds with bee health problems. There is growing proof that bees are regularly exposed to mixtures of agrochemicals, but most research has been focused on managed bees living in farmland, whereas little is known about exposure of wild bees, both in farmland and urban habitats. To determine exposure of wild bumblebees to pesticides in agricultural and urban environments through the season, specimens of five different species were collected from farms and ornamental urban gardens in three sampling periods. Five neonicotinoid insecticides, thirteen fungicides and a pesticide synergist were analysed in each of the specimens collected. In total, 61% of the 150 individuals tested had detectable levels of at least one of the compounds, with boscalid being the most frequently detected (35%), followed by tebuconazole (27%), spiroxamine (19%), carbendazim (11%), epoxiconazole (8%), imidacloprid (7%), metconazole (7%) and thiamethoxam (6%). Quantifiable concentrations ranged from 0.17 to 54.4 ng/g (bee body weight) for individual pesticides. From all the bees where pesticides were detected, the majority (71%) had more than one compound, with a maximum of seven pesticides detected in one specimen. Concentrations and detection frequencies were higher in bees collected from farmland compared to urban sites, and pesticide concentrations decreased through the season. Overall, our results show that wild bumblebees are exposed to multiple pesticides when foraging in agricultural and urban landscapes. Such mixtures are detected in bee tissues not just during the crop flowering period, but also later in the season. Therefore, contact with these combinations of active compounds might be more prolonged in time and widespread in the environment than previously assumed. These findings may help to direct future research and pesticide regulation strategies to

  13. A survey of insect assemblages responding to volatiles from a ubiquitous fungus in an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Davis, Thomas Seth; Landolt, Peter J

    2013-07-01

    We report here a first survey of insect orientation to fungal cultures and fungal volatiles from a community ecology perspective. We tested whether volatiles from a ubiquitous yeast-like fungus (Aureobasidium pullulans) are broadly attractive to insects in an agricultural landscape. We evaluated insect attraction to fungal cultures and synthetic compounds identified in fungal headspace (2-methyl-1-butanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol, 2-phenylethanol) in a spearmint (Mentha spicata L.) plantation. Three findings emerged: (1) 1,315 insects representing seven orders and 39 species oriented to traps, but 65 % of trapped insects were Dipterans, of which 80 % were hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae); (2) traps baited with A. pullulans caught 481 % more insects than unbaited control traps on average, and contained more diverse (Shannon's H index) and species rich assemblages than control traps, traps baited with Penicillium expansum, or uninoculated media; and (3) insects oriented in greatest abundance to a 1:1:1 blend of A. pullulans volatiles, but mean diversity scores were highest for traps baited with only 2-phenylethanol or 2-methyl-1-butanol. Our results show that individual components of fungal headspace are not equivalent in terms of the abundance and diversity of insects that orient to them. The low abundance of insects captured with P. expansum suggests that insect assemblages do not haphazardly orient to fungal volatiles. We conclude that volatiles from a common fungal species (A. pullulans) are attractive to a variety of insect taxa in an agricultural system, and that insect orientation to fungal volatiles may be a common ecological phenomenon.

  14. Nitrous oxide emissions and denitrification rates: A blueprint for smart management and remediation of agricultural landscapes.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomasek, A.; Hondzo, M.; Kozarek, J. L.

    2015-12-01

    resulting in the release of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas with 300 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide. The investigation of nitrous oxide emissions and correlation to denitrification rates will facilitate smart management and remediation efforts of agricultural landscapes.

  15. Re-wilding Europe's traditional agricultural landscapes: Values and the link between science and practice

    Treesearch

    Paul H. Gobster

    2014-01-01

    Landscape and Urban Planning encourages multiple perspectives and approaches to help understand landscapes as social-ecological systems, with the goal that by building a robust science of landscape we can provide sustainable solutions for guiding its change. But the link between science and practice, or more simply put, between knowledge and action, is not always clear...

  16. Bee Abundance and Nutritional Status in Relation to Grassland Management Practices in an Agricultural Landscape.

    PubMed

    Smith, Griffin W; Debinski, Diane M; Scavo, Nicole A; Lange, Corey J; Delaney, John T; Moranz, Raymond A; Miller, James R; Engle, David M; Toth, Amy L

    2016-04-01

    Grasslands provide important resources for pollinators in agricultural landscapes. Managing grasslands with fire and grazing has the potential to benefit plant and pollinator communities, though there is uncertainty about the ideal approach. We examined the relationships among burning and grazing regimes, plant communities, and Bombus species and Apis mellifera L. abundance and nutritional indicators at the Grand River Grasslands in southern Iowa and northern Missouri. Treatment regimes included burn-only, grazed-and-burned, and patch-burn graze (pastures subdivided into three temporally distinct fire patches with free access by cattle). The premise of the experimental design was that patch-burn grazing would increase habitat heterogeneity, thereby providing more diverse and abundant floral resources for pollinators. We predicted that both bee abundance and individual bee nutritional indicators (bee size and lipid content) would be positively correlated with floral resource abundance. There were no significant differences among treatments with respect to bee abundance. However, some of the specific characteristics of the plant community showed significant relationships with bee response variables. Pastures with greater abundance of floral resources had greater bee abundance but lower bee nutritional indicators. Bee nutritional variables were positively correlated with vegetation height, but, in some cases, negatively correlated with stocking rate. These results suggest grassland site characteristics such as floral resource abundance and stocking rate are of potential importance to bee pollinators and suggest avenues for further research to untangle the complex interactions between grassland management, plant responses, and bee health.

  17. Using Nanotechnology to Identify and Characterize Hydrological Flowpaths in Agricultural Landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharma, A. N.; Luo, D.; Regan, J. M.; Walter, M.

    2008-12-01

    Applying the power of nanoscale technology to answer landscape-scale questions constitutes an exciting new frontier in science and engineering. In this project, we propose a possible method of reducing the "nonpoint" problem associated with nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, a problem that has hampered agricultural sustainability and water quality protection for decades. We are developing superparamagnetic polylactic acid (PLA) microspheres incorporating DNA "nanobarcodes" as potential tracers. The eventual goal of this project is to develop technologies for identifying and characterizing different flowpaths at field and watershed scales by using multiple sets of polymer microspheres, each coded with unique DNA sequences, of which there are essentially limitless combinations, i.e., many flowpaths can be uniquely coded. Our ultimate vision is to have the capacity of introducing microsphere-encapsulated DNA at different points in a watershed and collecting these microspheres elsewhere in the watershed; using quantitative, real-time polymerase chain reaction targeted at the specific DNA, we would be able to determine the hydrological linkages and transport times between the collection point(s) and the points of DNA introduction. The potential advantages of this nanotechnology strategy compared to conventional tracers are the elimination of background interferences, the ability to segregate superimposed flowpaths through the design of strictly unique DNA tracers and the biodegradability of the tracers. This presentation highlights recent advances, new challenges, and potential applications for this tracer technology.

  18. Decoupling fragmentation from habitat loss for spiders in patchy agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Gavish, Yoni; Ziv, Yaron; Rosenzweig, Michael L

    2012-02-01

    Habitat loss reduces species diversity, but the effect of habitat fragmentation on number of species is less clear because fragmentation generally accompanies loss of habitat. We compared four methods that aim to decouple the effects of fragmentation from the effects of habitat loss. Two methods are based on species-area relations, one on Fisher's alpha index of diversity, and one on plots of cumulative number of species detected against cumulative area sampled. We used these methods to analyze the species diversity of spiders in 2, 3.2 × 4 km agricultural landscapes in Southern Judea Lowlands, Israel. Spider diversity increased as fragmentation increased with all four methods, probably not because of the additive within-patch processes, such as edge effect and heterogeneity. The positive relation between fragmentation and species diversity might reflect that most species can disperse through the fields during the wheat-growing season. We suggest that if a given area was designated for the conservation of spiders in Southern Judea Lowlands, Israel, a set of several small patches may maximize species diversity over time. ©2011 Society for Conservation Biology.

  19. Extent and role of ditches in affecting hydrological connectivity in agricultural landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shore, M.; Mechan, S.; Cushen, M.; Jordan, P.; Mellander, P. E.; Kelly-Quinn, M.; Melland, A.

    2012-04-01

    The ease of nutrient transfer from agricultural sources to downstream watercourses is partly dependant on the hydrological connectivity of the landscape which is influenced by surface and sub-surface ditch networks. Approaches to understanding, testing and quantifying hydrological connectivity in the environment have centered on models and indices, many of which have not been tested for their ability to account for surface ditch networks, such as the 'network index' (NI) model (Lane et al., 2004, Lane et al 2009). This model estimates of the time-averaged spatial variability in surface and near-surface connectivity, in terms of both the propensity and generation of hydrological connection. An evaluation of this model as a metric for surface and near-surface connectivity with and without the inclusion of the ditch network is being undertaken in two agricultural watersheds (~12 km2) in Ireland: well drained Catchment A and poorly drained Catchment B. A field survey of the ditch networks in both catchments was conducted to map their extent, and physical characteristics. Results were digitised in ArcGIS and subsequently 'burned' into a 5m x 5m digital elevation model (DEM) by reducing the elevation to the recorded depth for ditches. The NI model was applied to both the original and modified DEMs. These were compared for direction and magnitude of connected flows at the field, ditch network and subcatchment scales using GIS tools. Validation is underway and consists of hydrograph analysis of flow discharge data from 3 locations in each catchment and field surveys across scales and seasons mapping percentage areas of fields and lengths of ditches with observable surface flowing water. Ditch density (excluding streams) was much higher in Catchment B (5,865m km-2) than Catchment A (1,271m km-2) illustrating their widespread nature on poorly drained soils. The ability of the original NI model to predict direction of flow (represented by the surveyed ditch network) improved

  20. The Network Of Shelterbelts As An Agroforestry System Controlling The Water Resources And Biodiversity In The Agricultural Landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kędziora, Andrzej

    2015-01-01

    Long-term human activity has led to many unfavourable changes in landscape structure. The main negative effect has been a simplification of landscape structure reflecting the removal of stable ecosystems, such as forests, shelterbelts, strips of meadows and so on, which were converted into unstable ecosystems, mainly farmlands. Thanks to these changes, serious threats have been posed to the sustainable development of rural areas. The most hazardous of these involve a deteriorating of water balance, increased surface and ground water pollution, and impoverishment of biodiversity. An agroforestry system can serve as a toolkit which allows counteracting such negative changes in the landscape. This paper presents the main findings emerge from long-term investigations on the above issues carried out by the Institute for the Agricultural and Forest Environment of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

  1. Evaluating Changes in Organic C and Emission of Greenhouse Gases in a California Agricultural Landscape.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rolston, D. E.; Hopmans, J. W.; van Kessel, C.; Six, J.; Paw U, K.; Plant, R. E.; Hsiao, T. C.; Poch, R. M.; Shaver, G.; Ideris, A. J.; Lee, J.; Louie, D. T.; MacIntyre, J. L.; Matista, T. A.; Evatt, K. J.; King, A. P.

    2005-12-01

    A major question in CA agriculture is how much C may be sequestered in soil of irrigated, minimum tillage systems. Our main research goals are to identify and quantify the underlying mechanisms and processes controlling the rate of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions versus soil C stabilization as affected by tillage operations. A landscape research approach is used to increase our mechanistic understanding of the biotic and abiotic processes that govern C dynamics under standard and minimum tillage practices. We have selected an irrigated, laser leveled agricultural site in the CA Central Valley for this study. The 70-acre site, located approximately 10 miles northwest of Davis, has been split into two fields. Beginning in the fall of 2003, one field has been managed under standard tillage (ST) and the other under minimum tillage (MT). Each field is instrumented with 1) an eddy-covariance mast to measure field-scale CO2 fluxes, 2) with a 0.62-m2 automated chamber to assess the temporal pattern of CO2 and N2O fluxes, 3) with 36 506-cm2 portable PVC chambers to evaluate the spatial characteristics of CO2, N2O and NO fluxes, 4) with 4 subsurface soil gas probes to measure CO2 and N2O concentrations with depth and 5) with multiple piezometers and tensiometers to monitor the movement of soil water throughout the growing season. Round-up Ready corn was planted in both fields in April 2004. Results from this growing season indicate that the various methods of CO2 measurement compare well with one another. There was no notable difference in soil CO2 flux between tillage treatments, but the eddy-covariance towers measured differences in net CO2 flux between treatments based on differential crop growth patterns. The MT treatment had slightly higher N2O emissions than ST, but N2O and NO emissions were primarily restricted to areas and time periods of fertilizer application. Preliminary results from the 2005 growing season (sunflower crop) indicate similar results. MT corn

  2. Applying an agent-based model of agricultural terraces coupled with a landscape evolution model to explore the impact of human decision-making on terraced terrain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glaubius, Jennifer

    2016-04-01

    Agricultural terraces impact landscape evolution as a result of long-term human-landscape interactions, including decisions regarding terrace maintenance and abandonment. Modeling simulations are often employed to examine the sensitivity of landscapes to various factors, such as rainfall and land cover. Landscape evolution models, erosion models, and hydrological models have all previously been used to simulate the impact of agricultural terrace construction on terrain evolution, soil erosion, and hydrological connectivity. Human choices regarding individual terraces have not been included in these models to this point, despite recent recognition that maintenance and abandonment decisions alter transport and storage patterns of soil and water in terraced terrain. An agent-based model of human decisions related to agricultural terraces is implemented based on a conceptual model of agricultural terrace life cycle stages created from a literature review of terracing impacts. The agricultural terracing agent-based model is then coupled with a landscape evolution model to explore the role of human decisions in the evolution of terraced landscapes. To fully explore this type of co-evolved landscape, human decision-making and its feedbacks must be included in landscape evolution models. Project results may also have implications for management of terraced terrain based on how human choices in these environments affect soil loss and land degradation.

  3. Investigating the Environmental Effects of Agriculture Practices on Natural Resources: Scientific Contributions of the U.S. Geological Survey to Enhance the Management of Agricultural Landscapes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    2007-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) enhances and protects the quality of life in the United States by advancing scientific knowledge to facilitate effective management of hydrologic, biologic, and geologic resources. Results of selected USGS research and monitoring projects in agricultural landscapes are presented in this Fact Sheet. Significant environmental and social issues associated with agricultural production include changes in the hydrologic cycle; introduction of toxic chemicals, nutrients, and pathogens; reduction and alteration of wildlife habitats; and invasive species. Understanding environmental consequences of agricultural production is critical to minimize unintended environmental consequences. The preservation and enhancement of our natural resources can be achieved by measuring the success of improved management practices and by adjusting conservation policies as needed to ensure long-term protection.

  4. Patterns and scaling properties of surface soil moisture in an agricultural landscape: An ecohydrological modeling study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korres, W.; Reichenau, T. G.; Schneider, K.

    2013-08-01

    Soil moisture is a key variable in hydrology, meteorology and agriculture. Soil moisture, and surface soil moisture in particular, is highly variable in space and time. Its spatial and temporal patterns in agricultural landscapes are affected by multiple natural (precipitation, soil, topography, etc.) and agro-economic (soil management, fertilization, etc.) factors, making it difficult to identify unequivocal cause and effect relationships between soil moisture and its driving variables. The goal of this study is to characterize and analyze the spatial and temporal patterns of surface soil moisture (top 20 cm) in an intensively used agricultural landscape (1100 km2 northern part of the Rur catchment, Western Germany) and to determine the dominant factors and underlying processes controlling these patterns. A second goal is to analyze the scaling behavior of surface soil moisture patterns in order to investigate how spatial scale affects spatial patterns. To achieve these goals, a dynamically coupled, process-based and spatially distributed ecohydrological model was used to analyze the key processes as well as their interactions and feedbacks. The model was validated for two growing seasons for the three main crops in the investigation area: Winter wheat, sugar beet, and maize. This yielded RMSE values for surface soil moisture between 1.8 and 7.8 vol.% and average RMSE values for all three crops of 0.27 kg m-2 for total aboveground biomass and 0.93 for green LAI. Large deviations of measured and modeled soil moisture can be explained by a change of the infiltration properties towards the end of the growing season, especially in maize fields. The validated model was used to generate daily surface soil moisture maps, serving as a basis for an autocorrelation analysis of spatial patterns and scale. Outside of the growing season, surface soil moisture patterns at all spatial scales depend mainly upon soil properties. Within the main growing season, larger scale

  5. The change of nature and the nature of change in agricultural landscapes: Hydrologic regime shifts modulate ecological transitions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foufoula-Georgiou, Efi; Takbiri, Zeinab; Czuba, Jonathan A.; Schwenk, Jon

    2015-08-01

    Hydrology in many agricultural landscapes around the world is changing in unprecedented ways due to the development of extensive surface and subsurface drainage systems that optimize productivity. This plumbing of the landscape alters water pathways, timings, and storage, creating new regimes of hydrologic response and driving a chain of environmental changes in sediment dynamics, nutrient cycling, and river ecology. In this work, we nonparametrically quantify the nature of hydrologic change in the Minnesota River Basin, an intensively managed agricultural landscape, and study how this change might modulate ecological transitions. During the growing season when climate effects are shown to be minimal, daily streamflow hydrographs exhibit sharper rising limbs and stronger dependence on the previous-day precipitation. We also find a changed storage-discharge relationship and show that the artificial landscape connectivity has most drastically affected the rainfall-runoff relationship at intermediate quantiles. Considering the whole year, we show that the combined climate and land use change effects reduce the inherent nonlinearity in the dynamics of daily streamflow, perhaps reflecting a more linearized engineered hydrologic system. Using a simplified dynamic interaction model that couples hydrology to river ecology, we demonstrate how the observed hydrologic change and/or the discharge-driven sediment generation dynamics may have modulated a regime shift in river ecology, namely extirpation of native mussel populations. We posit that such nonparametric analyses and reduced complexity modeling can provide more insight than highly parameterized models and can guide development of vulnerability assessments and integrated watershed management frameworks.

  6. Characterisation and change detection of the agricultural terraced landscape of Costa Viola (Calabria, Italy) in view of its sustainable management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Modica, Giuseppe; Praticò, Salvatore; Lanucara, Simone; Di Fazio, Salvatore

    2015-04-01

    The research presented in this paper aimed at the dynamic characterisation of the historical terraced landscape of 'Costa Viola', a coastal region in South Italy, in view of its sustainable management. Here the agricultural terraces, used for vineyards, over time have occupied very steep sites and today are recognised as worthy of protection because of their high cultural and scenic value. During the last century, because of the loss of economic competitiveness, the agricultural terraces have undergone progressive abandonment, followed by landscape deterioration and increase of hydrogeologic risk. As a consequence it has recently emerged the need to support the permanence of terraced agriculture through a sensitive management of the area, based on a precise and updated knowledge of the landscape system and its ongoing dynamics of change. To this end the main characteristics of the Costa Viola dry-stone terraces and the Land Use/Land Cover (LU/LC) evolution between 1955 and 2012 were analysed. Taking into consideration the very steep slopes of Costa Viola and the need to analyse with high precision the historical evolution of the terraced landscape, they were implemented investigation methods coupling the use of precision tools with in-situ detailed surveys. A parallel diachronic study was also carried out, covering nearly 60 years and aiming to identify the local geomorphological processes and forms (such as landslides) through stereoscopic analysis of high resolution historic aerial photograms (1955 and 1976) compared to full colour digital orthophotos (1988, 2006, 2008, 2012), direct on-field verification, analysis of cadastral data and pluviometric data series. The geomorphological processes were analysed also in relation with the changes occurred over time in the agricultural terraces and in the urban/rural interface evolution. They were implemented a geographic database based on PostGIS and a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) developed in a GFOSS (Geographic

  7. Selection of flooded agricultural fields and other landscapes by female northern pintails wintering in Tulare Basin, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fleskes, Joseph P.; Jarvis, Robert L.; Gilmer, David S.

    2003-01-01

    Habitat selection and use are measures of relative importance of habitats to wildlife and necessary information for effective wildlife conservation. To measure the relative importance of flooded agricultural fields and other landscapes to northern pintails (Anas acuta) wintering in Tulare Basin (TB), California, we radiotagged female pintails during late August-early October, 1991-1993 in TB and other San Joaquin Valley areas and determined use and selection of these TB landscapes through March each year. Availability of landscape and field types in TB changed within and among years. Pintail use and selection (based upon use-to-availability log ratios) of landscape and field types differed among seasons, years, and diel periods. Fields flooded after harvest and before planting (i.e., pre-irrigated) were the most available, used, and selected landscape type before the hunting season (Prehunt). Safflower was the most available, used, and-except in 1993, when pre-irrigated fallow was available-selected pre-irrigated field type during Prehunt. Pre-irrigated barley-wheat received 19-22% of use before hunting season, but selection varied greatly among years and diel periods. During and after hunting season, managed marsh was the most available, used, and, along with floodwater areas, selected landscape type; pre-irrigated cotton and alfalfa were the least selected field types and accounted for <13% of pintail use. Agricultural drainwater evaporation ponds, sewage treatment ponds, and reservoirs accounted for 42-48% of flooded landscape available but were little used and least selected. Exodus of pintails from TB coincided with drying of pre-irrigated fallow, safflower, and barley-wheat fields early in winter, indicating that preferred habitats were lacking in TB during late winter. Agriculture conservation programs could improve TB for pintails by increasing flooding of fallow and harvested safflower and grain fields. Conservation of remaining wetlands should concentrate

  8. Selection of flooded agricultural fields and other landscapes by female northern pintails wintering in Tulare Basin, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fleskes, Joseph P.; Jarvis, Robert L.; Gilmer, David S.

    2003-01-01

    Habitat selection and use are measures of relative importance of habitats to wildlife and necessary information for effective wildlife conservation. To measure the relative impor- tance of flooded agricultural fields and other landscapes to northern pintails (Anas acuta) wintering in Tulare Basin (TB), California, we radiotagged female pintails during late August-early October, 1991-1993 in TB and other San Joaquin Valley areas and deter- mined use and selection of these TB landscapes through March each year. Availability of landscape and field types in TB changed within and among years. Pintail use and selec- tion (based upon use-to-availability log ratios) of landscape and field types differed among seasons, years, and diel periods. Fields flooded after harvest and before planting (i.e., pre-irrigated) were the most available, used, and selected landscape type before the hunting season (Prehunt). Safflower was the most available, used, and-except in 1993, when pre-irrigated fallow was available-selected pre-irrigated field type during Prehunt. Pre-irrigated barley-wheat received 19-22% of use before hunting season, but selection varied greatly among years and diel periods. During and after hunting season, managed marsh was the most available, used, and, along with floodwater areas, selected landscape type; pre-irrigated cotton and alfalfa were the least selected field types and accounted for <13% of pintail use. Agricultural drainwater evaporation ponds, sewage treatment ponds, and reservoirs accounted for 42-48% of flooded landscape available but were lit- tle used and least selected. Exodus of pintails from TB coincided with drying of pre-irri- gated fallow, safflower, and barley-wheat fields early in winter, indicating that preferred habitats were lacking in TB during late winter. Agriculture conservation programs could improve TB for pintails by increasing flooding of fallow and harvested safflower and grain fields. Conservation of remaining wetlands should

  9. Amphibian population genetics in agricultural landscapes: does viniculture drive the population structuring of the European common frog (Rana temporaria)?

    PubMed

    Lenhardt, Patrick P; Brühl, Carsten A; Leeb, Christoph; Theissinger, Kathrin

    2017-01-01

    Amphibian populations have been declining globally over the past decades. The intensification of agriculture, habitat loss, fragmentation of populations and toxic substances in the environment are considered as driving factors for this decline. Today, about 50% of the area of Germany is used for agriculture and is inhabited by a diverse variety of 20 amphibian species. Of these, 19 are exhibiting declining populations. Due to the protection status of native amphibian species, it is important to evaluate the effect of land use and associated stressors (such as road mortality and pesticide toxicity) on the genetic population structure of amphibians in agricultural landscapes. We investigated the effects of viniculture on the genetic differentiation of European common frog (Rana temporaria) populations in Southern Palatinate (Germany). We analyzed microsatellite data of ten loci from ten breeding pond populations located within viniculture landscape and in the adjacent forest block and compared these results with a previously developed landscape permeability model. We tested for significant correlation of genetic population differentiation and landscape elements, including land use as well as roads and their associated traffic intensity, to explain the genetic structure in the study area. Genetic differentiation among forest populations was significantly lower (median pairwise FST = 0.0041 at 5.39 km to 0.0159 at 9.40 km distance) than between viniculture populations (median pairwise FST = 0.0215 at 2.34 km to 0.0987 at 2.39 km distance). Our analyses rejected isolation by distance based on roads and associated traffic intensity as the sole explanation of the genetic differentiation and suggest that the viniculture landscape has to be considered as a limiting barrier for R. temporaria migration, partially confirming the isolation of breeding ponds predicted by the landscape permeability model. Therefore, arable land may act as a sink habitat, inhibiting genetic

  10. Silicate weathering and CO2 consumption within agricultural landscapes, the Ohio-Tennessee River Basin, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fortner, S. K.; Lyons, W. B.; Carey, A. E.; Shipitalo, M. J.; Welch, S. A.; Welch, K. A.

    2011-09-01

    Myriad studies have shown the extent of human alteration to global biogeochemical cycles. Yet, there is only a limited understanding of the influence that humans have over silicate weathering fluxes; fluxes that have regulated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and global climate over geologic timescales. Natural landscapes have been reshaped into agricultural ones to meet food needs for growing world populations. These processes modify soil properties, alter hydrology, affect erosion, and consequently impact water-soil-rock interactions such as chemical weathering. Dissolved silica (DSi), Ca2+, Mg2+, NO3-, and total alkalinity were measured in water samples collected from five small (0.65 to 38.3 ha) gauged watersheds at the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed (NAEW) near Coshocton, Ohio, USA. The sampled watersheds in this unglaciated region include: a forested site (70+ yr stand), mixed agricultural use (corn, forest, pasture), an unimproved pasture, tilled corn, and a recently (<3 yr) converted no-till corn field. The first three watersheds had perennial streams, but the two corn watersheds only produced runoff during storms and snowmelt. For the perennial streams, total discharge was an important control of dissolved silicate transport. Median DSi yields (22.1-30.8 kg ha-1 a-1) were similar to the median of annual averages between 1979-2009 for the much larger Ohio-Tennessee River Basin (25.6 kg ha-1 a-1). Corn watersheds, which only had surface runoff, had substantially lower DSi yields (<5.3 kg ha-1 a-1) than the perennial-flow watersheds. The lack of contributions from Si-enriched groundwater largely explained their much lower DSi yields with respect to sites having baseflow. A significant positive correlation between the molar ratio of (Ca2+ + Mg2)/alkalinity to DSi in the tilled corn and the forested site suggested, however, that silicate minerals weathered as alkalinity was lost via enhanced nitrification resulting from fertilizer additions

  11. Occupancy and abundance of wintering birds in a dynamic agricultural landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, Mark W.; Pearlstine, Elise V.; Dorazio, Robert M.; Mazzotti, Frank J.

    2011-01-01

    Assessing wildlife management action requires monitoring populations, and abundance often is the parameter monitored. Recent methodological advances have enabled estimation of mean abundance within a habitat using presence–absence or count data obtained via repeated visits to a sample of sites. These methods assume populations are closed and intuitively assume habitats within sites change little during a field season. However, many habitats are highly variable over short periods. We developed a variation of existing occupancy and abundance models that allows for extreme spatio-temporal differences in habitat, and resulting changes in wildlife abundance, among sites and among visits to a site within a field season. We conducted our study in sugarcane habitat within the Everglades Agricultural Area southeast of Lake Okeechobee in south Florida. We counted wintering birds, primarily passerines, within 245 sites usually 5 times at each site during December 2006–March 2007. We estimated occupancy and mean abundance of birds in 6 vegetation states during the sugarcane harvest and allowed these parameters to vary temporally or spatially within a vegetation state. Occupancy and mean abundance of the common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) was affected by structure of sugarcane and uncultivated edge vegetation (occupancy=1.00 [95%CĪ=0.96–1.00] and mean abundance=7.9 [95%CĪ=3.2–19.5] in tall sugarcane with tall edge vegetation versus 0.20 [95%CĪ=0.04–0.71] and 0.22 [95%CĪ=0.04–1.2], respectively, in short sugarcane with short edge vegetation in one half of the study area). Occupancy and mean abundance of palm warblers (Dendroica palmarum) were constant (occupancy=1.00, 95%CĪ=0.69–1.00; mean abundance=18, 95%CĪ=1–270). Our model may enable wildlife managers to assess rigorously effects of future edge habitat management on avian distribution and abundance within agricultural landscapes during winter or the breeding season. The model may also help

  12. Occupancy and abundance of wintering birds in a dynamic agricultural landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, M.W.; Pearlstine, E.V.; Dorazio, R.M.; Mazzotti, F.J.

    2011-01-01

    Assessing wildlife management action requires monitoring populations, and abundance often is the parameter monitored. Recent methodological advances have enabled estimation of mean abundance within a habitat using presence-absence or count data obtained via repeated visits to a sample of sites. These methods assume populations are closed and intuitively assume habitats within sites change little during a field season. However, many habitats are highly variable over short periods. We developed a variation of existing occupancy and abundance models that allows for extreme spatio-temporal differences in habitat, and resulting changes in wildlife abundance, among sites and among visits to a site within a field season. We conducted our study in sugarcane habitat within the Everglades Agricultural Area southeast of Lake Okeechobee in south Florida. We counted wintering birds, primarily passerines, within 245 sites usually 5 times at each site during December 2006-March 2007. We estimated occupancy and mean abundance of birds in 6 vegetation states during the sugarcane harvest and allowed these parameters to vary temporally or spatially within a vegetation state. Occupancy and mean abundance of the common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) was affected by structure of sugarcane and uncultivated edge vegetation (occupancy = 1.00 [95%C?? = 0.96-1.00] and mean abundance = 7.9 [95%C?? = 3.2-19.5] in tall sugarcane with tall edge vegetation versus 0.20 [95%C?? = 0.04-0.71] and 0.22 [95%C?? = 0.04-1.2], respectively, in short sugarcane with short edge vegetation in one half of the study area). Occupancy and mean abundance of palm warblers (Dendroica palmarum) were constant (occupancy = 1.00, 95%C?? = 0.69-1.00; mean abundance = 18, 95%C?? = 1-270). Our model may enable wildlife managers to assess rigorously effects of future edge habitat management on avian distribution and abundance within agricultural landscapes during winter or the breeding season. The model may also help

  13. Exposure of native bees foraging in an agricultural landscape to current-use pesticides.

    PubMed

    Hladik, Michelle L; Vandever, Mark; Smalling, Kelly L

    2016-01-15

    The awareness of insects as pollinators and indicators of environmental quality has grown in recent years, partially in response to declines in honey bee (Apis mellifera) populations. While most pesticide research has focused on honey bees, there has been less work on native bee populations. To determine the exposure of native bees to pesticides, bees were collected from an existing research area in northeastern Colorado in both grasslands (2013-2014) and wheat fields (2014). Traps were deployed bi-monthly during the summer at each land cover type and all bees, regardless of species, were composited as whole samples and analyzed for 136 current-use pesticides and degradates. This reconnaissance approach provides a sampling of all species and represents overall pesticide exposure (internal and external). Nineteen pesticides and degradates were detected in 54 composite samples collected. Compounds detected in >2% of the samples included: insecticides thiamethoxam (46%), bifenthrin (28%), clothianidin (24%), chlorpyrifos (17%), imidacloprid (13%), fipronil desulfinyl (7%; degradate); fungicides azoxystrobin (17%), pyraclostrobin (11%), fluxapyroxad (9%), and propiconazole (9%); herbicides atrazine (19%) and metolachlor (9%). Concentrations ranged from 1 to 310 ng/g for individual pesticides. Pesticides were detected in samples collected from both grasslands and wheat fields; the location of the sample and the surrounding land cover at the 1000 m radius influenced the pesticides detected but because of a small number of temporally comparable samples, correlations between pesticide concentration and land cover were not significant. The results show native bees collected in an agricultural landscape are exposed to multiple pesticides, these results can direct future research on routes/timing of pesticide exposure and the design of future conservation efforts for pollinators. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  14. Characterizing Ice Nucleating Particles Emitted from Agricultural Activities and Natural Landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suski, K. J.; Levin, E. J.; DeMott, P. J.; Kreidenweis, S. M.; Hill, T. C. J.

    2015-12-01

    Soil dust and plant fragment emissions from agricultural harvesting and natural ecosystems are two potentially large, yet unquantified and largely uncharacterized, sources of ice nucleating particles (INPs). Both organic and mineral components have been shown to contribute to the ice-nucleating ability of soil dust, but apart from the likely presence of ice nucleation-active bacteria, little is known about the ice nucleating potential of plant tissues. This work aims to identify and differentiate the organic and inorganic contributions of soil and plant INP sources emitted from harvesting activities and natural landscapes. For this purpose, the CSU Continuous Flow Diffusion Chamber (CFDC) and the Ice Spectrometer (IS) were utilized in a combination of ambient measurements and laboratory studies. Small variability and low INP numbers (< 10 L-1 at -30 °C) characterized measurements made in air over the grazed Pawnee National Grassland in Colorado, while more variable INP over croplands around the DOE-ARM SGP site in Oklahoma appear linked to regional wind, humidity, and rainfall conditions. Harvesting of milo (grain sorghum), soybean, and wheat at an experimental research farm in Kansas resulted in spikes of INPs, with wheat harvesting producing the largest INP concentrations (up to 100 L-1 at -30 °C). In-situ use of heating tubes upstream of the CFDC to deactivate organic INP showed that milo and wheat harvest emissions showed a stronger reduction of INPs at warm temperatures than soybean emissions, suggesting a larger contribution of organics to their INP activity. Further characterization of the sources and organic and inorganic contributions to terrestrially emitted INPs by comparison to laboratory studies on collected soil dust and plant samples will also be presented.

  15. Electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) of subsurface hydrological connectivity controlling phosphorous transport in artificially drained agricultural landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Slater, L. D.; Robinson, J.; Buda, A. R.; Shober, A.; Ntarlagiannis, D.; Collick, A.; Clark, K.; Tingle, S.; Bryant, R.; Allen, A.

    2016-12-01

    The phosphorous (P) index is an applied assessment tool that identifies agricultural fields considered critical sources of P due to hydrologic connectivity between P sources and surface water. There is a need to improve the depiction of subsurface hydrological connectivity in P risk assessment tools in flat, artificially drained landscapes. Time-lapse ERI is an established near-surface geophysical technique that is useful for "visualizing" dynamic subsurface hydrological processes in space and time. We are applying time-lapse ERI in conjunction with salt tracers to a site on the Delmarva Peninsula (MD) that is drained by a dense network of open ditches. Our objectives are to examine the relative effects of soil properties, drainage intensity, and management factors on shallow lateral flow generation. As a proof of concept, a sodium chloride solution was spray-irrigated and continuously injected into two shallow wells (0.6 and 0.3 m deep) within a 23 m2 plot located directly adjacent to a small field drainage ditch. Time-lapse ERI in the region of spray-irrigation showed increased conductivity with some evidence of lateral surface migration. The injection well at 0.3 m depth exhibited increased conductivity during the tracer application and appeared to be hydraulically connected to an adjacent well 0.6 m away where no tracer was applied. Following this proof of concept study, we automated an ERI system of 192 electrodes within a 72m2 plot to monitor the application salt tracers from a 25 cm deep trench during natural rainfall events. This system, operational since September 2015, reveals the presence of tracer within and slightly below the trench suggesting only limited hydrological connectivity with drainage ditches during storms. Continual ERI monitoring over a wider range of storm intensities is likely to advance our understanding of shallow subsurface flows contributing to P transport and their potential connectivity with ditch drainage waters.

  16. Do terrestrial animals avoid areas close to turbines in functioning wind farms in agricultural landscapes?

    PubMed

    Łopucki, Rafał; Klich, Daniel; Gielarek, Sylwia

    2017-07-01

    Most studies on the effects of wind energy on animals have focused on avian and bat activity, habitat use, and mortality, whereas very few have been published on terrestrial, non-volant wildlife. In this paper, we studied the utilization of functioning wind farm areas by four terrestrial animals common to agricultural landscapes: European roe deer, European hare, red fox, and the common pheasant. Firstly, we expected that the studied animals do not avoid areas close to turbines and utilize the whole area of functioning wind farms with a frequency similar to the control areas. Secondly, we expected that there is no relation between the turbine proximity and the number of tracks of these animals. The study was conducted over two winter seasons using the snow-tracking method along 100 m linear transects. In total, 583 transects were recorded. Wind farm operations may affect terrestrial animals both in wind farm interiors and in a 700-m buffer zone around the edge of turbines. The reactions of animals were species specific. Herbivorous mammals (roe deer and European hare) avoided wind farm interiors and proximity to turbines. The common pheasant showed a positive reaction to wind turbine proximity. The red fox had the most neutral response to wind turbines. Although this species visited wind farm interiors less often than the control area, there was no relation between fox track density and turbine proximity. Greater weight should be given to the effects of wind farms on non-flying wildlife than at present. Investors and regulatory authorities should always consider the likely impacts of wind farms during environmental impact assessments and try to reduce these negative effects.

  17. Patterns and Drivers of Scattered Tree Loss in Agricultural Landscapes: Orchard Meadows in Germany (1968-2009)

    PubMed Central

    Plieninger, Tobias; Levers, Christian; Mantel, Martin; Costa, Augusta; Schaich, Harald; Kuemmerle, Tobias

    2015-01-01

    Scattered trees support high levels of farmland biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes, but they are threatened by agricultural intensification, urbanization, and land abandonment. This study aimed to map and quantify the decline of orchard meadows (scattered fruit trees of high nature conservation value) for a region in Southwestern Germany for the 1968 2009 period and to identify the driving forces of this decline. We derived orchard meadow loss from 1968 and 2009 aerial images and used a boosted regression trees modelling framework to assess the relative importance of 18 environmental, demographic, and socio-economic variables to test five alternative hypothesis explaining orchard meadow loss. We found that orchard meadow loss occurred in flatter areas, in areas where smaller plot sizes and fragmented orchard meadows prevailed, and in areas near settlements and infrastructure. The analysis did not confirm that orchard meadow loss was higher in areas where agricultural intensification was stronger and in areas of lower implementation levels of conservation policies. Our results demonstrated that the influential drivers of orchard meadow loss were those that reduce economic profitability and increase opportunity costs for orchards, providing incentives for converting orchard meadows to other, more profitable land uses. These insights could be taken up by local- and regional-level conservation policies to identify the sites of persistent orchard meadows in agricultural landscapes that would be prioritized in conservation efforts. PMID:25932914

  18. Patterns and drivers of scattered tree loss in agricultural landscapes: orchard meadows in Germany (1968-2009).

    PubMed

    Plieninger, Tobias; Levers, Christian; Mantel, Martin; Costa, Augusta; Schaich, Harald; Kuemmerle, Tobias

    2015-01-01

    Scattered trees support high levels of farmland biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes, but they are threatened by agricultural intensification, urbanization, and land abandonment. This study aimed to map and quantify the decline of orchard meadows (scattered fruit trees of high nature conservation value) for a region in Southwestern Germany for the 1968 2009 period and to identify the driving forces of this decline. We derived orchard meadow loss from 1968 and 2009 aerial images and used a boosted regression trees modelling framework to assess the relative importance of 18 environmental, demographic, and socio-economic variables to test five alternative hypothesis explaining orchard meadow loss. We found that orchard meadow loss occurred in flatter areas, in areas where smaller plot sizes and fragmented orchard meadows prevailed, and in areas near settlements and infrastructure. The analysis did not confirm that orchard meadow loss was higher in areas where agricultural intensification was stronger and in areas of lower implementation levels of conservation policies. Our results demonstrated that the influential drivers of orchard meadow loss were those that reduce economic profitability and increase opportunity costs for orchards, providing incentives for converting orchard meadows to other, more profitable land uses. These insights could be taken up by local- and regional-level conservation policies to identify the sites of persistent orchard meadows in agricultural landscapes that would be prioritized in conservation efforts.

  19. Patch occupancy, number of individuals and population density of the Marbled White in a changing agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lenda, Magdalena; Skórka, Piotr

    2010-09-01

    Metapopulation theory predicts the occurrence of animals in habitat patches. In this paper, we tested predictions based on this theory, including effects of spatial autocorrelation, to describe factors affecting the presence, local number of individuals and density of the Marbled White butterfly Melanargia galathea in habitat patches spread across the agricultural landscape of southern Poland. This agricultural landscape has undergone significant changes in recent decades due to the country's political transformation and is currently characterized by a large proportion of fallow (abandoned) land. We compared 48 occupied habitat patches with 60 unoccupied ones. Positive spatial autocorrelation was found in the number and density of individuals in habitat patches. The probability of patch occupancy was higher for patches that were larger, had a higher proportion of edges, were located closer to the nearest neighbouring local population and to the nearest piece of fallow, contained a smaller area of cut grass, and also had more nectar resources. The number of Marbled Whites in habitat patches was positively related to the patch area, the distance to the nearest fallow and the abundance of nectar resources, but was negatively related to the density of shrubs. The density of individuals was positively related to abundance of flowers, proportion of edge in a patch and distance to the nearest fallow, but it was negatively related to patch area, vegetation height and grass cover. These results indicate that recent land-use changes in agricultural landscapes have had both positive and negative effects on the presence and local number of individuals and density of the Marbled White. These changes affect the metapopulation of the species through changes in habitat quality and landscape connectivity in the area surrounding habitat patches.

  20. Analysis of Employment Flow of Landscape Architecture Graduates in Agricultural Universities

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Yao, Xia; He, Linchun

    2012-01-01

    A statistical analysis of employment flow of landscape architecture graduates was conducted on the employment data of graduates major in landscape architecture in 2008 to 2011. The employment flow of graduates was to be admitted to graduate students, industrial direction and regional distribution, etc. Then, the features of talent flow and factors…

  1. Pesticide exposure on sloths (Bradypus variegatus and Choloepus hoffmanni) in an agricultural landscape of Northeastern Costa Rica.

    PubMed

    Pinnock Branford, Margaret Verónica; de la Cruz, Elba; Solano, Karla; Ramírez, Oscar

    2014-01-01

    Between 2005 and 2008, wild Bradypus variegatus and Choloepus hoffmanni inhabiting an agricultural landscape and captive animals from a rescue center in Northeastern Costa Rica were studied to assess exposure to pesticides. A total of 54 animals were sampled: 42 wild sloths captured at an agricultural landscape and 12 captive animals from a rescue center. Pesticides' active ingredients were determined in three sample matrices: hair, aqueous mixture (paws' wash) and cotton gauze (mouth clean) based on multi-residue gas chromatography methods. Recoveries tests ranged from 73 to 146% and relative standard deviations were less than 20% throughout all the recovery tests. Active ingredients detected in sloths samples were ametryn, chlorothalonil, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, difenoconazole, ethoprophos and thiabendazole. These active ingredients were used in intensive agricultural production for bananas, pineapples and other crops. Blood plasma cholinesterase activity (PChE) was determined by the Ellman method modified for micro plates. Enzyme activity determination was normalized to protein content in the samples according to Bradford method. Wild sloth PChE activity was similar for both species while sloths in captivity showed differences between species. Enzyme activity was significantly lower for two-toed sloths. This study showed that sloths were exposed to pesticides that caused acute and chronic effect in mammals and can also be a threat to other wildlife species. There is a need to better understand the potential effects of exposure to pesticides in sloths and other wild mammal populations, especially those threatened or endangered. More studies in this field must be carried out on the wildlife fauna inhabiting the agricultural landscape and its surroundings.

  2. Quantify Effects of Integrated Land Management on Water Quality in Agricultural Landscape in South Fork Watershed, Iowa River

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ha, M.; Wu, M. M.

    2014-12-01

    Sustainable biofuel feedstock production — environmental sustainability and economic sustainability — may be achieved by using a multi-faceted approach. This study focuses on quantifying the water sustainability of an integrated landscaping strategy, by which current land use and land management, cropping system, agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs), and economics play equal roles. The strategy was applied to the South Fork watershed, IA, including the tributaries of Tipton and Beaver Creeks, which expand to 800-km2 drainage areas. The watershed is an agricultural dominant area covered with row-crops production. On the basis of profitability, switchgrass was chosen as a replacement for row crops in low-productivity land. Areas for harvesting agricultural residue were selected on the basis of soil conservation principals. Double cropping with a cover crop was established to further reduce soil loss. Vegetation buffer strips were in place at fields and in riparian areas for water quality control, resource conservation, and eco service improvement. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was applied to evaluate source reduction under various management schemes and land use changes. SWAT modeling incorporated 10-yr meteorological information, soil data, land slope classification, land use, four-year crop-rotation cycle, and management operations. Tile drain and pothole parameters were modeled to assess the fate and transport of nutrients. The influence of landscape management and cropping systems on nitrogen and phosphorus loadings, erosion process, and hydrological performance at the sub-watershed scale was analyzed and key factors identified. Results suggest strongly that incorporating agricultural BMPs and conservation strategies into integrated landscape management for certain energy crops in row-crop production regions can be economical and environmentally sustainable.

  3. Integrating Geomorphic and Social Dynamics in the Analysis of Anthropogenic Landforms: Examining Landscape Evolution of Terrain Modified by Agricultural Terracing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glaubius, J.; Maerker, M.

    2016-12-01

    Anthropogenic landforms, such as mines and agricultural terraces, are impacted by both geomorphic and social processes at varying intensities through time. In the case of agricultural terraces, decisions regarding terrace maintenance are intertwined with land use, such as when terraced fields are abandoned. Furthermore, terrace maintenance and land use decisions, either jointly or separately, may be in response to geomorphic processes, as well as geomorphic feedbacks. Previous studies of these complex geomorphic systems considered agricultural terraces as static features or analyzed only the geomorphic response to landowner decisions. Such research is appropriate for short-term or binary landscape scenarios (e.g. the impact of maintained vs. abandoned terraces), but the complexities inherent in these socio-natural systems requires an approach that includes both social and geomorphic processes. This project analyzes feedbacks and emergent properties in terraced systems by implementing a coupled landscape evolution model (LEM) and agent-based model (ABM) using the Landlab and Mesa modeling libraries. In the ABM portion of the model, agricultural terraces are conceptualized using a life-cycle stages schema and implemented using Markov Decision Processes to simulate the changing geomorphic impact of terracing based on human decisions. This paper examines the applicability of this approach by comparing results from a LEM-only model against the coupled LEM-ABM model for a terraced region. Model results are compared by quantify and spatial patterning of sediment transport. This approach fully captures long-term landscape evolution of terraced terrain that is otherwise lost when the life-cycle of terraces is not considered. The coupled LEM-ABM approach balances both environmental and social processes so that the socio-natural feedbacks in such anthropogenic systems can be disentangled.

  4. Forest bees are replaced in agricultural and urban landscapes by native species with different phenologies and life history traits.

    PubMed

    Harrison, Tina; Gibbs, Jason; Winfree, Rachael

    2017-10-04

    Anthropogenic landscapes are associated with biodiversity loss and large shifts in species composition and traits. These changes predict the identities of winners and losers of future global change, and also reveal which environmental variables drive a taxon's response to land use change. We explored how the biodiversity of native bee species changes across forested, agricultural, and urban landscapes. We collected bee community data from 36 sites across a 75,000 km(2) region, and analyzed bee abundance, species richness, composition, and life history traits. Season-long bee abundance and richness were not detectably different between natural and anthropogenic landscapes, but community phenologies differed strongly, with an early spring peak followed by decline in forests, and a more extended summer season in agricultural and urban habitats. Bee community composition differed significantly between all three land use types, as did phylogenetic composition. Anthropogenic land use had negative effects on the persistence of several life history strategies, including early spring flight season and brood parasitism, which may indicate adaptation to conditions in forest habitat. Overall, anthropogenic communities are not diminished subsets of contemporary natural communities. Rather, forest species do not persist in anthropogenic habitats, but are replaced by different native species and phylogenetic lineages pre-adapted to open habitats. Characterizing compositional and functional differences is crucial for understanding land use as a global change driver across large regional scales. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  5. Ecosystem services in the face of invasion: the persistence of native and nonnative spiders in an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Hogg, Brian N; Daane, Kent M

    2011-03-01

    The presence of intact natural ecosystems in agricultural landscapes can mitigate losses in the diversity of natural enemies and enhance ecosystem services. However, native natural enemies may fail to persist in agroecosystems if invaders dominate species interactions. In this study, native and nonnative spiders were sampled along transects that extended from oak woodland and riparian zones into surrounding California vineyards, to assess the role of natural habitat as a source for spider biodiversity in the vineyard landscape, and to compare the dominance of exotic Cheiracanthium spiders between habitats. Many spider species were more abundant in natural habitat than in vineyards, and numbers of spiders and spider species within vineyards were higher at the vineyard edge adjacent to oak woodland. These results suggest that natural habitat is a key source for spiders in vineyards. The positive effect of oak woodland on the vineyard spider community extended only to the vineyard edge, however. Proportions of Cheiracanthium spiders increased dramatically in the vineyard, while numbers of native wandering spiders (the native ecological homologues of Cheiracanthium spiders) decreased. Dispersal limitation and strong habitat preferences may have prevented native wandering spiders from establishing far from the vineyard edge. Exotic Cheiracanthium spiders, in contrast, may possess specific adaptations to vineyards or to a wide range of habitats. Results suggest that the ecosystem services provided by intact natural habitat may be limited in agricultural landscapes that are dominated by invasive species.

  6. Successful de-fragmentation of woodland by planting in an agricultural landscape? An assessment based on landscape indicators.

    PubMed

    Quine, C P; Watts, K

    2009-01-01

    Habitat fragmentation is the focus of much conservation concern and associated research. In some countries, such as Britain, the main phase of fragmentation occurred centuries ago and the focus of conservation management is now on restoration and recovery. Scenario studies have suggested that spatial targeting is preferable if landscape scale restoration is to be achieved, and that this should bring greater benefits than site-focussed activities but this has rarely been tested in practice. In Britain, woodland expansion has been encouraged through a number of financial incentives, which have evolved from instruments that encouraged almost any addition to the potential woodland resource, to grant schemes that have set out to restore connectivity to remnant ancient woodland. This study assessed the degree of de-fragmentation achieved by woodland expansion on the Isle of Wight and in particular the success of spatial targeting of new woodland planting implemented through grant aid in the JIGSAW (Joining and Increasing Grant Scheme for Ancient Woodland) scheme. Five steps in the re-development of broad-leaved woodland were tested using eight indicators - six commonly used landscape metrics, and two ecologically scaled indicators derived from application of least-cost network evaluation. Only half of the measures indicated de-fragmentation over the whole sequence of five steps. However, the spatial targeting did appear successful, when compared to equivalent untargeted grant-aided woodland expansion, and resulted in positive change to six of the eight indicators. We discuss the utility of the indicators and ways in which future targeting could be supported by their application.

  7. Assessing the Ecological Response of Dung Beetles in an Agricultural Landscape Using Number of Individuals and Biomass in Diversity Measures.

    PubMed

    Cultid-Medina, C A; Escobar, F

    2016-04-01

    The global increase in demand for productive land requires us to increase our knowledge of the value of agricultural landscapes for the management and conservation of biodiversity, particularly in tropical regions. Thus, comparative studies of how different community attributes respond to changes in land use under different levels of deforestation intensity would be useful. We analyzed patterns of dung beetle diversity in an Andean region dominated by sun-grown coffee. Diversity was estimated using two measures of species abundance (the number of individuals and biomass) and was compared among four types of vegetation cover (forest, riparian forest, sun-grown coffee, and pastures) in three landscape plots with different degrees of deforestation intensity (low, intermediate, and high). We found that dung beetle diversity patterns differed between types of vegetation cover and degree of deforestation, depending on whether the number of individuals or biomass was used. Based on biomass, inequality in the dung beetle community was lowest in the forest, and increased in the sun-grown coffee and pastures across all levels of deforestation, particularly for the increasing dominance of large species. The number of beetles and biomass indicate that the spatial dominance of sun-grown coffee does not necessarily imply the drastic impoverishment of dung beetle diversity. In fact, for these beetles, it would seem that the landscape studied has not yet crossed "a point of no return." This system offers a starting point for exploring biodiversity management and conservation options in the sun-grown coffee landscapes of the Colombian Andes.

  8. Strong Discrepancies between Local Temperature Mapping and Interpolated Climatic Grids in Tropical Mountainous Agricultural Landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Faye, Emile; Herrera, Mario; Bellomo, Lucio; Silvain, Jean-François; Dangles, Olivier

    2014-01-01

    Bridging the gap between the predictions of coarse-scale climate models and the fine-scale climatic reality of species is a key issue of climate change biology research. While it is now well known that most organisms do not experience the climatic conditions recorded at weather stations, there is little information on the discrepancies between microclimates and global interpolated temperatures used in species distribution models, and their consequences for organisms’ performance. To address this issue, we examined the fine-scale spatiotemporal heterogeneity in air, crop canopy and soil temperatures of agricultural landscapes in the Ecuadorian Andes and compared them to predictions of global interpolated climatic grids. Temperature time-series were measured in air, canopy and soil for 108 localities at three altitudes and analysed using Fourier transform. Discrepancies between local temperatures vs. global interpolated grids and their implications for pest performance were then mapped and analysed using GIS statistical toolbox. Our results showed that global interpolated predictions over-estimate by 77.5±10% and under-estimate by 82.1±12% local minimum and maximum air temperatures recorded in the studied grid. Additional modifications of local air temperatures were due to the thermal buffering of plant canopies (from −2.7°K during daytime to 1.3°K during night-time) and soils (from −4.9°K during daytime to 6.7°K during night-time) with a significant effect of crop phenology on the buffer effect. This discrepancies between interpolated and local temperatures strongly affected predictions of the performance of an ectothermic crop pest as interpolated temperatures predicted pest growth rates 2.3–4.3 times lower than those predicted by local temperatures. This study provides quantitative information on the limitation of coarse-scale climate data to capture the reality of the climatic environment experienced by living organisms. In highly heterogeneous

  9. Strong discrepancies between local temperature mapping and interpolated climatic grids in tropical mountainous agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Faye, Emile; Herrera, Mario; Bellomo, Lucio; Silvain, Jean-François; Dangles, Olivier

    2014-01-01

    Bridging the gap between the predictions of coarse-scale climate models and the fine-scale climatic reality of species is a key issue of climate change biology research. While it is now well known that most organisms do not experience the climatic conditions recorded at weather stations, there is little information on the discrepancies between microclimates and global interpolated temperatures used in species distribution models, and their consequences for organisms' performance. To address this issue, we examined the fine-scale spatiotemporal heterogeneity in air, crop canopy and soil temperatures of agricultural landscapes in the Ecuadorian Andes and compared them to predictions of global interpolated climatic grids. Temperature time-series were measured in air, canopy and soil for 108 localities at three altitudes and analysed using Fourier transform. Discrepancies between local temperatures vs. global interpolated grids and their implications for pest performance were then mapped and analysed using GIS statistical toolbox. Our results showed that global interpolated predictions over-estimate by 77.5 ± 10% and under-estimate by 82.1 ± 12% local minimum and maximum air temperatures recorded in the studied grid. Additional modifications of local air temperatures were due to the thermal buffering of plant canopies (from -2.7 °K during daytime to 1.3 °K during night-time) and soils (from -4.9 °K during daytime to 6.7 °K during night-time) with a significant effect of crop phenology on the buffer effect. This discrepancies between interpolated and local temperatures strongly affected predictions of the performance of an ectothermic crop pest as interpolated temperatures predicted pest growth rates 2.3-4.3 times lower than those predicted by local temperatures. This study provides quantitative information on the limitation of coarse-scale climate data to capture the reality of the climatic environment experienced by living organisms. In highly heterogeneous

  10. Grassland songbird survival and recruitment in agricultural landscapes: implications for source-sink demography.

    PubMed

    Perlut, Noah G; Strong, Allan M; Donovan, Therese M; Buckley, Neil J

    2008-07-01

    Population growth and decline are particularly sensitive to changes in three key life-history parameters: annual productivity, juvenile survival, and adult survival. However, for many species these parameters remain unknown. For example, although grassland songbirds are imperiled throughout North America, for this guild, only a small number of studies have assessed these parameters. From 2002 to 2006, in the agricultural landscape of the Champlain Valley of Vermont and New York, USA, we studied Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) and Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) demography on four grassland treatments: (1) early-hayed fields cut before 11 June and again in early- to mid-July; (2) middle-hayed fields cut once between 21 June and 10 July; (3) late-hayed fields cut after 1 August; and (4) rotationally grazed pastures. We assessed whether these treatments affected adult apparent survival (phi) and recruitment (f), how sensitive these parameters were to the presence of nonbreeders and local dispersal, and the populations' ability to persist in these four habitats. On average, birds using late-hayed fields had > 25% higher apparent survival than those on the more intensively managed early-hayed, middle-hayed, and grazed fields. Overall male phi was 35% higher than female phi, and Savannah Sparrow phi was 44% higher than Bobolink phi. Across all analyses and treatments, apparent survival estimates were 0.58-0.85 for male and 0.48-0.71 for female Savannah Sparrows, and 0.52-0.70 for male and 0.19-0.55 for female Bobolinks. For males of both species, potential nonbreeders decreased the precision of and lowered apparent survival estimates by 25%; female estimates showed little variation with the inclusion of nonbreeders. Inclusion of local dispersal observations increased apparent survival estimates and, in many cases, increased precision, though the effect was stronger for Savannah Sparrows than for Bobolinks, and also stronger for males than for females. High

  11. Native wildflower plantings support wild bee abundance and diversity in agricultural landscapes across the United States.

    PubMed

    Williams, Neal M; Ward, Kimiora L; Pope, Nathaniel; Isaacs, Rufus; Wilson, Julianna; May, Emily A; Ellis, Jamie; Daniels, Jaret; Pence, Akers; Ullmann, Katharina; Peters, Jeff

    2015-12-01

    Global trends in pollinator-dependent crops have raised awareness of the need to support managed and wild bee populations to ensure sustainable crop production. Provision of sufficient forage resources is a key element for promoting bee populations within human impacted landscapes, particularly those in agricultural lands where demand for pollination service is high and land use and management practices have reduced available flowering resources. Recent government incentives in North America and Europe support the planting of wildflowers to benefit pollinators; surprisingly, in North America there has been almost no rigorous testing of the performance of wildflower mixes, or their ability to support wild bee abundance and diversity. We tested different wildflower mixes in a spatially replicated, multiyear study in three regions of North America where production of pollinator-dependent crops is high: Florida, Michigan, and California. In each region, we quantified flowering among wildflower mixes composed of annual and perennial species, and with high and low relative diversity. We measured the abundance and species richness of wild bees, honey bees, and syrphid flies at each mix over two seasons. In each region, some but not all wildflower mixes provided significantly greater floral display area than unmanaged weedy control plots. Mixes also attracted greater abundance and richness of wild bees, although the identity of best mixes varied among regions. By partitioning floral display size from mix identity we show the importance of display size for attracting abundant and diverse wild bees. Season-long monitoring also revealed that designing mixes to provide continuous bloom throughout the growing season is critical to supporting the greatest pollinator species richness. Contrary to expectation, perennials bloomed in their first season, and complementarity in attraction of pollinators among annuals and perennials suggests that inclusion of functionally diverse

  12. A small-scale land-sparing approach to conserving biological diversity in tropical agricultural landscapes

    Treesearch

    Richard B. Chandler; David I. King; Raul Raudales; Richard Trubey; Carlin Chandler; Víctor Julio. Arce Chávez

    2013-01-01

    Two contrasting strategies have been proposed for conserving biological diversity while meeting the increasing demand for agricultural products: land sparing and land sharing production systems. Land sparing involves increasing yield to reduce the amount of land needed for agriculture, whereas land-sharing agricultural practices incorporate elements of native...

  13. High-Resolution Biogeochemical Simulation Identifies Practical Opportunities for Bioenergy Landscape Intensification Across Diverse US Agricultural Regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Field, J.; Adler, P. R.; Evans, S.; Paustian, K.; Marx, E.; Easter, M.

    2015-12-01

    The sustainability of biofuel expansion is strongly dependent on the environmental footprint of feedstock production, including both direct impacts within feedstock-producing areas and potential leakage effects due to disruption of existing food, feed, or fiber production. Assessing and minimizing these impacts requires novel methods compared to traditional supply chain lifecycle assessment. When properly validated and applied at appropriate spatial resolutions, biogeochemical process models are useful for simulating how the productivity and soil greenhouse gas fluxes of cultivating both conventional crops and advanced feedstock crops respond across gradients of land quality and management intensity. In this work we use the DayCent model to assess the biogeochemical impacts of agricultural residue collection, establishment of perennial grasses on marginal cropland or conservation easements, and intensification of existing cropping at high spatial resolution across several real-world case study landscapes in diverse US agricultural regions. We integrate the resulting estimates of productivity, soil carbon changes, and nitrous oxide emissions with crop production budgets and lifecycle inventories, and perform a basic optimization to generate landscape cost/GHG frontiers and determine the most practical opportunities for low-impact feedstock provisioning. The optimization is constrained to assess the minimum combined impacts of residue collection, land use change, and intensification of existing agriculture necessary for the landscape to supply a commercial-scale biorefinery while maintaining exiting food, feed, and fiber production levels. These techniques can be used to assess how different feedstock provisioning strategies perform on both economic and environmental criteria, and sensitivity of performance to environmental and land use factors. The included figure shows an example feedstock cost-GHG mitigation tradeoff frontier for a commercial-scale cellulosic

  14. Soil management shapes ecosystem service provision and trade-offs in agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    De Simone, Serena; Sigura, Maurizia; Boscutti, Francesco; Marini, Lorenzo

    2016-01-01

    Agroecosystems are principally managed to maximize food provisioning even if they receive a large array of supporting and regulating ecosystem services (ESs). Hence, comprehensive studies investigating the effects of local management and landscape composition on the provision of and trade-offs between multiple ESs are urgently needed. We explored the effects of conservation tillage, nitrogen fertilization and landscape composition on six ESs (crop production, disease control, soil fertility, water quality regulation, weed and pest control) in winter cereals. Conservation tillage enhanced soil fertility and pest control, decreased water quality regulation and weed control, without affecting crop production and disease control. Fertilization only influenced crop production by increasing grain yield. Landscape intensification reduced the provision of disease and pest control. We also found tillage and landscape composition to interactively affect water quality regulation and weed control. Under N fertilization, conventional tillage resulted in more trade-offs between ESs than conservation tillage. Our results demonstrate that soil management and landscape composition affect the provision of several ESs and that soil management potentially shapes the trade-offs between them. PMID:27559064

  15. Landscape Analysis of Nutrition-sensitive Agriculture Policy Development in Senegal.

    PubMed

    Lachat, Carl; Nago, Eunice; Ka, Abdoulaye; Vermeylen, Harm; Fanzo, Jessica; Mahy, Lina; Wüstefeld, Marzella; Kolsteren, Patrick

    2015-06-01

    Unlocking the agricultural potential of Africa offers a genuine opportunity to address malnutrition and drive development of the continent. Using Senegal as a case study, to identify gaps and opportunities to strengthen agricultural policies with nutrition-sensitive approaches. We carried out a systematic analysis of 13 policy documents that related to food production, agriculture, food security, or nutrition. Next, we collected data during a participatory analysis with 32 national stakeholders and in-depth interviews with 15 national experts of technical directorates of the different ministries that deal with agriculture and food production. The current agricultural context has various elements that are considered to enhance its nutrition sensitivity. On average, 8.3 of the 17 Food and Agriculture Organization guiding principles for agriculture programming for nutrition were included in the policies reviewed. Ensuring food security and increasing dietary diversity were considered to be the principal objectives of agricultural policies. Although there was considerable agreement that agriculture can contribute to nutrition, current agricultural programs generally do not target communities on the basis of their nutritional vulnerability. Agricultural programs were reported to have specific components to target female beneficiaries but were generally not used as delivery platforms for nutritional interventions. The findings of this study indicate the need for a coherent policy environment across the food system that aligns recommendations at the national level with local action on the ground. In addition, specific activities are needed to develop a shared understanding of nutrition and public health nutrition within the agricultural community in Senegal. © The Author(s) 2015.

  16. A global synthesis of the effects of diversified farming systems on arthropod diversity within fields and across agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Lichtenberg, Elinor M; Kennedy, Christina M; Kremen, Claire; Batáry, Péter; Berendse, Frank; Bommarco, Riccardo; Bosque-Pérez, Nilsa A; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; Snyder, William E; Williams, Neal M; Winfree, Rachael; Klatt, Björn K; Åström, Sandra; Benjamin, Faye; Brittain, Claire; Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca; Clough, Yann; Danforth, Bryan; Diekötter, Tim; Eigenbrode, Sanford D; Ekroos, Johan; Elle, Elizabeth; Freitas, Breno M; Fukuda, Yuki; Gaines-Day, Hannah R; Grab, Heather; Gratton, Claudio; Holzschuh, Andrea; Isaacs, Rufus; Isaia, Marco; Jha, Shalene; Jonason, Dennis; Jones, Vincent P; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Krauss, Jochen; Letourneau, Deborah K; Macfadyen, Sarina; Mallinger, Rachel E; Martin, Emily A; Martinez, Eliana; Memmott, Jane; Morandin, Lora; Neame, Lisa; Otieno, Mark; Park, Mia G; Pfiffner, Lukas; Pocock, Michael J O; Ponce, Carlos; Potts, Simon G; Poveda, Katja; Ramos, Mariangie; Rosenheim, Jay A; Rundlöf, Maj; Sardiñas, Hillary; Saunders, Manu E; Schon, Nicole L; Sciligo, Amber R; Sidhu, C Sheena; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Tscharntke, Teja; Veselý, Milan; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Wilson, Julianna K; Crowder, David W

    2017-11-01

    Agricultural intensification is a leading cause of global biodiversity loss, which can reduce the provisioning of ecosystem services in managed ecosystems. Organic farming and plant diversification are farm management schemes that may mitigate potential ecological harm by increasing species richness and boosting related ecosystem services to agroecosystems. What remains unclear is the extent to which farm management schemes affect biodiversity components other than species richness, and whether impacts differ across spatial scales and landscape contexts. Using a global metadataset, we quantified the effects of organic farming and plant diversification on abundance, local diversity (communities within fields), and regional diversity (communities across fields) of arthropod pollinators, predators, herbivores, and detritivores. Both organic farming and higher in-field plant diversity enhanced arthropod abundance, particularly for rare taxa. This resulted in increased richness but decreased evenness. While these responses were stronger at local relative to regional scales, richness and abundance increased at both scales, and richness on farms embedded in complex relative to simple landscapes. Overall, both organic farming and in-field plant diversification exerted the strongest effects on pollinators and predators, suggesting these management schemes can facilitate ecosystem service providers without augmenting herbivore (pest) populations. Our results suggest that organic farming and plant diversification promote diverse arthropod metacommunities that may provide temporal and spatial stability of ecosystem service provisioning. Conserving diverse plant and arthropod communities in farming systems therefore requires sustainable practices that operate both within fields and across landscapes. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  17. Remote Sensing of Wetland Hydrology: Implications for Water Quality Management in Agricultural Landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Due to the substantial effect of agriculture on the ability of wetlands to function, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) serves a key role in wetland conservation and restoration. In order for the USDA to allocate funds to best manage wetlands, a better understanding of wetland functioning is ...

  18. Can conservation trump impacts of climate change and extremes on soil erosion in agricultural landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Preservation of top soil is critical for the long term sustainability of agricultural productivity, food security, and biodiversity. However, today’s growing population and increasing demand for food and fiber is stressing the agricultural soil and water resources. Climate change imposes additional ...

  19. Control of the spread of inorganic elements by shelterbelt in agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Życzyńska-Bałoniak, Irena; Wojciech Szajdak, Lech

    2010-05-01

    water samples were taken from the wells located (a) in the border between adjoining cultivated fields and shelterbelts, and (b) in the distances 62 m, 104 m and 125 m from the edge of the shelterbelt. The concentrations of calciumand magnesium and also mineral carbon were studied by examining ground water filtered by the filter paper Whatman GT/C. The concentrations of calcium and magnesium were investigated by the method by Hermanowicz. Dry masses were isolated by the freeze-dried and drying to the constant of weight at 105oC. Total organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon and mineral carbon were measured on Total Organic Carbon Analyzer 5050A, ASI 5000A auto sampler, SSM - 5000A solid sample module, (Shimadzu, Japan). Total amount of yearly rainfall was in 2000 - 671 mm, 2001 - 544 mm, 2002 - 495 mm, 2003 - 449 mm, 2004 - 672 mm, 2005 - 551 mm, 2006 - 578 mm. Mean temperatures ranged from 9.2 to 13.3oC. The highest temperature +23.5oC was measured in July 2000, and the lowest -6.4oC observed in January 2006. The precision based on replicate analyses, were ± 4% for Ca+2, ± 3% for Mg+2, ± 4% for dry mass. All the determinations were run in triplicate, and the results were averaged. The differences among the concentrations of calcium, magnesium and mineral carbon were attributed solely of width of the shelterbelt. Shelterbelt revealed the improvement in the quality of ground water. Concerns over the environmental impacts of the elements of agricultural landscapes have focused attention on the study of calcium, magnesium, mineral carbon in ground water. These investigations have shown high contents of chemical compounds migrates ground water from cultivated fields. Ground water under cultivated field revealed high concentrations of calcium, which yearly mean contents are equaled from 81.9 to 179.2 mg/l. It was proved that biogeochemical barrier such as shelterbelt efficiency decrease the quantity of chemical compounds in ground water. The highest decrease of determined

  20. Using fallout Cesium-137 to understand soil redistribution over agricultural landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    While it is recognized that soil erosion is highly variable in space and time, studies of the redistribution of soil within a field or watershed are limited. Our studies focus on the use of fallout Cesium-137 to understand pattern of soil movement on the landscape. It is often assumed that eroding...

  1. Monarchs in decline: a collateral landscape-level effect of modern agriculture.

    PubMed

    Stenoien, Carl; Nail, Kelly R; Zalucki, Jacinta M; Parry, Hazel; Oberhauser, Karen S; Zalucki, Myron P

    2016-09-21

    We review the postulated threatening processes that may have affected the decline in the eastern population of the monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus L. (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), in North America. Although there are likely multiple contributing factors, such as climate and resource-related effects on breeding, migrating, and overwintering populations, the key landscape-level change appears to be associated with the widespread use of genetically modified herbicide resistant crops that have rapidly come to dominate the extensive core summer breeding range. We dismiss misinterpretations of the apparent lack of population change in summer adult count data as logically flawed. Glyphosate-tolerant soybean and maize have enabled the extensive use of this herbicide, generating widespread losses of milkweed (Asclepias spp.), the only host plants for monarch larvae. Modeling studies that simulate lifetime realized fecundity at a landscape scale, direct counts of milkweeds, and extensive citizen science data across the breeding range suggest that a herbicide-induced, landscape-level reduction in milkweed has precipitated the decline in monarchs. A recovery will likely require a monumental effort for the re-establishment of milkweed resources at a commensurate landscape scale. © 2016 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

  2. Spatial analyses of soil properties, terrain, and water dynamics in a semi-arid agricultural landscape

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Quantification of soil-water patterns in space and time is essential for understanding soil hydrological processes and to aid land management decisions. In undulating terrain, dynamics of profile soil water can vary by landscape position in relation to terrain attributes, soil properties, and plant ...

  3. APPLYING THE PATUXENT LANDSCAPE UNIT MODEL TO HUMAN DOMINATED ECOSYSTEMS: THE CASE OF AGRICULTURE. (R827169)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Non-spatial dynamics are core to landscape simulations. Unit models simulate system interactions aggregated within one space unit of resolution used within a spatial model. For unit models to be applicable to spatial simulations they have to be formulated in a general enough w...

  4. Inventorying trees in agricultural landscapes: toward an accounting of working trees

    Treesearch

    Carol H. Perry; Christopher W. Woodall; Michele M. Schoeneberger

    2005-01-01

    Agroforestry plantings and other trees intentionally established in rural and urban areas are emerging as innovative managemnt options for addressing resource issues and achieving landscape-level goals, An understanding of the contributions from these and future plantings would provide critical information to policy and program developers, and a comprehensive inventory...

  5. Inventorying trees in agricultural landscapes: towards an accounting of working trees

    Treesearch

    C. H. Perry; C. W. Woodall; M.M. Schoeneberger

    2005-01-01

    Agroforestry plantings and other trees intentionally established in rural and urban areas are emerging as innovative management options for addressing resource issues and achieving landscape-level goals. An understanding of the contributions from these and future plantings would provide critical information to policy and program developers, and a comprehensive...

  6. APPLYING THE PATUXENT LANDSCAPE UNIT MODEL TO HUMAN DOMINATED ECOSYSTEMS: THE CASE OF AGRICULTURE. (R827169)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Non-spatial dynamics are core to landscape simulations. Unit models simulate system interactions aggregated within one space unit of resolution used within a spatial model. For unit models to be applicable to spatial simulations they have to be formulated in a general enough w...

  7. Even the Smallest Non-Crop Habitat Islands Could Be Beneficial: Distribution of Carabid Beetles and Spiders in Agricultural Landscape

    PubMed Central

    Knapp, Michal; Řezáč, Milan

    2015-01-01

    Carabid beetles and ground-dwelling spiders inhabiting agroecosystems are beneficial organisms with a potential to control pest species. Intensification of agricultural management and reduction of areas covered by non-crop vegetation during recent decades in some areas has led to many potentially serious environmental problems including a decline in the diversity and abundance of beneficial arthropods in agricultural landscapes. This study investigated carabid beetle and spider assemblages in non-crop habitat islands of various sizes (50 to 18,000 square metres) within one large field, as well as the arable land within the field, using pitfall traps in two consecutive sampling periods (spring to early summer and peak summer). The non-crop habitat islands situated inside arable land hosted many unique ground-dwelling arthropod species that were not present within the surrounding arable land. Even the smallest non-crop habitat islands with areas of tens of square metres were inhabited by assemblages substantially different from these inhabiting arable land and thus enhanced the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes. The non-crop habitat area substantially affected the activity density, recorded species richness and recorded species composition of carabid and ground-dwelling spider assemblages; however, the effects were weakened when species specialised to non-crop habitats species were analysed separately. Interestingly, recorded species richness of spiders increased with non-crop habitat area, whereas recorded species richness of carabid beetles exhibited an opposite trend. There was substantial temporal variation in the spatial distribution of ground-dwelling arthropods, and contrasting patterns were observed for particular taxa (carabid beetles and spiders). In general, local environmental conditions (i.e., non-crop habitat island tree cover, shrub cover, grass cover and litter depth) were better determinants of arthropod assemblages than non-crop habitat island

  8. Even the smallest non-crop habitat islands could be beneficial: distribution of carabid beetles and spiders in agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Knapp, Michal; Řezáč, Milan

    2015-01-01

    Carabid beetles and ground-dwelling spiders inhabiting agroecosystems are beneficial organisms with a potential to control pest species. Intensification of agricultural management and reduction of areas covered by non-crop vegetation during recent decades in some areas has led to many potentially serious environmental problems including a decline in the diversity and abundance of beneficial arthropods in agricultural landscapes. This study investigated carabid beetle and spider assemblages in non-crop habitat islands of various sizes (50 to 18,000 square metres) within one large field, as well as the arable land within the field, using pitfall traps in two consecutive sampling periods (spring to early summer and peak summer). The non-crop habitat islands situated inside arable land hosted many unique ground-dwelling arthropod species that were not present within the surrounding arable land. Even the smallest non-crop habitat islands with areas of tens of square metres were inhabited by assemblages substantially different from these inhabiting arable land and thus enhanced the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes. The non-crop habitat area substantially affected the activity density, recorded species richness and recorded species composition of carabid and ground-dwelling spider assemblages; however, the effects were weakened when species specialised to non-crop habitats species were analysed separately. Interestingly, recorded species richness of spiders increased with non-crop habitat area, whereas recorded species richness of carabid beetles exhibited an opposite trend. There was substantial temporal variation in the spatial distribution of ground-dwelling arthropods, and contrasting patterns were observed for particular taxa (carabid beetles and spiders). In general, local environmental conditions (i.e., non-crop habitat island tree cover, shrub cover, grass cover and litter depth) were better determinants of arthropod assemblages than non-crop habitat island

  9. Use of radar remote sensing (RADARSAT) to map winter wetland habitat for shorebirds in an agricultural landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Taft, O.W.; Haig, S.M.; Kiilsgaard, C.

    2003-01-01

    Many of today's agricultural landscapes once held vast amounts of wetland habitat for waterbirds and other wildlife. Successful restoration of these landscapes relies on access to accurate maps of the wetlands that remain. We used C-band (5.6-cm-wavelength), HH-polarized radar remote sensing (RADARSAT) at a 38?? incidence angle (8-m resolution) to map the distribution of winter shorebird (Charadriiformes) habitat on agricultural lands in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon. We acquired imagery on three dates (10 December 1999, 27 January 2000, and 15 March 2000) and simultaneously collected ground reference data to classify radar signatures and evaluate map accuracy of four habitat classes: (1) wet with ??? 50% vegetation (considered optimal shorebird habitat), (2) wet with > 50% vegetation, (3) dry with ??? 50% vegetation, and (4) dry with > 50% vegetation. Overall accuracy varied from 45 to 60% among the three images, but the accuracy of focal class 1 was greater, ranging from 72 to 80%. Class 4 coverage was stable and dominated maps (40% of mapped study area) for all three dates, while class 3 coverage decreased slightly throughout the study period. Among wet classes, class 1 was most abundant (30% coverage) in December and January, decreasing in March by 15%. Conversely, class 2 increased dramatically from January to March, likely due to transition from class 1 as vegetation grew. This approach was successful in detecting optimal habitat for shorebirds on agricultural lands. For modest classification schemes, radar remote sensing is a valuable option for wetland mapping in areas where cloud cover is persistent. ?? 2003 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.

  10. Use of radar remote sensing (RADARSAT) to map winter wetland habitat for shorebirds in an agricultural landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Taft, Oriane W.; Haig, Susan M.

    2004-01-01

    Many of todays agricultural landscapes once held vast amounts of wetland habitat for waterbirds and other wildlife. Successful restoration of these landscapes relies on access to accurate maps of the wetlands that remain. We used C-band (5.6-cm-wavelength), HH-polarized radar remote sensing (RADARSAT) at a 38A? incidence angle (8-m resolution) to map the distribution of winter shorebird (Charadriiformes) habitat on agricultural lands in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon. We acquired imagery on three dates (10 December 1999, 27 January 2000, and 15 March 2000) and simultaneously collected ground reference data to classify radar signatures and evaluate map accuracy of four habitat classes: (1) wet with 50% vegetation (considered optimal shorebird habitat), (2) wet with > 50% vegetation, (3) dry with 50% vegetation, and (4) dry with > 50% vegetation. Overall accuracy varied from 45 to 60% among the three images, but the accuracy of focal class 1 was greater, ranging from 72 to 80%. Class 4 coverage was stable and dominated maps (40% of mapped study area) for all three dates, while coverage of class 3 decreased slightly throughout the study period. Among wet classes, class 1 was most abundant (about 30% coverage) in December and January, decreasing in March to approximately 15%. Conversely, class 2 increased dramatically from January to March, likely due to transition from class 1 as vegetation grew. This approach was successful in detecting optimal habitat for shorebirds on agricultural lands. For modest classification schemes, radar remote sensing is a valuable option for wetland mapping in areas where cloud cover is persistent.

  11. EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF POLICY OPTIONS ON AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPES: AN ALTERNATIVE-FUTURES APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    Alternative-futures analysis was used to analyze different scenarios of future growth patterns and attendant resource allocations on the agricultural system of Oregon's Willamette River Basin. A stakeholder group formulated three policy alternatives: a continuation of current tr...

  12. Application of ground-based LIDAR for gully investigation in agricultural landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Detailed scientific investigation of gullies in agricultural fields requires accurate topographic information with adequate temporal and spatial resolution. New technologies, such as ground-based LIDAR systems, are capable of generating datasets with high temporal and spatial resolutions. The spatia...

  13. Daily Evolution of the Insect Biomass Spectrum in an Agricultural Landscape Accessed with Lidar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brydegaard, Mikkel; Gebru, Alem; Kirkeby, Carsten; Åkesson, Susanne; Smith, Henrik

    2016-06-01

    We present measurements of atmospheric insect fauna intercepted by a static lidar transect over arable and pastoral land over one day. We observe nearly a quarter million of events which are calibrated to optical cross section. Biomass spectra are derived from the size distribution and presented against space and time. We discuss detection limits and instrument biasing, and we relate the insect observations to relevant ecological landscape features and land use. Future directions and improvements of the technique are also outlined.

  14. Integrating objectives and scales for planning and implementing wetland restoration and creation in agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Moreno-Mateos, D; Comin, F A

    2010-11-01

    Traditionally, wetland management strategies have focused on single familiar objectives, such as improving water quality, strengthening biodiversity, and providing flood control. Despite the relevant amount of studies focused on wetland creation or restoration with these and other objectives, still little is known on how to integrate objectives of wetland creation or restoration at different landscape scales. We have reviewed the literature to this aim, and based on the existing current knowledge, we propose a four step approach to take decisions in wetland creation or restoration planning. First, based on local needs and limitations we should elucidate what the wetland is needed for. Second, the scale at which wetland should be created or restored must be defined. Third, conflicts and compatibilities between creation or restoration objectives must then be carefully studied. Fourth, a creation or restoration strategy must be defined. The strategy can be either creating different unipurpose wetlands or multipurpose wetlands, or combinations of them at different landscape scales. In any case, in unipurpose wetland projects we recommend to pursue additional secondary objectives. Following these guidelines, restored and created wetlands would have more ecological functions, similar to natural wetlands, especially if spatial distribution in the landscape is considered. Restored and created wetlands could then provide an array of integrated environmental services adapted to local ecological and social needs. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Using landscape typologies to model socioecological systems: Application to agriculture of the United States Gulf Coast

    SciTech Connect

    Preston, Benjamin L.; King, Anthony Wayne; Mei, Rui; Nair, Sujithkumar Surendran

    2016-02-11

    Agricultural enterprises are vulnerable to the effects of climate variability and change. Improved understanding of the determinants of vulnerability and adaptive capacity in agricultural systems is important for projecting and managing future climate risk. At present, three analytical tools dominate methodological approaches to understanding agroecological vulnerability to climate: process-based crop models, empirical crop models, and integrated assessment models. A common weakness of these approaches is their limited treatment of socio-economic conditions and human agency in modeling agroecological processes and outcomes. This study proposes a framework that uses spatial cluster analysis to generate regional socioecological typologies that capture geographic variance in regional agricultural production and enable attribution of that variance to climatic, topographic, edaphic, and socioeconomic components. This framework was applied to historical corn production (1986-2010) in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico region as a testbed. The results demonstrate that regional socioeconomic heterogeneity is an important driving force in human dominated ecosystems, which we hypothesize, is a function of the link between socioeconomic conditions and the adaptive capacity of agricultural systems. Meaningful representation of future agricultural responses to climate variability and change is contingent upon understanding interactions among biophysical conditions, socioeconomic conditions, and human agency their incorporation in predictive models.

  16. Using landscape typologies to model socioecological systems: Application to agriculture of the United States Gulf Coast

    DOE PAGES

    Preston, Benjamin L.; King, Anthony Wayne; Mei, Rui; ...

    2016-02-11

    Agricultural enterprises are vulnerable to the effects of climate variability and change. Improved understanding of the determinants of vulnerability and adaptive capacity in agricultural systems is important for projecting and managing future climate risk. At present, three analytical tools dominate methodological approaches to understanding agroecological vulnerability to climate: process-based crop models, empirical crop models, and integrated assessment models. A common weakness of these approaches is their limited treatment of socio-economic conditions and human agency in modeling agroecological processes and outcomes. This study proposes a framework that uses spatial cluster analysis to generate regional socioecological typologies that capture geographic variance inmore » regional agricultural production and enable attribution of that variance to climatic, topographic, edaphic, and socioeconomic components. This framework was applied to historical corn production (1986-2010) in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico region as a testbed. The results demonstrate that regional socioeconomic heterogeneity is an important driving force in human dominated ecosystems, which we hypothesize, is a function of the link between socioeconomic conditions and the adaptive capacity of agricultural systems. Meaningful representation of future agricultural responses to climate variability and change is contingent upon understanding interactions among biophysical conditions, socioeconomic conditions, and human agency their incorporation in predictive models.« less

  17. The importance of understanding landscape evolution in studies of terraced agriculture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferro-Vazquez, Cruz; Lang, Carol; Kaal, Joeri; Stump, Daryl

    2017-04-01

    Before the invention of modern, large-scale engineering projects, terrace systems were rarely built in single phases of construction, but instead developed gradually, and could even be said to have evolved. Understanding this process of landscape change is therefore important in order to fully appreciate how terrace systems were built and functioned, and is also pivotal to understand how the communities that farmed these systems responded to changes; whether these are changes to the landscape brought about by the farming practices themselves, or changes to social, economic or climatic conditions. With this aim, we studied the historic and extensive terraced landscape at Konso, southwest Ethiopia, combining archaeological stratigraphy, soil micromorphology and geochemistry. Our results demonstrated that erosion has not only been the trigger for the inception of the Konso terraced system but also the foundation of its productivity: it was engineered for taking advantage of erosion by controlling it, first by harvesting soils that had washed into watercourses within irrigable riverside sediment traps, and then by effectively 'repopulating' the denuded hillsides with new soils through the construction of hillside terraces. From this new perspective, soil erosion has been a necessary enemy which, while managed, has constituted an agronomic resource, the system having initially relied on soil erosion to be productive, and the community having apparently only begun constructing terraces in order to protect the productive alluvial fields that were the legacy of that first phase of erosion. Research that takes into account how terrace systems change through time can thus provide important details of whether the function of the system has changed, and can help assess how the legacies of former practices impact current or future cultivation.

  18. Comparison of the ranging behavior of Scotophilus kuhlii (Lesser Asiatic Yellow Bat) in agricultural and urban landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Atiqah, Nur; Akbar, Zubaid; Syafrinna, Ubaidah, Nur; Foo, Ng Yong

    2015-09-01

    Knowledge on home range sizes and movement patterns of animals through the environment is crucial for determining effects of habitat disturbance and fragmentation. To gauge the effects of land-use changes on Scotophilus kuhlii, a telemetric study was conducted between February 2014 and April 2014 in Tasik Chini, Pahang and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Bangi Campus. The home range sizes and movement patterns of S. kuhlii inhabiting agricultural landscape (Tasik Chini, Pahang) versus urban landscape (UKM) were compared. A total of ten individuals were successfully radio-tracked. Comparison of home range sizes of both sexes showed male S. kuhlii at Tasik Chini have larger mean home range sizes compared to UKM while female S.kuhlii in UKM have larger mean home range sizes compared to Tasik Chini. All individuals from both localities showed random movement. It is suggested that the home range and activity patterns might be influenced by food availability in the study area, food preferences and diet segregation and breeding behavior. This study provides baseline information on habitat utilization by S. kuhlii in relation to habitat perturbations.

  19. Effects of lakes and reservoirs on annual river nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment export in agricultural and forested landscapes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Powers, Stephen M.; Robertson, Dale M.; Stanley, Emily H.

    2014-01-01

    Recently, effects of lakes and reservoirs on river nutrient export have been incorporated into landscape biogeochemical models. Because annual export varies with precipitation, there is a need to examine the biogeochemical role of lakes and reservoirs over time frames that incorporate interannual variability in precipitation. We examined long-term (~20 years) time series of river export (annual mass yield, Y, and flow-weighted mean annual concentration, C) for total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), and total suspended sediment (TSS) from 54 catchments in Wisconsin, USA. Catchments were classified as small agricultural, large agricultural, and forested by use of a cluster analysis, and these varied in lentic coverage (percentage of catchment lake or reservoir water that was connected to river network). Mean annual export and interannual variability (CV) of export (for both Y and C) were higher in agricultural catchments relative to forested catchments for TP, TN, and TSS. In both agricultural and forested settings, mean and maximum annual TN yields were lower in the presence of lakes and reservoirs, suggesting lentic denitrification or N burial. There was also evidence of long-term lentic TP and TSS retention, especially when viewed in terms of maximum annual yield, suggesting sedimentation during high loading years. Lentic catchments had lower interannual variability in export. For TP and TSS, interannual variability in mass yield was often >50% higher than interannual variability in water yield, whereas TN variability more closely followed water (discharge) variability. Our results indicate that long-term mass export through rivers depends on interacting terrestrial, aquatic, and meteorological factors in which the presence of lakes and reservoirs can reduce the magnitude of export, stabilize interannual variability in export, as well as introduce export time lags.

  20. Contrast in edge vegetation structure modifies the predation risk of natural ground nests in an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Nicole A; Low, Matthew; Arlt, Debora; Pärt, Tomas

    2012-01-01

    Nest predation risk generally increases nearer forest-field edges in agricultural landscapes. However, few studies test whether differences in edge contrast (i.e. hard versus soft edges based on vegetation structure and height) affect edge-related predation patterns and if such patterns are related to changes in nest conspicuousness between incubation and nestling feeding. Using data on 923 nesting attempts we analyse factors influencing nest predation risk at different edge types in an agricultural landscape of a ground-cavity breeding bird species, the Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe). As for many other bird species, nest predation is a major determinant of reproductive success in this migratory passerine. Nest predation risk was higher closer to woodland and crop field edges, but only when these were hard edges in terms of ground vegetation structure (clear contrast between tall vs short ground vegetation). No such edge effect was observed at soft edges where adjacent habitats had tall ground vegetation (crop, ungrazed grassland). This edge effect on nest predation risk was evident during the incubation stage but not the nestling feeding stage. Since wheatear nests are depredated by ground-living animals our results demonstrate: (i) that edge effects depend on edge contrast, (ii) that edge-related nest predation patterns vary across the breeding period probably resulting from changes in parental activity at the nest between the incubation and nestling feeding stage. Edge effects should be put in the context of the nest predator community as illustrated by the elevated nest predation risk at hard but not soft habitat edges when an edge is defined in terms of ground vegetation. These results thus can potentially explain previously observed variations in edge-related nest predation risk.

  1. LANDSCAPE INFLUENCES ON NON-POINT SOURCED NUTRIENTS FOR AGRICULTURAL WATERSHEDS IN OHIO

    EPA Science Inventory

    In stream nutrient concentrations for a set of 35 small agricultural subwatersheds in southwestern Ohio have been monitored with respect to both water quality and biological integrity measures over a five year period. The dominant land cover in all of these subwatersheds is row ...

  2. Comparison/Validation of Remote Sensing-Based Surface Energy Balance Models Over the Agricultural Landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Accurate characterization of surface energy fluxes over a range of spatial and temporal scales is critical for many applications in agriculture, hydrology, meteorology, and climatology. Over the past several years, there has been a major effort devoted to the development and refinement of remote sen...

  3. Addressing agricultural phosphorus loss in artificially drained landscapes with 4R nutrient management practices

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Agricultural phosphorus (P) loss has been linked to the eutrophication of surface water bodies throughout the world and minimizing offsite P transport continues to be a priority in many watersheds. In the U.S. Midwest and other tile-drained regions, there is a critical need to identify nutrient mana...

  4. Inundation influences on bioavailability of phosphorus in managed wetland sediments in agricultural landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Agricultural runoff carries high nutrient loads to receiving waters contributing to eutrophication. Managed wetlands can be used in integrated management efforts to intercept nutrients before they enter downstream aquatic systems, but detailed information regarding sorption and desorption of P by we...

  5. Innovative best management practices for improving nutrient reductions in agricultural landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    As the burgeoning human population increases pressures on agriculture for increasing yields, the concomitant strain on the aquatic environment downstream is elevated through non-point source pollution. Traditional management practices of conservation tillage, terracing, and cover crops are good prac...

  6. Evaluation of the precision agricultural landscape modeling system (PALMS) in the semiarid Texas southern high plains

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Accurate models to simulate the soil water balance in semiarid cropping systems are needed to evaluate management practices for soil and water conservation in both irrigated and dryland production systems. The objective of this study was to evaluate the application of the Precision Agricultural Land...

  7. Evaluation of the Precision Agricultural Landscape Modeling System (PALMS) in the Semiarid Texas Southern High Plains

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Accurate models to simulate the soil water balance in semiarid cropping systems are needed to evaluate management practices for soil and water conservation in both irrigated and dryland production systems. The objective of this study was to evaluate the application of the Precision Agricultural Land...

  8. Landscape configuration is the primary driver of impacts on water quality associated with agricultural expansion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca; Hamel, Perrine; Sharp, Richard; Kowal, Virgina; Wolny, Stacie; Sim, Sarah; Mueller, Carina

    2016-07-01

    Corporations and other multinational institutions are increasingly looking to evaluate their innovation and procurement decisions over a range of environmental criteria, including impacts on ecosystem services according to the spatial configuration of activities on the landscape. We have developed a spatially explicit approach and modeled a hypothetical corporate supply chain decision representing contrasting patterns of land-use change in four regions of the globe. This illustrates the effect of introducing spatial considerations in the analysis of ecosystem services, specifically sediment retention. We explored a wide variety of contexts (Iowa, USA; Mato Grosso, Brazil; and Jiangxi and Heilongjiang in China) and these show that per-area representation of impacts based on the physical characterization of a region can be misleading. We found two- to five-fold differences in sediment export for the same amount of habitat conversion within regions characterized by similar physical traits. These differences were mainly determined by the distance between land use changes and streams. The influence of landscape configuration is so dramatic that it can override wide variation in erosion potential driven by physical factors like soil type, slope, and climate. To minimize damage to spatially-dependent ecosystem services like water purification, sustainable sourcing strategies should not assume a direct correlation between impact and area but rather allow for possible nonlinearity in impacts, especially in regions with little remaining habitat and highly variable hydrological connectivity.

  9. Nitrate fate and transport through current and former depressional wetlands in an agricultural landscape, Choptank Watershed, Maryland, United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Denver, J.M.; Ator, S.W.; Lang, M.W.; Fisher, T.R.; Gustafson, A.B.; Fox, R.; Clune, J.W.; McCarty, G.W.

    2014-01-01

    denitrification were limited, particularly where reducing conditions did not extend throughout the entire thickness of the surficial aquifer allowing NO3 to pass conservatively beneath a wetland along deeper groundwater flow paths. The complexity of N fate and transport associated with depressional wetlands complicates the understanding of their importance to water quality in adjacent streams. Although depressional wetlands often contribute low NO3 water to local streams, their effectiveness as landscape sinks, for N from adjacent agriculture varies with natural conditions, such as the thickness of the aquifer and the extent of reducing conditions. Measurement of such natural geologic, hydrologic, and geochemical conditions are therefore fundamental to understanding N mitigation in individual wetlands.

  10. Erosion processes by water in agricultural landscapes: a low-cost methodology for post-event analyses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prosdocimi, Massimo; Calligaro, Simone; Sofia, Giulia; Tarolli, Paolo

    2015-04-01

    Throughout the world, agricultural landscapes assume a great importance, especially for supplying food and a livelihood. Among the land degradation phenomena, erosion processes caused by water are those that may most affect the benefits provided by agricultural lands and endanger people who work and live there. In particular, erosion processes that affect the banks of agricultural channels may cause the bank failure and represent, in this way, a severe threat to floodplain inhabitants and agricultural crops. Similarly, rills and gullies are critical soil erosion processes as well, because they bear upon the productivity of a farm and represent a cost that growers have to deal with. To estimate quantitatively soil losses due to bank erosion and rills processes, area based measurements of surface changes are necessary but, sometimes, they may be difficult to realize. In fact, surface changes due to short-term events have to be represented with fine resolution and their monitoring may entail too much money and time. The main objective of this work is to show the effectiveness of a user-friendly and low-cost technique that may even rely on smart-phones, for the post-event analyses of i) bank erosion affecting agricultural channels, and ii) rill processes occurring on an agricultural plot. Two case studies were selected and located in the Veneto floodplain (northeast Italy) and Marche countryside (central Italy), respectively. The work is based on high-resolution topographic data obtained by the emerging, low-cost photogrammetric method named Structure-from-Motion (SfM). Extensive photosets of the case studies were obtained using both standalone reflex digital cameras and smart-phone built-in cameras. Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) derived from SfM revealed to be effective to estimate quantitatively erosion volumes and, in the case of the bank eroded, deposited materials as well. SfM applied to pictures taken by smartphones is useful for the analysis of the topography

  11. Tightly-coupled plant-soil nitrogen cycling: Implications for multiple ecosystem services on organic farms across an intensively managed agricultural landscape

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Variability among farms across an agricultural landscape may reveal diverse biophysical contexts and experiences that show innovations and insights to improve nitrogen (N) cycling and yields, and thus the potential for multiple ecosystem services. In order to assess potential tradeoffs between yield...

  12. Strengths and weaknesses of temporal stability analysis for monitoring and estimating grid-mean soil moisture in a high-intensity irrigated agricultural landscape

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Monitoring and estimating field-mean soil moisture is very important but is limited to high-intensity irrigated agricultural landscapes due to data availability and method constraints. In this paper, the temporal stability analysis, a valuable tool for designing a soil moisture monitoring network an...

  13. The importance of natural habitats to Brazilian free-tailed bats in intensive agricultural landscapes in the Winter Garden Region of Texas, United States

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    The conversion of natural lands to agriculture affects the distribution of biological diversity across the landscape. In particular, cropland monocultures alter insect abundance and diversity compared to adjacent natural habitats, but nevertheless can provide large numbers of insect pests as prey i...

  14. Agriculture

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    The EPA Agriculture Resource Directory offers comprehensive, easy-to-understand information about environmental stewardship on farms and ranches; commonsense, flexible approaches that are both environmentally protective and agriculturally sound.

  15. Evapotranspiration and surface energy balance across an agricultural-urban landscape gradient in Southern California, USA.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shiflett, S. A.; Anderson, R. G.; Jenerette, D.

    2014-12-01

    Urbanization substantially affects energy, surface and air temperature, and hydrology due to extensive modifications in land surface properties such as vegetation, albedo, thermal capacity and soil moisture. The magnitude and direction of these alterations depends heavily on the type of urbanization that occurs. We investigated energy balance variation in a local network of agricultural and urban ecosystems using the eddy covariance method to better understand how vegetation fraction and degree of urbanization affects energy exchanges between the land surface and the atmosphere. We deployed eddy flux systems within a well-irrigated, agricultural citrus orchard, a moderately developed urban zone with a substantial amount of local vegetative cover, and an intensely developed urban zone with minimal vegetative cover and increased impervious surfaces relative to the other two sites. Latent energy (LE) fluxes in the agricultural area ranged from 7.9 ± 1.4 W m-2 (nighttime) to 168.7 ± 6.2 W m-2 (daytime) compared to 10.2 ± 3.5 W m-2 and 40.6 ± 4.1 W m-2, respectively, for the moderately developed urban area. Sensible energy (H) fluxes ranged from -9.1 ± 1.0 W m-2 (nighttime) to 119 ± 7.0 W m-2 (daytime) in the agricultural area compared to 9.6 ± 2.6 W m-2 and 134 ± 6.0 W m-2, respectively, for the moderately developed urban zone. Daytime LE is reduced with increasing urbanization; however, daily cycles of LE are less recognizable in urban areas compared to distinct daily cycles obtained above a mature citrus crop. In contrast, both daytime and nighttime H increases with increasing degree of urbanization. Reduction in vegetation and increases in impervious surfaces along an urbanization gradient leads to alterations in energy balance, which are associated with microclimate and water use changes.

  16. A small-scale land-sparing approach to conserving biological diversity in tropical agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Chandler, Richard B; King, David I; Raudales, Raul; Trubey, Richard; Chandler, Carlin; Chávez, Víctor Julio Arce

    2013-08-01

    Two contrasting strategies have been proposed for conserving biological diversity while meeting the increasing demand for agricultural products: land sparing and land sharing production systems. Land sparing involves increasing yield to reduce the amount of land needed for agriculture, whereas land-sharing agricultural practices incorporate elements of native ecosystems into the production system itself. Although the conservation value of these systems has been extensively debated, empirical studies are lacking. We compared bird communities in shade coffee, a widely practiced land-sharing system in which shade trees are maintained within the coffee plantation, with bird communities in a novel, small-scale, land-sparing coffee-production system (integrated open canopy or IOC coffee) in which farmers obtain higher yields under little or no shade while conserving an area of forest equal to the area under cultivation. Species richness and diversity of forest-dependent birds were higher in the IOC coffee farms than in the shade coffee farms, and community composition was more similar between IOC coffee and primary forest than between shade coffee and primary forest. Our study represents the first empirical comparison of well-defined land sparing and land sharing production systems. Because IOC coffee farms can be established by allowing forest to regenerate on degraded land, widespread adoption of this system could lead to substantial increases in forest cover and carbon sequestration without compromising agricultural yield or threatening the livelihoods of traditional small farmers. However, we studied small farms (<5 ha); thus, our results may not generalize to large-scale land-sharing systems. Furthermore, rather than concluding that land sparing is generally superior to land sharing, we suggest that the optimal approach depends on the crop, local climate, and existing land-use patterns.

  17. Natural self-reclamation of soils and landscapes affected by agriculture and mining

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alekseenko, Vladimir; Bech, Jaume; Alekseenko, Alexey; Shvydkaya, Natalya; Puzanov, Alexander; Roca, Núria

    2017-04-01

    Processes of possible self-restoration of technogenically disturbed soils are studied in Central and Southern European Russia. Reclamation procedures are mainly not implemented in this vast region, and the natural soil restoration is supposed. Heaps overlaying the former steppe and cropland landscapes are created in the course of rock waste stacking after preparative and cleaning mining works during the underground coal extraction. Approximately 1 500 heaps occupying over 8 000 ha were formed in the area of the Donets Coal Basin. Soils are destroyed under heaps, land subsidence occurs in coal mining areas and acid lakes are usually formed in these ground depressions. Spontaneous combustions happen often and can continue for decades. In order to prevent them, heap surfaces are in some cases levelled and filled with water, forming peculiar ponds. After 70 years of heaps existence and ca. 50 years after their ignition, soil formation is just in the early stages. Heap surface differs a lot in geochemical and mineralogical characteristics from those of surrounding steppe soils that suffered substantial changes at distances up to 1 km. Development of plant communities in areas near coal dumps and heaps is one of the indicators of landscape-geochemical changes. Formation of ruderal phytocenoses with 10-15 % of local flora, as well as invasive and introduced plants occurred under the complex impact of ecological conditions. Communities formed by them are distinguished by the structure simplicity, low species diversity, and plant growth anomalies. Quarries and dumps are formed during underground and open-cast mining of ore deposits. During the last 50 years after abandoning mines in forest areas, the 30 m deep quarries have filled with the creep material less for 0.5 m, and sediments from water streams have added 1-3 cm. Thickness of argillaceous layers does not exceed 1-2 cm at small rock chips of the dumps that measures up to 70 km in length. The dumps are partially

  18. Impact of land consolidation and field borders on soil erosion and storage within agricultural landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chartin, Caroline; Salvador-Blanes, Sébastien; Olivier, Evrard; Van Oost, Kristof; Hinschberger, Florent; Macaire, Jean-Jacques

    2014-05-01

    Soil erosion plays an important role in sediment and carbon storage within, and exports from, catchments. In cultivated landscapes, field borders can improve the temporary storage of eroded soil particles and associated carbon, by impeding lateral soil fluxes. These local soil accumulations can lead to the development of linear landforms (such as headlands and lynchets) which will keep evolving after field border removal. A recent study performed in a representative cultivated hillslope of the SW Parisian Basin showed that 39% of the area corresponds to landforms resulting from soil accumulation induced by former and present field borders. This study demonstrated that field borders influence greatly the landscape morphology, but also the spatial distribution of soil thickness, and locally the A-horizon thickness, which are essential parameters for the prediction of SOC stocks. This study aims at characterizing and quantifying the effect of field borders and their removal on medium term topsoil erosion and deposition rates in a cultivated hillslope of the SW Parisian Basin, consolidated in 1967. Here, we used the Cs-137 technique to assess recent patterns of soil redistribution. We measured the Cs-137 inventories of 68 soil cores sampled along transects covering the area and, more specifically, linear landforms identified along present and past field borders (i.e., lynchet and undulation landforms, respectively). Then, we used a spatially-distributed Cs-137 conversion model that simulates and discriminates soil redistribution induced by water and tillage erosion processes over the last fifty years. Finally, observations and model outputs were confronted. Our results show that tillage erosion dominate the soil redistribution in the study area for the 1954-2009 period and generated about 95% (i.e., 4.50 Mg.ha-1.yr-1) of the total gross erosion. Soil redistribution was largely affected by the presence of current and former field borders, where hotspots areas of

  19. Prevalence of Conservation Design in an Agriculture-Dominated Landscape: The Case of Northern Indiana

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crick, Julie; Prokopy, Linda Stalker

    2009-06-01

    We examined the prevalence of residential development that occurs with consideration of the natural features of the site, known as conservation design, within county-level planning jurisdictions across Northern Indiana. Using data from telephone interviews with representatives of planning departments, jurisdictions were ranked based on reported use of conservation design. Three categories of use emerged from the data: no use, use of individual practices associated with conservation design, and integration of multiple conservation design practices. Qualitative data analysis revealed that conservation design practices were not being used widely and, when used, were often used to fulfill stormwater requirements. Statistical analysis, using data from interviews, spatial data sets, and the U.S. Census Bureau, identified several significant positive predictors of the levels of conservation design use including conversion of forest or agricultural land cover to urban uses and education levels in the jurisdiction. Many of the interviewees noted that agricultural land is perceived to meet open space needs within their counties. Given that agricultural land does not fully meet all ecosystem needs, education about the benefits of other types of open space is suggested.

  20. Classification of crops across heterogeneous agricultural landscape in Kenya using AisaEAGLE imaging spectroscopy data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piiroinen, Rami; Heiskanen, Janne; Mõttus, Matti; Pellikka, Petri

    2015-07-01

    Land use practices are changing at a fast pace in the tropics. In sub-Saharan Africa forests, woodlands and bushlands are being transformed for agricultural use to produce food for the rapidly growing population. The objective of this study was to assess the prospects of mapping the common agricultural crops in highly heterogeneous study area in south-eastern Kenya using high spatial and spectral resolution AisaEAGLE imaging spectroscopy data. Minimum noise fraction transformation was used to pack the coherent information in smaller set of bands and the data was classified with support vector machine (SVM) algorithm. A total of 35 plant species were mapped in the field and seven most dominant ones were used as classification targets. Five of the targets were agricultural crops. The overall accuracy (OA) for the classification was 90.8%. To assess the possibility of excluding the remaining 28 plant species from the classification results, 10 different probability thresholds (PT) were tried with SVM. The impact of PT was assessed with validation polygons of all 35 mapped plant species. The results showed that while PT was increased more pixels were excluded from non-target polygons than from the polygons of the seven classification targets. This increased the OA and reduced salt-and-pepper effects in the classification results. Very high spatial resolution imagery and pixel-based classification approach worked well with small targets such as maize while there was mixing of classes on the sides of the tree crowns.

  1. Prevalence of conservation design in an agriculture-dominated landscape: the case of Northern Indiana.

    PubMed

    Crick, Julie; Prokopy, Linda Stalker

    2009-06-01

    We examined the prevalence of residential development that occurs with consideration of the natural features of the site, known as conservation design, within county-level planning jurisdictions across Northern Indiana. Using data from telephone interviews with representatives of planning departments, jurisdictions were ranked based on reported use of conservation design. Three categories of use emerged from the data: no use, use of individual practices associated with conservation design, and integration of multiple conservation design practices. Qualitative data analysis revealed that conservation design practices were not being used widely and, when used, were often used to fulfill stormwater requirements. Statistical analysis, using data from interviews, spatial data sets, and the U.S. Census Bureau, identified several significant positive predictors of the levels of conservation design use including conversion of forest or agricultural land cover to urban uses and education levels in the jurisdiction. Many of the interviewees noted that agricultural land is perceived to meet open space needs within their counties. Given that agricultural land does not fully meet all ecosystem needs, education about the benefits of other types of open space is suggested.

  2. Importance of agricultural landscapes to nesting burrowing owls in the Northern Great Plains, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Restani, M.; Davies, J.M.; Newton, W.E.

    2008-01-01

    Anthropogenic habitat loss and fragmentation are the principle factors causing declines of grassland birds. Declines in burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) populations have been extensive and have been linked to habitat loss, primarily the decline of black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies. Development of habitat use models is a research priority and will aid conservation of owls inhabiting human-altered landscapes. From 2001 to 2004 we located 160 burrowing owl nests on prairie dog colonies on the Little Missouri National Grassland in North Dakota. We used multiple linear regression and Akaike's Information Criterion to estimate the relationship between cover type characteristics surrounding prairie dog colonies and (1) number of owl pairs per colony and (2) reproductive success. Models were developed for two spatial scales, within 600 m and 2,000 m radii of nests for cropland, crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum), grassland, and prairie dog colonies. We also included number of patches as a metric of landscape fragmentation. Annually, fewer than 30% of prairie dog colonies were occupied by owls. None of the models at the 600 m scale explained variation in number of owl pairs or reproductive success. However, models at the 2,000 m scale did explain number of owl pairs and reproductive success. Models included cropland, crested wheatgrass, and prairie dog colonies. Grasslands were not included in any of the models and had low importance values, although percentage grassland surrounding colonies was high. Management that protects prairie dog colonies bordering cropland and crested wheatgrass should be implemented to maintain nesting habitat of burrowing owls. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  3. Pre-Columbian agricultural landscapes, ecosystem engineers, and self-organized patchiness in Amazonia

    PubMed Central

    McKey, Doyle; Rostain, Stéphen; Iriarte, José; Glaser, Bruno; Birk, Jago Jonathan; Holst, Irene; Renard, Delphine

    2010-01-01

    The scale and nature of pre-Columbian human impacts in Amazonia are currently hotly debated. Whereas pre-Columbian people dramatically changed the distribution and abundance of species and habitats in some parts of Amazonia, their impact in other parts is less clear. Pioneer research asked whether their effects reached even further, changing how ecosystems function, but few in-depth studies have examined mechanisms underpinning the resilience of these modifications. Combining archeology, archeobotany, paleoecology, soil science, ecology, and aerial imagery, we show that pre-Columbian farmers of the Guianas coast constructed large raised-field complexes, growing on them crops including maize, manioc, and squash. Farmers created physical and biogeochemical heterogeneity in flat, marshy environments by constructing raised fields. When these fields were later abandoned, the mosaic of well-drained islands in the flooded matrix set in motion self-organizing processes driven by ecosystem engineers (ants, termites, earthworms, and woody plants) that occur preferentially on abandoned raised fields. Today, feedbacks generated by these ecosystem engineers maintain the human-initiated concentration of resources in these structures. Engineer organisms transport materials to abandoned raised fields and modify the structure and composition of their soils, reducing erodibility. The profound alteration of ecosystem functioning in these landscapes coconstructed by humans and nature has important implications for understanding Amazonian history and biodiversity. Furthermore, these landscapes show how sustainability of food-production systems can be enhanced by engineering into them fallows that maintain ecosystem services and biodiversity. Like anthropogenic dark earths in forested Amazonia, these self-organizing ecosystems illustrate the ecological complexity of the legacy of pre-Columbian land use. PMID:20385814

  4. Pre-Columbian agricultural landscapes, ecosystem engineers, and self-organized patchiness in Amazonia.

    PubMed

    McKey, Doyle; Rostain, Stéphen; Iriarte, José; Glaser, Bruno; Birk, Jago Jonathan; Holst, Irene; Renard, Delphine

    2010-04-27

    The scale and nature of pre-Columbian human impacts in Amazonia are currently hotly debated. Whereas pre-Columbian people dramatically changed the distribution and abundance of species and habitats in some parts of Amazonia, their impact in other parts is less clear. Pioneer research asked whether their effects reached even further, changing how ecosystems function, but few in-depth studies have examined mechanisms underpinning the resilience of these modifications. Combining archeology, archeobotany, paleoecology, soil science, ecology, and aerial imagery, we show that pre-Columbian farmers of the Guianas coast constructed large raised-field complexes, growing on them crops including maize, manioc, and squash. Farmers created physical and biogeochemical heterogeneity in flat, marshy environments by constructing raised fields. When these fields were later abandoned, the mosaic of well-drained islands in the flooded matrix set in motion self-organizing processes driven by ecosystem engineers (ants, termites, earthworms, and woody plants) that occur preferentially on abandoned raised fields. Today, feedbacks generated by these ecosystem engineers maintain the human-initiated concentration of resources in these structures. Engineer organisms transport materials to abandoned raised fields and modify the structure and composition of their soils, reducing erodibility. The profound alteration of ecosystem functioning in these landscapes coconstructed by humans and nature has important implications for understanding Amazonian history and biodiversity. Furthermore, these landscapes show how sustainability of food-production systems can be enhanced by engineering into them follows that maintain ecosystem services and biodiversity. Like anthropogenic dark earths in forested Amazonia, these self-organizing ecosystems illustrate the ecological complexity of the legacy of pre-Columbian land use.

  5. Impact of the Spatial Arrangement of Agricultural Land Use on Ecosystems Services and Peri-Urban Livelihoods at the Landscape Scale.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Inkoom, J. N.; Fürst, C.

    2014-12-01

    The relationship between agricultural land uses (ALU) and their impact on ecosystems services (ES) including biodiversity conservation is complex. This complexity has been augmented by isolated research on the impact of ALU on the landscape's capacity to provide ES in most climatically vulnerable areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. Though a considerable number of studies emphasise the nexus between specific land use types and their impact on ES, a sufficient modelling basis for an empirical consideration of spatial interactions between different agricultural land uses at the landscape scale within peri-urban areas in Sub-Saharan Africa is consistently missing. The need to assess and address significant issues regarding size, shape, spatial location, and interactivity of different land use patches in assessing land use interactions and their impact on ecosystem service provision necessitated this investigation. To formulate a methodology to correspond to this complexity, ES obtained from a characteristically agricultural and urbanizing landscapes were mapped using analytical hierarchical processes and management expert approaches. Further, landscape metrics and mean enrichment factor approaches are explored as neighbourhood assessment tools aimed at assessing the mutual impact gradient of agricultural and adjacent urban land uses on ES provision. Implementation is undertaken in GISCAME using a 2012 rapideye image classification and primary data collected on selected ES from local farmers within the VEA catchment of Upper East, Ghana. The outcome aims to provide the understanding of expected trade-offs and synergies varying ALU could pose to current and potential ES provision within urbanizing landscapes. Policy implications for observed trade-offs and synergies of ALU interaction on ES, rural livelihoods, and food security are communicated to farmers and decision makers. Keywords: Agricultural land use, neighbourhood interaction, ecosystems services, livelihoods, GISCAME.

  6. Geomorphic response to agricultural land use in small fluvial systems - The role of landscape connectivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poeppl, R.; Keiler, M.; Glade, T.; Engage-Geomorphological Systems; Risk Research

    2010-12-01

    Nearly all river catchments are affected directly or indirectly by human actions, e.g. varying agricultural land use or interventions into to river course and flow lead to significant geomorphic changes. The rates of fluvial change are accelerating in many river catchments and public and institutional awareness of these changes and their consequences has grown. This trend leads to an increasing need for a deeper understanding of how the system elements are interrelated (connected) and how fluvial systems respond to human activities. Most of the studies relating to such topics focus on extrinsic (e.g. climatic) factors, although vegetation cover is one of the primary intrinsic factors on sediment yield to a river and even the most susceptible factor for human alterations. Furthermore, nearly all of the published studies are dealing with large rivers, disregarding the much more abundant smaller ones, which in sum do also influence larger rivers. The presented study contributes to gain a deeper understanding of how river systems geomorphologically respond to human activities. The focus in this study is on the importance of hillslope-channel connectivity relationships, as well as on connectivity relationships between the channel reaches in catchments with agricultural land use. Therefore, aerial photograph and airborne laserscan-interpretations were used to create detailed land use and river maps in order to gather current land use and river planform geometry conditions. The land use data was integrated to a GIS-related spatial soil erosion model so as to determine sources of fine sediment from eroding top soil in agricultural areas. Furthermore, a DEM-based multiple-flow model was applied to examine hillslope-channel connectivity relationships. River bed sediment composition, sediment embeddedness and in-channel accumulation of fine sediments were surveyed as potential indicators for geomorphic system response to agricultural land-use, as well as to determine

  7. Sampling network stratification by terrain classification in eroded agricultural landscapes at plot scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Penížek, Vít; Zádorová, Tereza; Kodešová, Radka

    2015-04-01

    The description of soil properties variability is important aspect in land management and food production at plot scale. We describe novelty approach for design of sampling network on agricultural plots with high relief variability. The terrain properties were used for improved spatial prediction of soil properties including design of the sampling network. Regular sampling network, random sampling network, systematic unaligned sampling network and stratified sampling network schemes were compared to prove the advantages of relief based stratified sampling networks. The study was performed for humus horizon depth prediction on agriculture plot of 6.5 ha with dissected relief where originally homogenous soil cover was differentiated by erosion and sedimentation into mosaic of Chernozem, Regosol and colluvial soils. Moreover the comparison was done on three levels of sampling density (65, 40 and 24 sampling points). The stratification of sampling network was based on unsupervised relief classification. The performance of the soil properties prediction based on different sampling network was assesed by RMSE calculation based on predicted values versus validation dataset. According the RMSE, the stratified sampling network performed the best (7.4 cm) comparing the regular sampling network (10.8 cm), random sampling network (17.7 cm) and systematic unaligned sampling network (11.2 cm). The accuracy of the soil properties spatial prediction decreased with the decreasing number of sampling points, but the stratified network performed significantly better that other used methods. The study showed that, for soil properties spatial variability description at certain accuracy level, relief-based stratified network can contain 25 % less sampling points comparing to regular network. This leads to potential financial and person cost reduction for the soil survey. The study was supported by grant nr. 13-07516P of the Czech science foundation and by grant nr. QJ1230319 of the

  8. Woodchip bioreactors for N-source reduction in a highly managed agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kult, K.; Jones, C. S.

    2011-12-01

    Excess nutrification and the resulting hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico are increasingly understood to originate in managed landscapes of the Upper Mississippi River basin. Nitrogen inputs to cropped fields are high in landscapes with soils containing high organic nitrogen content that, when mineralized, releases nitrogen in the soluble nitrate form. These in situ sources supply extensive subsurface drainage systems that rapidly transport nitrogen to streams and ultimately the Gulf. Aggressive in-field N management can reduce loading to streams, but will not reduce loads to sufficiently impact Gulf hypoxia. Edge of Field (EOF) treatment will be needed to reach water quality objectives. Denitrification bioreactors are one technology being studied for practical and economical EOF nitrate reduction. Bioreactors intercept the high-N tile-drain effluent with woodchip substrates that provide carbon and energy to support denitrification. Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) installed six bioreactors. Design of the ISA bioreactors has focused on the diameter of the field tile and the catchment area. Designs balance discharge with retention times. The bioreactors have been designed to have a 4-hour hydraulic retention time (HRT) capable of treating 20% of peak flow. Denitrification is assumed to follow zero-order kinetics given the high NO3 concentrations in the studied systems. Aerobic organisms must deplete DO sufficiently so anaerobic denitrifying organisms can compete. Insufficient HRT results in unsatisfactory NO3 reductions. Conditions favoring incomplete denitrification can lead to emission of the greenhouse gas N2O. Excessive retention times allow for complete denitrification enabling SO4-reducing bacteria to thrive. This produces undesirable results: conversion of SO4 to H2S, C-source depletion, production of toxic CH3Hg+, and methanogenesis. A flow control structure (FCS) allows for management of HRT by modifying the position of stop logs. Increased HRT reduces the amount

  9. Data on four criteria for targeting the placement of conservation buffers in agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Qiu, Zeyuan; Dosskey, Michael G.; Kang, Yang

    2016-01-01

    Four criteria are generally used to prioritize agricultural lands for placing conservation buffers. The criteria include soil erodibility, hydrological sensitivity, wildlife habitat, and impervious surface rate that capture conservation buffers’ benefits in reducing soil erosion, controlling runoff generation, enhancing wildlife habitat, and mitigating stormwater impacts, respectively. This article describes the data used to derive the values of those attributes and a scheme to classify the values in multi-criteria analysis of conservation buffer placement in “Choosing between alternative placement strategies for conservation buffers using borda count” [1]. PMID:27222843

  10. Grassland agriculture

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Agriculture in grassland environments is facing multiple stresses from: shifting demographics, declining and fragmented agricultural landscapes, declining environmental quality, variable and changing climate, volatile and increasing energy costs, marginal economic returns, and globalization. Degrad...

  11. A change in landscape: Lessons learned from abandonment of ancient Wari agricultural terraces in Southern Peru.

    PubMed

    Londoño, Ana C; Williams, Patrick Ryan; Hart, Megan L

    2017-01-13

    Ancient agricultural terrace practices have survived for millennia, sustaining populations through extreme climatic shifts and political regime changes. In arid regions with abrupt relief such as Southern Peru, agricultural terracing is undergoing a resurgence, as has seen revitalization of once abandoned terrace and hydraulic systems. Wari terraces at Cerro Baul provide clues to past cultural practices. They also document sustainable farming practices by using resilient land management techniques which can help combat desertification and degradation of arable lands. Three abandoned Wari terrace systems were mapped using microtopographic methods, the erosion patterns examined, the states of preservation compared, and then the design contrasted with modern terracing practices in the Moquegua Valley. In order to negate the harmful effects of desertification, rehabilitation and reconstruction of these terraces using ancient knowledge and techniques may be necessary. Rehabilitation must be conducted with consideration for preservation of cultural patrimony that may be encountered within the terrace treads or riser structures. With future climatic shifts impacting vulnerable dryland areas more than others, the ability to resiliently respond to these changes may be found in the lessons learned from ancient farming techniques such as the Wari.

  12. Agriculture at the Edge: Landscape Variability of Soil C Stocks and Fluxes in the Tropical Andes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Riveros-Iregui, D. A.; Peña, C.

    2015-12-01

    Paramos, or tropical alpine grasslands occurring right above the forest tree-line (2,800 - 4,700 m), are among the most transformed landscapes in the humid tropics. In the Tropical Andes, Paramos form an archipelago-like pattern from Northern Colombia to Central Peru that effectively captures atmospheric moisture originated in the Amazon-Orinoco basins, while marking the highest altitude capable of sustaining vegetation growth (i.e., 'the edge'). This study investigates the role of land management on mediating soil carbon stocks and fluxes in Paramo ecosystems of the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia. Observations were collected at a Paramo site strongly modified by land use change, including active potato plantations, pasture, tillage, and land abandonment. Results show that undisturbed Paramos soils have high total organic carbon (TOC), high soil water content (SWC), and low soil CO2 efflux (RS) rates. However, Paramo soils that experience human intervention show lower TOC, higher and more variable RS rates, and lower SWC. This study demonstrates that changes in land use in Paramos affect differentially the accumulation and exchange of soil carbon with the atmosphere and offers implications for management and protection strategies of what has been deemed the fastest evolving biodiversity ecosystem in the world.

  13. Farm nitrogen balances in six European agricultural landscapes - a method for farming system assessment, emission hotspot identification, and mitigation measure evaluation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dalgaard, T.; Bienkowski, J. F.; Bleeker, A.; Drouet, J. L.; Durand, P.; Dragosits, U.; Frumau, A.; Hutchings, N. J.; Kedziora, A.; Magliulo, V.; Olesen, J. E.; Theobald, M. R.; Maury, O.; Akkal, N.; Cellier, P.

    2012-07-01

    Six agricultural landscapes in Poland (PL), the Netherlands (NL), France (FR), Italy (IT), Scotland (UK) and Denmark (DK) were studied, and a common method was developed for undertaking farm inventories and the derivation of farm nitrogen (N) balances and N surplus from the in total 222 farms and 11 440 ha of farmland. In all landscapes, a large variation in the farm N surplus was found, and thereby a large potential for reductions. The highest average N surpluses were found in the most livestock-intensive landscapes of IT, FR, and NL; on average 202 ± 28, 179 ± 63 and 178 ± 20 kg N ha-1yr-1, respectively. However, all landscapes showed hotspots, especially from livestock farms, including a special UK case with landless large-scale poultry farming. So, whereas the average N surplus from the land-based UK farms dominated by extensive sheep grazing was only 31 ± 10 kg N ha-1yr-1, the landscape average was similar to those of PL and DK (122 ± 20 and 146 ± 55 kg N ha-1yr-1, respectively) when landless poultry were included. However, the challenge remains how to account for indirect N surpluses and emissions from such farms with a large export of manure out of the landscape. We conclude that farm N balances are a useful indicator for N losses and the potential for improving N management. Significant correlations to N surplus were found, both with ammonia air concentrations and nitrate levels in soils and groundwater, measured during the landscape data collection campaign from 2007-2009. This indicates that farm N surpluses may be used as an independent dataset for validation of measured and modelled N emissions in agricultural landscapes. However, no significant correlation was found to N measured in surface waters, probably because of the short time horizon of the study. A case study of the development in N surplus from the landscape in DK from 1998-2008 showed a 22 % reduction, related to statistically significant effects (p < 0.01) of measures targeted at

  14. Quantifying the main sediment sources in agricultural landscapes of Southern Brazil cultivated with conventional and conservation practices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evrard, Olivier; Le Gall, Marion; Tiecher, Tales; Gomes Minella, Jean Paolo; Laceby, J. Patrick; Ayrault, Sophie

    2017-04-01

    Agricultural expansion that occurred in the 1960s in Southern Brazil significantly increased soil erosion and sediment supply to the river networks. To limit the deleterious impacts of soil erosion, conservation practices were progressively implemented in the 1990s, including the direct sowing of crops on a soil densely covered with plant residues, contour farming, the installation of ponds to trap sediment in the landscape and the use of crop rotations. However, there remains a lack of observational data to investigate the impact of these conservation practices on soil erosion and sediment supply. This data is crucial to protect soil resources and maintain the sustainability of food production systems in this region of the world characterized by a rapidly increasing population. Accordingly, sediment sources were investigated in the Guaporé catchment (2,032 km2) representative of the cultivated environments found in this part of the world. In the upper catchment, the landscape is characterized by gentle slopes and deep soils (Ferralsols, Nitisols) corresponding to the edge of the basaltic plateau. Soybean, corn and wheat under direct sowing are the main crops in this area. In contrast, steep and shallow soils (Luvisols, Acrisols, Leptosols) highly connected to the rivers are found in the lower catchment, where tobacco and corn fields are cultivated with conventional ploughing. These soil types were characterized by elemental geochemistry and 87Sr/86Sr ratios. Sediment sources were then modelled using the optimal suite of properties (87Sr/86Sr ratios, K, Ti, Co, As, Ba, and Pb). The results demonstrate that sediment collected at the catchment outlet during two hydrological years (2012-2014) mainly originated from downstream soils (Luvisols, Acrisols, Leptosols; 92±3%), with this proportion remaining stable throughout the monitoring period. This research indicates that conservation practices implemented in the upper catchment are effective and that similar methods

  15. Socioeconomic Dimensions of Changes in the Agricultural Landscape of the Mediterranean Basin: A Case Study of the Abandonment of Cultivation Terraces on Nisyros Island, Greece

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petanidou, Theodora; Kizos, Thanasis; Soulakellis, Nikolaos

    2008-02-01

    Agricultural landscapes illustrate the impact of human actions on physical settings, and differential human pressures cause these landscapes to change with time. Our study explored changes in the terraced landscapes of Nisyros Island, Greece, focusing on the socioeconomic aspects during two time periods using field data, cadastral research, local documents, and published literature, as well as surveys of the islanders. Population increases during the late 19th to early 20th centuries marked a significant escalation of terrace and dry stone wall construction, which facilitated cultivation on 58.4% of the island. By the mid-20th century, the economic collapse of agricultural activities and consequent emigration caused the abandonment of cultivated land and traditional management practices, dramatically reducing farm and field numbers. Terrace abandonment continued in recent decades, with increased livestock grazing becoming the main land management tool; as a result, both farm and pasture sizes increased. Neglect and changing land use has led to deterioration and destruction of many terraces on the island. We discuss the socioeconomic and political backgrounds responsible for the land-use change before World War II (annexation of Nisyros Island by the Ottoman Empire, Italy, and Greece; overseas migration opportunities; and world transportation changes) and after the war (social changes in peasant societies; worldwide changes in agricultural production practices). The adverse landscape changes documented for Nisyros Island appear to be inevitable for modern Mediterranean rural societies, including those on other islands in this region. The island’s unique terraced landscapes may qualify Nisyros to become an archive or repository of old agricultural management techniques to be used by future generations and a living resource for sustainable management.

  16. Socioeconomic dimensions of changes in the agricultural landscape of the Mediterranean basin: a case study of the abandonment of cultivation terraces on Nisyros Island, Greece.

    PubMed

    Petanidou, Theodora; Kizos, Thanasis; Soulakellis, Nikolaos

    2008-02-01

    Agricultural landscapes illustrate the impact of human actions on physical settings, and differential human pressures cause these landscapes to change with time. Our study explored changes in the terraced landscapes of Nisyros Island, Greece, focusing on the socioeconomic aspects during two time periods using field data, cadastral research, local documents, and published literature, as well as surveys of the islanders. Population increases during the late 19th to early 20th centuries marked a significant escalation of terrace and dry stone wall construction, which facilitated cultivation on 58.4% of the island. By the mid-20th century, the economic collapse of agricultural activities and consequent emigration caused the abandonment of cultivated land and traditional management practices, dramatically reducing farm and field numbers. Terrace abandonment continued in recent decades, with increased livestock grazing becoming the main land management tool; as a result, both farm and pasture sizes increased. Neglect and changing land use has led to deterioration and destruction of many terraces on the island. We discuss the socioeconomic and political backgrounds responsible for the land-use change before World War II (annexation of Nisyros Island by the Ottoman Empire, Italy, and Greece; overseas migration opportunities; and world transportation changes) and after the war (social changes in peasant societies; worldwide changes in agricultural production practices). The adverse landscape changes documented for Nisyros Island appear to be inevitable for modern Mediterranean rural societies, including those on other islands in this region. The island's unique terraced landscapes may qualify Nisyros to become an archive or repository of old agricultural management techniques to be used by future generations and a living resource for sustainable management.

  17. Agricultural peatlands: towards a greenhouse gas sink - a synthesis of a Dutch landscape study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schrier-Uijl, A. P.; Kroon, P. S.; Hendriks, D. M. D.; Hensen, A.; Van Huissteden, J.; Berendse, F.; Veenendaal, E. M.

    2014-08-01

    It is generally known that managed, drained peatlands act as carbon (C) sources. In this study we examined how mitigation through the reduction of the intensity of land management and through rewetting may affect the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and the C balance of intensively managed, drained, agricultural peatlands. Carbon and GHG balances were determined for three peatlands in the western part of the Netherlands from 2005 to 2008 by considering spatial and temporal variability of emissions (CO2, CH4 and N2O). One area (Oukoop) is an intensively managed grass-on-peatland area, including a dairy farm, with the ground water level at an average annual depth of 0.55 (±0.37) m below the soil surface. The second area (Stein) is an extensively managed grass-on-peatland area, formerly intensively managed, with a dynamic ground water level at an average annual depth of 0.45 (±0.35) m below the soil surface. The third area is a (since 1998) rewetted former agricultural peatland (Horstermeer), close to Oukoop and Stein, with the average annual ground water level at a depth of 0.2 (±0.20) m below the soil surface. During the measurement campaigns we found that both agriculturally managed sites acted as C and GHG sources and the rewetted former agricultural peatland acted as a C and GHG sink. The ecosystem (fields and ditches) total GHG balance, including CO2, CH4 and N2O, amounted to 3.9 (±0.4), 1.3 (±0.5) and -1.7 (±1.8) g CO2-eq m-2 d-1 for Oukoop, Stein and Horstermeer, respectively. Adding the farm-based emissions to Oukoop and Stein resulted in a total GHG emission of 8.3 (±1.0) and 6.6 (±1.3) g CO2-eq m-2 d-1, respectively. For Horstermeer the GHG balance remained the same since no farm-based emissions exist. Considering the C balance (uncertainty range 40-60%), the total C release in Oukoop and Stein is 5270 and 6258 kg C ha-1 yr-1, respectively (including ecosystem and management fluxes), and the total C uptake in Horstermeer is 3538 kg C ha-1 yr-1. Water

  18. Spatial variation analyses of Thematic Mapper data for the identification of linear features in agricultural landscapes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pelletier, R. E.

    1984-01-01

    A need exists for digitized information pertaining to linear features such as roads, streams, water bodies and agricultural field boundaries as component parts of a data base. For many areas where this data may not yet exist or is in need of updating, these features may be extracted from remotely sensed digital data. This paper examines two approaches for identifying linear features, one utilizing raw data and the other classified data. Each approach uses a series of data enhancement procedures including derivation of standard deviation values, principal component analysis and filtering procedures using a high-pass window matrix. Just as certain bands better classify different land covers, so too do these bands exhibit high spectral contrast by which boundaries between land covers can be delineated. A few applications for this kind of data are briefly discussed, including its potential in a Universal Soil Loss Equation Model.

  19. Monitoring roadside ditches for antibiotic resistant E. coli in forest and agricultural landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Storrer, S.; Archibald, J. A.

    2009-12-01

    There is growing concern over the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria and how they travel through natural environments. This study was developed to: (1) measure the quantities of antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli present in stormwater collected from roadside ditches, (2) examine the spatial and temporal distribution of antibiotic resistance and (3) explore the difference in antibiotic resistance between different land uses. Autosamplers were used to collect composite samples of stormwater flowing in roadside ditches located near manure fertilized fields or forested areas. Samples were filtered using standard membrane filtration methods and grown with and without antibiotics on EC medium containing MUG. Three antibiotics commonly used to treat infection in humans and dairy cows were used to measure antibiotic resistance: penicillin, ampicillin and tetracycline. Though antibiotic resistance was found at forested and farm sites, preliminary data suggest higher counts of antibiotic resistant E. coli near agricultural areas.

  20. An Integrated Landscape Designed for Commodity and Bioenergy Crops for a Tile-Drained Agricultural Watershed.

    PubMed

    Ssegane, Herbert; Negri, M Cristina

    2016-09-01

    Locating bioenergy crops on strategically selected subfield areas of marginal interest for commodity agriculture can increase environmental sustainability. Location and choice of bioenergy crops should improve environmental benefits with minimal disruption of current food production systems. We identified subfield soils of a tile-drained agricultural watershed as marginal if they had areas of low crop productivity index (CPI), were susceptible to nitrate-nitrogen (NO-N) leaching, or were susceptible to at least two other forms of environmental degradation (marginal areas). In the test watershed (Indian Creek watershed, IL) with annual precipitation of 852 mm, 3% of soils were CPI areas and 22% were marginal areas. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool was used to forecast the impact of growing switchgrass ( L.), willow ( spp.), and big bluestem ( Vitman) in these subfield areas on annual grain yields, NO-N and sediment exports, and water yield. Simulated conversion of CPI areas from current land use to bioenergy crops had no significant ( 0.05) impact on grain production and reduced NO-N and sediment exports by 5.0 to 6.0% and 3.0%, respectively. Conversion of marginal areas from current land use to switchgrass forecasted the production of 34,000 t of biomass and reductions in NO-N (26.0%) and sediment (33.0%) exports. Alternatively, conversion of marginal areas from current land use to willow forecasted similar reductions as switchgrass for sediment but significantly ( 0.01) lower reductions in annual NO-N export (18.0 vs. 26.0%).

  1. Maximizing the Wildlife Conservation Value of Road Right-of-Ways in an Agriculturally Dominated Landscape

    PubMed Central

    McCleery, Robert A.; Holdorf, Allison R.; Hubbard, Laura L.; Peer, Brian D.

    2015-01-01

    There has been a growing recognition that the narrow linear strips of uncultivated vegetation that lie between roads and agricultural crops, referred to as roadside right-of-ways or verges, can serve as areas for the conservation of wildlife. The features of right-of-ways that should influence the composition of wildlife communities vary considerably. Our goal was to determine what features of right-of-ways increased the conservation potential of right-of-ways for wildlife in a grassland system dominated by agricultural production. We sampled 100 right-of-ways for birds and 92 right-of-ways for small mammals in McDonough and Warren Counties in west-central Illinois. We found that the sizes of right-of-ways and the amount of traffic on the adjacent roads synergistically worked to influence wildlife communities. On roads with low traffic, avian species richness increased rapidly with increased right-of-way width, while on roads with high traffic, avian richness increased only slightly with increasing right-of-way widths. We found that wider roadside right-of-ways (preferably across the road from equally wide right-of-ways) with thicker and taller vegetation had the greatest conservation value for birds and small mammals. The features that enhanced the conservation value of right-of-ways in our study area were uncommon. Efforts to create or enhance these features for the benefit of wildlife would likely face numerous obstacles. Nonetheless, from a grassland conservation perspective, working with stakeholders to implement specific strategies to enhance these often neglected areas may be an effective complement to purchasing and restoring conservation lands away from roads. PMID:25794180

  2. An integrated landscape designed for commodity and bioenergy crops for a tile-drained agricultural watershed

    DOE PAGES

    Ssegane, Herbert; Negri, M. Cristina

    2016-09-16

    Here, locating bioenergy crops on strategically selected subfield areas of marginal interest for commodity agriculture can increase environmental sustainability. Location and choice of bioenergy crops should improve environmental benefits with minimal disruption of current food production systems. We identified subfield soils of a tile-drained agricultural watershed as marginal if they had areas of low crop productivity index (CPI), were susceptible to nitrate-nitrogen (NO3–N) leaching, or were susceptible to at least two other forms of environmental degradation (marginal areas). In the test watershed (Indian Creek watershed, IL) with annual precipitation of 852 mm, 3% of soils were CPI areas and 22%more » were marginal areas. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool was used to forecast the impact of growing switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), willow (Salix spp.), and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi Vitman) in these subfield areas on annual grain yields, NO3–N and sediment exports, and water yield. Simulated conversion of CPI areas from current land use to bioenergy crops had no significant (p ≤ 0.05) impact on grain production and reduced NO3–N and sediment exports by 5.0 to 6.0% and 3.0%, respectively. Conversion of marginal areas from current land use to switchgrass forecasted the production of 34,000 t of biomass and reductions in NO3–N (26.0%) and sediment (33.0%) exports. Alternatively, conversion of marginal areas from current land use to willow forecasted similar reductions as switchgrass for sediment but significantly (p ≤ 0.01) lower reductions in annual NO3–N export (18.0 vs. 26.0%).« less

  3. Ecological traits affect the sensitivity of bees to land-use pressures in European agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    De Palma, Adriana; Kuhlmann, Michael; Roberts, Stuart P M; Potts, Simon G; Börger, Luca; Hudson, Lawrence N; Lysenko, Igor; Newbold, Tim; Purvis, Andy

    2015-12-01

    Bees are a functionally important and economically valuable group, but are threatened by land-use conversion and intensification. Such pressures are not expected to affect all species identically; rather, they are likely to be mediated by the species' ecological traits.Understanding which types of species are most vulnerable under which land uses is an important step towards effective conservation planning.We collated occurrence and abundance data for 257 bee species at 1584 European sites from surveys reported in 30 published papers (70 056 records) and combined them with species-level ecological trait data. We used mixed-effects models to assess the importance of land use (land-use class, agricultural use-intensity and a remotely-sensed measure of vegetation), traits and trait × land-use interactions, in explaining species occurrence and abundance.Species' sensitivity to land use was most strongly influenced by flight season duration and foraging range, but also by niche breadth, reproductive strategy and phenology, with effects that differed among cropland, pastoral and urban habitats. Synthesis and applications. Rather than targeting particular species or settings, conservation actions may be more effective if focused on mitigating situations where species' traits strongly and negatively interact with land-use pressures. We find evidence that low-intensity agriculture can maintain relatively diverse bee communities; in more intensive settings, added floral resources may be beneficial, but will require careful placement with respect to foraging ranges of smaller bee species. Protection of semi-natural habitats is essential, however; in particular, conversion to urban environments could have severe effects on bee diversity and pollination services. Our results highlight the importance of exploring how ecological traits mediate species responses to human impacts, but further research is needed to enhance the predictive ability of such analyses.

  4. Maximizing the wildlife conservation value of road right-of-ways in an agriculturally dominated landscape.

    PubMed

    McCleery, Robert A; Holdorf, Allison R; Hubbard, Laura L; Peer, Brian D

    2015-01-01

    There has been a growing recognition that the narrow linear strips of uncultivated vegetation that lie between roads and agricultural crops, referred to as roadside right-of-ways or verges, can serve as areas for the conservation of wildlife. The features of right-of-ways that should influence the composition of wildlife communities vary considerably. Our goal was to determine what features of right-of-ways increased the conservation potential of right-of-ways for wildlife in a grassland system dominated by agricultural production. We sampled 100 right-of-ways for birds and 92 right-of-ways for small mammals in McDonough and Warren Counties in west-central Illinois. We found that the sizes of right-of-ways and the amount of traffic on the adjacent roads synergistically worked to influence wildlife communities. On roads with low traffic, avian species richness increased rapidly with increased right-of-way width, while on roads with high traffic, avian richness increased only slightly with increasing right-of-way widths. We found that wider roadside right-of-ways (preferably across the road from equally wide right-of-ways) with thicker and taller vegetation had the greatest conservation value for birds and small mammals. The features that enhanced the conservation value of right-of-ways in our study area were uncommon. Efforts to create or enhance these features for the benefit of wildlife would likely face numerous obstacles. Nonetheless, from a grassland conservation perspective, working with stakeholders to implement specific strategies to enhance these often neglected areas may be an effective complement to purchasing and restoring conservation lands away from roads.

  5. An integrated landscape designed for commodity and bioenergy crops for a tile-drained agricultural watershed

    SciTech Connect

    Ssegane, Herbert; Negri, M. Cristina

    2016-09-16

    Here, locating bioenergy crops on strategically selected subfield areas of marginal interest for commodity agriculture can increase environmental sustainability. Location and choice of bioenergy crops should improve environmental benefits with minimal disruption of current food production systems. We identified subfield soils of a tile-drained agricultural watershed as marginal if they had areas of low crop productivity index (CPI), were susceptible to nitrate-nitrogen (NO3–N) leaching, or were susceptible to at least two other forms of environmental degradation (marginal areas). In the test watershed (Indian Creek watershed, IL) with annual precipitation of 852 mm, 3% of soils were CPI areas and 22% were marginal areas. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool was used to forecast the impact of growing switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), willow (Salix spp.), and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi Vitman) in these subfield areas on annual grain yields, NO3–N and sediment exports, and water yield. Simulated conversion of CPI areas from current land use to bioenergy crops had no significant (p ≤ 0.05) impact on grain production and reduced NO3–N and sediment exports by 5.0 to 6.0% and 3.0%, respectively. Conversion of marginal areas from current land use to switchgrass forecasted the production of 34,000 t of biomass and reductions in NO3–N (26.0%) and sediment (33.0%) exports. Alternatively, conversion of marginal areas from current land use to willow forecasted similar reductions as switchgrass for sediment but significantly (p ≤ 0.01) lower reductions in annual NO3–N export (18.0 vs. 26.0%).

  6. An integrated landscape designed for commodity and bioenergy crops for a tile-drained agricultural watershed

    SciTech Connect

    Ssegane, Herbert; Negri, M. Cristina

    2016-09-16

    Here, locating bioenergy crops on strategically selected subfield areas of marginal interest for commodity agriculture can increase environmental sustainability. Location and choice of bioenergy crops should improve environmental benefits with minimal disruption of current food production systems. We identified subfield soils of a tile-drained agricultural watershed as marginal if they had areas of low crop productivity index (CPI), were susceptible to nitrate-nitrogen (NO3–N) leaching, or were susceptible to at least two other forms of environmental degradation (marginal areas). In the test watershed (Indian Creek watershed, IL) with annual precipitation of 852 mm, 3% of soils were CPI areas and 22% were marginal areas. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool was used to forecast the impact of growing switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), willow (Salix spp.), and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi Vitman) in these subfield areas on annual grain yields, NO3–N and sediment exports, and water yield. Simulated conversion of CPI areas from current land use to bioenergy crops had no significant (p ≤ 0.05) impact on grain production and reduced NO3–N and sediment exports by 5.0 to 6.0% and 3.0%, respectively. Conversion of marginal areas from current land use to switchgrass forecasted the production of 34,000 t of biomass and reductions in NO3–N (26.0%) and sediment (33.0%) exports. Alternatively, conversion of marginal areas from current land use to willow forecasted similar reductions as switchgrass for sediment but significantly (p ≤ 0.01) lower reductions in annual NO3–N export (18.0 vs. 26.0%).

  7. Watershed-Scale Cover Crops Reduce Nutrient Export From Agricultural Landscapes.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tank, J. L.; Hanrahan, B.; Christopher, S. F.; Trentman, M. T.; Royer, T. V.; Prior, K.

    2016-12-01

    The Midwestern US has undergone extensive land use change as forest, wetlands, and prairies have been converted to agroecosystems. Today, excess fertilizer nutrients from farm fields enter Midwestern agricultural streams, which degrades both local and downstream water quality, resulting in algal blooms and subsequent hypoxic "dead zones" far from the nutrient source. We are quantifying the benefits of watershed-scale conservation practices that may reduce nutrient runoff from adjacent farm fields. Specifically, research is lacking on whether the planting of winter cover crops in watersheds currently dominated by row-crop agriculture can significantly reduce nutrient inputs to adjacent streams. Since 2013, farmers have planted cover crops on 70% of croppable acres in the Shatto Ditch Watershed (IN), and "saturation level" implementation of this conservation practice has been sustained for 3 years. Every 14 days, we have quantified nutrient loss from fields by sampling nutrient fluxes from multiple subsurface tile drains and longitudinally along the stream channel throughout the watershed. Cover crops improved stream water quality by reducing dissolved inorganic nutrients exported downstream; nitrate-N and DRP concentrations and fluxes were significantly lower in tiles draining fields with cover crops compared to those without. Annual watershed nutrient export also decreased, and reductions in N and P loss ( 30-40%) exceeded what we expected based on only a 6-10% reduction in runoff due to increased watershed water holding capacity. We are also exploring the processes responsible for increased nutrient retention, where they are occurring (terrestrial vs. aquatic) and when (baseflow vs. storms). For example, whole-stream metabolism also responded to cover crop planting, showing reduced variation in primary production and respiration in years after watershed-scale planting of cover crops. In summary, widespread land cover change, through cover crop planting, can

  8. Measurements of biogenic volatile organic compounds at a grazed savannah grassland agricultural landscape in South Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jaars, Kerneels; van Zyl, Pieter G.; Beukes, Johan P.; Hellén, Heidi; Vakkari, Ville; Josipovic, Micky; Venter, Andrew D.; Räsänen, Matti; Knoetze, Leandra; Cilliers, Dirk P.; Siebert, Stefan J.; Kulmala, Markku; Rinne, Janne; Guenther, Alex; Laakso, Lauri; Hakola, Hannele

    2016-12-01

    Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) play an important role in the chemistry of the troposphere, especially in the formation of tropospheric ozone (O3) and secondary organic aerosols (SOA). Ecosystems produce and emit a large number of BVOCs. It is estimated on a global scale that approximately 90 % of annual BVOC emissions are from terrestrial sources. In this study, measurements of BVOCs were conducted at the Welgegund measurement station (South Africa), which is considered to be a regionally representative background site situated in savannah grasslands. Very few BVOC measurements exist for savannah grasslands and results presented in this study are the most extensive for this type of landscape. Samples were collected twice a week for 2 h during the daytime and 2 h during the night-time through two long-term sampling campaigns from February 2011 to February 2012 and from December 2013 to February 2015, respectively. Individual BVOCs were identified and quantified using a thermal desorption instrument, which was connected to a gas chromatograph and a mass selective detector. The annual median concentrations of isoprene, 2-methyl-3-butene-2-ol (MBO), monoterpene and sesquiterpene (SQT) during the first campaign were 14, 7, 120 and 8 pptv, respectively, and 14, 4, 83 and 4 pptv, respectively, during the second campaign. The sum of the concentrations of the monoterpenes were at least an order of magnitude higher than the concentrations of other BVOC species during both sampling campaigns, with α-pinene being the most abundant species. The highest BVOC concentrations were observed during the wet season and elevated soil moisture was associated with increased BVOC concentrations. However, comparisons with measurements conducted at other landscapes in southern Africa and the rest of the world that have more woody vegetation indicated that BVOC concentrations were, in general, significantly lower for savannah grasslands. Furthermore, BVOC concentrations were an

  9. Occurrence of maize detritus and a transgenic insecticidal protein (Cry1Ab) within the stream network of an agricultural landscape

    PubMed Central

    Tank, Jennifer L.; Rosi-Marshall, Emma J.; Royer, Todd V.; Whiles, Matt R.; Griffiths, Natalie A.; Frauendorf, Therese C.; Treering, David J.

    2010-01-01

    Widespread planting of maize throughout the agricultural Midwest may result in detritus entering adjacent stream ecosystems, and 63% of the 2009 US maize crop was genetically modified to express insecticidal Cry proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis. Six months after harvest, we conducted a synoptic survey of 217 stream sites in Indiana to determine the extent of maize detritus and presence of Cry1Ab protein in the stream network. We found that 86% of stream sites contained maize leaves, cobs, husks, and/or stalks in the active stream channel. We also detected Cry1Ab protein in stream-channel maize at 13% of sites and in the water column at 23% of sites. We found that 82% of stream sites were adjacent to maize fields, and Geographical Information Systems analyses indicated that 100% of sites containing Cry1Ab-positive detritus in the active stream channel had maize planted within 500 m during the previous crop year. Maize detritus likely enters streams throughout the Corn Belt; using US Department of Agriculture land cover data, we estimate that 91% of the 256,446 km of streams/rivers in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana are located within 500 m of a maize field. Maize detritus is common in low-gradient stream channels in northwestern Indiana, and Cry1Ab proteins persist in maize leaves and can be measured in the water column even 6 mo after harvest. Hence, maize detritus, and associated Cry1Ab proteins, are widely distributed and persistent in the headwater streams of a Corn Belt landscape. PMID:20876106

  10. Environmental attitudes and drift reduction behavior among commercial pesticide applicators in a U.S. agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Reimer, Adam P; Prokopy, Linda S

    2012-12-30

    Pesticide drift is a significant environmental problem in rural regions, and can result in losses to certain non-target crops and livestock, water and air pollution, and threats to human health. While state agencies seek to control the harmful effects of pesticides through licensing and certificate programs, the adoption rates of drift-reducing practices by commercial applicators remain highly variable. In order to effectively target outreach efforts to commercial applicators, managers need to better understand current use patterns and the motivations behind the adoption and non-adoption of preferred practices. Using a web and mail survey, this study explored environmental attitudes, awareness and concern for pesticide drift, and current practice adoption for drift reduction by commercial pesticide applicators in Indiana. Researchers surveyed three distinct applicator types: industrial weed management (utility right-of-way), agriculture, and aerial (which are mostly spraying in an agricultural setting). Overall, applicators exhibited positive environmental attitudes, but low concern for pesticide drift in the geographic areas where they operate. Adoption rates for several drift reduction technologies were high, particularly for equipment and spray modifications such as low-drift spray nozzles (88%) and increased spray droplet size (92%). Applicators were less familiar with specialty equipment (such as band sprayers, 13% adoption rate) and methods for identifying sensitive sites such as bee colonies and organic crops. Among the three groups, industrial weed management applicators had the lowest adoption rates. Applicators were motivated to adopt drift-reduction practices by the desire to be a good neighbor and a desire to be a good land steward. There is potential for use of more innovative, voluntary approaches to raise awareness of sites sensitive to pesticide drift in rural landscapes. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Occurrence of maize detritus and a transgenic insecticidal protein (Cry1Ab) within the stream network of an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Tank, Jennifer L; Rosi-Marshall, Emma J; Royer, Todd V; Whiles, Matt R; Griffiths, Natalie A; Frauendorf, Therese C; Treering, David J

    2010-10-12

    Widespread planting of maize throughout the agricultural Midwest may result in detritus entering adjacent stream ecosystems, and 63% of the 2009 US maize crop was genetically modified to express insecticidal Cry proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis. Six months after harvest, we conducted a synoptic survey of 217 stream sites in Indiana to determine the extent of maize detritus and presence of Cry1Ab protein in the stream network. We found that 86% of stream sites contained maize leaves, cobs, husks, and/or stalks in the active stream channel. We also detected Cry1Ab protein in stream-channel maize at 13% of sites and in the water column at 23% of sites. We found that 82% of stream sites were adjacent to maize fields, and Geographical Information Systems analyses indicated that 100% of sites containing Cry1Ab-positive detritus in the active stream channel had maize planted within 500 m during the previous crop year. Maize detritus likely enters streams throughout the Corn Belt; using US Department of Agriculture land cover data, we estimate that 91% of the 256,446 km of streams/rivers in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana are located within 500 m of a maize field. Maize detritus is common in low-gradient stream channels in northwestern Indiana, and Cry1Ab proteins persist in maize leaves and can be measured in the water column even 6 mo after harvest. Hence, maize detritus, and associated Cry1Ab proteins, are widely distributed and persistent in the headwater streams of a Corn Belt landscape.

  12. Assessing the mitigation potential of agricultural systems by optimization of the agricultural management: A modeling study on 8 agricultural observation sites across Europe with the process based model LandscapeDNDC

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molina Herrera, Saul; Haas, Edwin; Klatt, Steffen; Kraus, David; Kiese, Ralf; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus

    2014-05-01

    The use of mineral nitrogen (N) fertilizers increase crop yields but cause the biggest anthropogenic source of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and strongly contribute to surface water eutrophication (e.g. nitrate leaching). The necessity to identify affordable strategies that improve crop production while improving ecosystem services are in continuous debate between policy decision makers and farmers. In this line, a lack commitment from farmers to enforce laws might result in the reduction of benefits. For this reason, farmers should aim to increase crop production and to reduce environmental harm by the adoption of precision climate smart agriculture tools applied to management practices for instance. In this study we present optimized strategies for 8 sites (agricultural and grassland ecosystems) with long term field observation across Europe to show the mitigation potential to reduce reactive nitrogen losses under the constrain of keeping yields at observed levels. LandscapeDNDC simulations of crop yields and associated nitrogen losses (N2O emissions and NO3 leaching) were evaluated against long term field measurements. The sites presented different management regimes including the main commodity crops (maize, wheat, barley, rape seeds, etc) and fertilization amendments (synthetic and organic fertilizers) in Europe. The simulations reproduced the observed yields, captured N2O emissions and NO3 leaching losses with high statistical presicion (r2), acurrency (ME) and agreement (RMSPEn). The mitigation potentials to reduce N losses while keeping yields at observed levels for all 8 sites were assesed by Monte Carlo optimizations of the individual underlying multi year agricultural management options (timings of planting and harvest, fertilization & manure applications and rates, residues management). In this study we present for all 8 agricultural observations sites their individual mitigation potentials to reduce N losses for multi year rotations. The conclusions

  13. Watershed Influences on Residence Time and Oxygen Reduction Rates in an Agricultural Landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shope, C. L.; Tesoriero, A. J.

    2015-12-01

    Agricultural use of synthetic fertilizers and animal manure has led to increased crop production, but also elevated nitrogen concentrations in groundwater, resulting in impaired water quality. Groundwater oxygen concentrations are a key indicator of potential biogeochemical processes, which control water/aquifer interactions and contaminant transport. The U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment Program has a long-history of studying nutrient transport and processing across the United States and the Glacial Aquifer system in particular. A series of groundwater well networks in Eastern Wisconsin is being used to evaluate the distribution of redox reaction rates over a range of scales with a focus on dissolved O2 reduction rates. An analysis of these multi-scale networks elucidates the influence of explanatory variables (i.e.: soil type, land use classification) on reduction rates and redox reactions throughout the Fox-Wolf-Peshtigo watersheds. Multiple tracers including dissolved gasses, tritium, helium, chlorofluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and carbon-14 were used to estimate groundwater ages (0.8 to 61.2 yr) at over 300 locations. Our results indicate O2 reduction rates along a flowpath study area (1.2 km2) of 0.15 mg O2 L-1 yr-1 (0.12 to 0.18 mg O2 L-1 yr-1) up to 0.41 mg O2 L-1 yr-1 (0.23 to 0.89 mg O2 L-1 yr-1) for a larger scale land use study area (3,300 km2). Preliminary explanatory variables that can be used to describe the variability in reduction rates include soil type (hydrologic group, bulk density) and chemical concentrations (nitrite plus nitrate, silica). The median residence time expected to reach suboxic conditions (≤ 0.4 mg O2 L-1) for the flowpath and the land use study areas was 66 and 25 yr, respectively. These results can be used to elucidate and differentiate the impact of residence time on groundwater quality vulnerability and sustainability in agricultural regions without complex flow models.

  14. Towards multifunctional agricultural landscapes in Europe: Assessing and governing synergies between food production, biodiversity, and ecosystem services - TALE

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Volk, Martin; Cord, Anna; Demiguel, Ángel; Holzkämper, Annelie; Kaim, Andrea; Kirchner, Mathias; Lienhoop, Nele; Nieto Romero, Marta; Nitsch, Heike; Rutz, Cordula; Saa, Antonio; Schmid, Erwin; Schönhart, Martin; Schramek, Jörg; Strauch, Michael; Tarquis Alfonso, Ana Maria; van der Zanden, Emma H.; Verburg, Peter; Willaarts, Bárbara; Zarrineh, Nina; Rivas, David; Hagemann, Nina

    2016-04-01

    There is a need to improve our understanding of the synergies between biodiversity, food and energy production and other regulating or cultural ecosystem services (ESS) and the development of technical and policy measures to support these synergies. Procedures to quantify synergies and trade-offs between ESS and biodiversity are considered as promising solutions to close this gap. The BiodivERsA project TALE aims at developing such methodologies in a set of representative European agricultural landscapes in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, The Netherlands and Spain. This will be done by using i) a framework that links process-based, integrated, and statistical models with optimization algorithms, and ii) a set of land use scenarios and land use policies, iii) a systematic stakeholder integration process that allows the incorporation of expert knowledge in all phases of the research project to safeguard that research results are of practical relevance. Moreover, the project not only addresses experts but provides an innovative online learning environment that is accessible also for students and the general public.

  15. Groundwater dynamics in wetland soils control the production and transfer mechanisms of dissolved reactive phosphorus in an agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dupas, Rémi; Gu, Sen; Gruau, Gérard; Gascuel-Odoux, Chantal

    2015-04-01

    Because of its high sorption affinity on soils solid phase, mitigation options to reduce diffuse P transfer usually focus on trapping particulate P forms delivered via surface flowpaths. Therefore, vegetated buffer zones placed between croplands and watercourses have been promoted worldwide, sometimes in wetland areas. To investigate the risk of such P trapping riparian wetlands (RWs) releasing dissolved P to rivers, we monitored molybdate reactive P (MRP) in the free soil solution of two RWs in an intensively farmed catchment. Two main mechanisms causing MRP release were identified in light of the geochemical and hydrological conditions in the RWs, controlled by groundwater dynamics. First, soil rewetting after the dry summer was associated with the presence of a pool of mobile P, limited in size. Its mobilization started under conditions of water saturation caused by groundwater uprise in RW organo-mineral soil horizons. Second, the establishment of anoxic conditions in the end of the winter caused reductive solubilization of Fe oxide-hydroxide, along with release of P. Comparison between sites revealed that the first MRP release occurred only in a RW with P enriched soils, whereas the second was recorded even in a RW with a low soil P status. Seasonal variations in MRP concentrations in the stream were synchronized with those in RW soils. Hence, enriched and/or periodically anoxic RWs can act as a key component of the P transfer continuum in agricultural landscapes by converting particulate P from croplands into MRP released to rivers.

  16. Ecological dissimilarity among land-use/land-cover types improves a heterogeneity index for predicting biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Yoshioka, Akira; Fukasawa, Keita; Mishima, Yoshio; Sasaki, Keiko; Kadoya, Taku

    2017-06-01

    Land-use/land-cover heterogeneity is among the most important factors influencing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes and is the key to the conservation of multi-habitat dwellers that use both terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Heterogeneity indices based on land-use/land-cover maps typically do not integrate ecological dissimilarity between land-use/land-cover types. Here, we applied the concept of functional diversity to an existing land-use/land-cover diversity index (Satoyama index) to incorporate ecological dissimilarity and proposed a new index called the dissimilarity-based Satoyama index (DSI). Using Japan as a case study, we calculated the DSI for three land-use/land-cover maps with different spatial resolutions and derived similarity information from normalized difference vegetation index values. The DSI showed better performance in the prediction of Japanese damselfly species richness than that of the existing index, and a higher correlation between the index and species richness was obtained for higher resolution maps. Thus, our approach to improve the land-use/land-cover diversity index holds promise for future development and can be effective for conservation and monitoring efforts.

  17. Tall tower landscape scale N2O flux measurements in a Danish agricultural and urban, coastal area

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ibrom, Andreas; Lequy, Émeline; Loubet, Benjamin; Pilegaard, Kim; Ambus, Per

    2015-04-01

    eastern coastline of the Roskilde fjord on the Danish island Zealand. The tower is surrounded by the fjord, by agricultural area, forests and, in the South by the urban area of the City of Roskilde. The City of Roskilde operates a waste incinerator and a waste water treatment plant, which drains treated waste water into the fjord. The level of the measured flux values was generally relatively low. Based on the clear definition of the lag time between N2O concentrations and the vertical wind speed, fluxes were measureable over larger periods. The fluxes showed clear directional relationships indicating their large spatial and temporal variability in the landscape. Footprint calculations were performed to attribute source areas to the measured fluxes ...(Kormann and Meixner, 2001; Neftel et al., 2008). The footprint of the flux measurement included areas between 200 m and several kilometres distance from the tower. A preliminary approach was developed to generate monthly maps of N2O fluxes around the tower. Here we present the results from the first seven months of flux measurements. Based on these results we discuss the potential and the limitations of tall tower eddy covariance measurements to estimate maps of N2O fluxes and the integral value of the landscape N2O flux. Acknowledgements: This work was funded by the EU-FP7 InGOS project. We thank Ebba Dellwik (Technical University of Denmark) for providing sonic anemometer data. References: Kormann, R. and Meixner, F.X., 2001. An Analytical Footprint Model For Non-Neutral Stratification. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 99(2): 207-224. Neftel, A., Spirig, C. and Ammann, C., 2008. Application and test of a simple tool for operational footprint evaluations. Environmental Pollution, 152(3): 644-652.

  18. Changes in water budgets and sediment yields from a hypothetical agricultural field as a function of landscape and management characteristics--A unit field modeling approach

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Roth, Jason L.; Capel, Paul D.

    2012-01-01

    Crop agriculture occupies 13 percent of the conterminous United States. Agricultural management practices, such as crop and tillage types, affect the hydrologic flow paths through the landscape. Some agricultural practices, such as drainage and irrigation, create entirely new hydrologic flow paths upon the landscapes where they are implemented. These hydrologic changes can affect the magnitude and partitioning of water budgets and sediment erosion. Given the wide degree of variability amongst agricultural settings, changes in the magnitudes of hydrologic flow paths and sediment erosion induced by agricultural management practices commonly are difficult to characterize, quantify, and compare using only field observations. The Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model was used to simulate two landscape characteristics (slope and soil texture) and three agricultural management practices (land cover/crop type, tillage type, and selected agricultural land management practices) to evaluate their effects on the water budgets of and sediment yield from agricultural lands. An array of sixty-eight 60-year simulations were run, each representing a distinct natural or agricultural scenario with various slopes, soil textures, crop or land cover types, tillage types, and select agricultural management practices on an isolated 16.2-hectare field. Simulations were made to represent two common agricultural climate regimes: arid with sprinkler irrigation and humid. These climate regimes were constructed with actual climate and irrigation data. The results of these simulations demonstrate the magnitudes of potential changes in water budgets and sediment yields from lands as a result of landscape characteristics and agricultural practices adopted on them. These simulations showed that variations in landscape characteristics, such as slope and soil type, had appreciable effects on water budgets and sediment yields. As slopes increased, sediment yields increased in both the arid and

  19. The role of constructed wetlands in sequestering eroded carbon in an agricultural landscape.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maynard, J. J.; O'Geen, A. T.; Dahlgren, R. A.

    2008-12-01

    The fate of carbon lost by erosion is not well understood in agricultural settings. Recent models suggest that wetlands and other small water bodies may serve as important long-term sinks of eroded carbon. An estimated 2.6 million small (less than 104 m2), artificial water bodies (e.g. water catchment reservoirs, farm ponds, and wetlands) are scattered across the United States. These areas are estimated to receive one third of all eroded materials. Consequently, carbon accumulation in small subaqueous environments may have a significant effect on carbon storage. The conversion of marginal farmland to constructed and restored wetlands is a growing land use in California's Central Valley. Many of these systems receive agricultural runoff as their main water supply, which is rich in suspended sediment and nutrients. This study examined the potential for carbon sequestration in an eight-year-old seasonally saturated constructed wetland that receives tailwater from over 4,000 acres of farmland. The temporal and spatial dynamics of carbon and sediment accumulation were evaluated by employing a spatially explicit sampling design to measure net sedimentation and net above-ground biomass in 2004 and 2005. Additionally, in 2006, sediment cores were collected to the antecedent (time zero) soil layer, which ranged between 2 and 50 cm below the surface. The spatial variability of carbon and sediment accumulation was modeled with geostatistics. Average sediment accumulation rate, nearly doubled from 2004 to 2005, with rates of 5.8 kg m-2 y-1 (range: 0-80 kg m-2 y-1) in 2004 and 11.9 kg m-2 y-1 (range: 0-93 kg m2 y-1) in 2005. Average carbon accumulation rate did not change between years, with rates of 0.290 kg m-2 y-1 in 2004 and 0.294 kg m-2 y-1 in 2005, indicating a change in carbon source between years. Average total carbon content of soils in the contributing watershed is 8 g kg-1, whereas average carbon content of inflowing sediment was 14 g kg-1, resulting in an enrichment

  20. Evaluating atmospheric CO2 inversions at multiple scales over a highly-inventoried agricultural landscape.

    SciTech Connect

    Schuh, Andrew E.; Lauvaux, Thomas; West, Tristram O.; Denning, A.; Davis, Kenneth J.; Miles, Natasha; Richardson, S. J.; Uliasz, Marek; Lokupitiya, Erandathie; Cooley, Dan; Andrews, Arlyn; Ogle, Stephen

    2013-05-01

    An intensive regional research campaign was conducted by the North American Carbon Program (NACP) in 2005 to study the carbon cycle of the highly productive agricultural regions of the Midwestern United States. Forty-_ve di_erent associated projects were spawned across _ve U.S. agencies over the course of nearly a decade involving hundreds of researchers. The primary objective of the project was to investigate the ability of atmospheric inversion techniques to use highly calibrated CO2 mixing ratio data to estimate CO2 exchange over the major croplands of the U.S. Statistics from densely monitored crop production, consisting primarily corn and soybeans, provided the backbone of a well-studied\\bottom up"flux estimate that was used to evaluate the atmospheric inversion results. Three different inversion systems, representing spatial scales varying from high resolution mesoscale, to continental, to global, coupled to different transport models and optimization techniques were compared to the bottom up" inventory estimates. The mean annual CO2-C sink for 2007 from the inversion systems ranged from 120 TgC to 170 TgC, when viewed across a wide variety of inversion setups, with the best" point estimates ranging from 145 TgC to 155 TgC. Inversion-based mean C sink estimates were generally slightly stronger, but statistically indistinguishable,from the inventory estimate whose mean C sink was 135 TgC. The inversion results showed temporal correlations at seasonal lengths while week to week correlations remained low. Comparisons were made between atmospheric transport yields of the two regional inversion systems, which despite having different influence footprints in space and time due to differences in underlying transport models and external forcings, showed similarity when aggregated in space and time.

  1. Riparian buffer strips as a multifunctional management tool in agricultural landscapes: introduction.

    PubMed

    Stutter, Marc I; Chardon, Wim J; Kronvang, Brian

    2012-01-01

    Catchment riparian areas are considered key zones to target mitigation measures aimed at interrupting the movement of diffuse substances from agricultural land to surface waters. Hence, unfertilized buffer strips have become a widely studied and implemented "edge of field" mitigation measure assumed to provide an effective physical barrier against nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and sediment transfer. To ease the legislative process, these buffers are often narrow mandatory strips along streams and rivers, across different riparian soil water conditions, between bordering land uses of differing pollution burdens, and without prescribed buffer management. It would be easy to criticize such regulation for not providing the opportunity for riparian ecosystems to maximize their provision for a wider range of ecosystem goods and services. The scientific basis for judging the best course of action in designing and placing buffers to enhance their multifunctionality has slowly increased over the last five years. This collection of papers aims to add to this body of knowledge by giving examples of studies related to riparian buffer management and assessment throughout Europe. This introductory paper summarizes discussion sessions and 13 selected papers from a workshop held in Ballater, UK, highlighting research on riparian buffers brought together under the EU COST Action 869 knowledge exchange program. The themes addressed are (i) evidence of catchment- to national-scale effectiveness, (ii) ecological functioning linking terrestrial and aquatic habitats, (iii) modeling tools for assessment of effectiveness and costs, and (iv) process understanding enabling management and manipulation to enhance pollutant retention in buffers. The combined understanding led us to consider four principle key questions to challenge buffer strip research and policy. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.

  2. Evaluating atmospheric CO2 inversions at multiple scales over a highly inventoried agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Schuh, Andrew E; Lauvaux, Thomas; West, Tristram O; Denning, A Scott; Davis, Kenneth J; Miles, Natasha; Richardson, Scott; Uliasz, Marek; Lokupitiya, Erandathie; Cooley, Daniel; Andrews, Arlyn; Ogle, Stephen

    2013-05-01

    An intensive regional research campaign was conducted by the North American Carbon Program (NACP) in 2007 to study the carbon cycle of the highly productive agricultural regions of the Midwestern United States. Forty-five different associated projects were conducted across five US agencies over the course of nearly a decade involving hundreds of researchers. One of the primary objectives of the intensive campaign was to investigate the ability of atmospheric inversion techniques to use highly calibrated CO2 mixing ratio data to estimate CO2 flux over the major croplands of the United States by comparing the results to an inventory of CO2 fluxes. Statistics from densely monitored crop production, consisting primarily of corn and soybeans, provided the backbone of a well studied bottom-up inventory flux estimate that was used to evaluate the atmospheric inversion results. Estimates were compared to the inventory from three different inversion systems, representing spatial scales varying from high resolution mesoscale (PSU), to continental (CSU) and global (CarbonTracker), coupled to different transport models and optimization techniques. The inversion-based mean CO2 -C sink estimates were generally slightly larger, 8-20% for PSU, 10-20% for CSU, and 21% for CarbonTracker, but statistically indistinguishable, from the inventory estimate of 135 TgC. While the comparisons show that the MCI region-wide C sink is robust across inversion system and spatial scale, only the continental and mesoscale inversions were able to reproduce the spatial patterns within the region. In general, the results demonstrate that inversions can recover CO2 fluxes at sub-regional scales with a relatively high density of CO2 observations and adequate information on atmospheric transport in the region.

  3. Whole-stream response to nitrate loading in three streams draining agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Duff, John H; Tesoriero, Anthony J; Richardson, William B; Strauss, Eric A; Munn, Mark D

    2008-01-01

    Physical, chemical, hydrologic, and biologic factors affecting nitrate (NO3(-)) removal were evaluated in three agricultural streams draining orchard/dairy and row crop settings. Using 3-d "snapshots" during biotically active periods, we estimated reach-level NO3(-) sources, NO3(-) mass balance, in-stream processing (nitrification, denitrification, and NO3(-) uptake), and NO3(-) retention potential associated with surface water transport and ground water discharge. Ground water contributed 5 to 11% to stream discharge along the study reaches and 8 to 42% of gross NO3(-) input. Streambed processes potentially reduced 45 to 75% of ground water NO3(-) before discharge to surface water. In all streams, transient storage was of little importance for surface water NO3(-) retention. Estimated nitrification (1.6-4.4 mg N m(-2) h(-1)) and unamended denitrification rates (2.0-16.3 mg N m(-2) h(-1)) in sediment slurries were high relative to pristine streams. Denitrification of NO3(-) was largely independent of nitrification because both stream and ground water were sources of NO3(-). Unamended denitrification rates extrapolated to the reach-scale accounted for <5% of NO3(-) exported from the reaches minimally reducing downstream loads. Nitrate retention as a percentage of gross NO3(-) inputs was >30% in an organic-poor, autotrophic stream with the lowest denitrification potentials and highest benthic chlorophyll a, photosynthesis/respiration ratio, pH, dissolved oxygen, and diurnal NO3(-) variation. Biotic processing potentially removed 75% of ground water NO3(-) at this site, suggesting an important role for photosynthetic assimilation of ground water NO3(-) relative to subsurface denitrification as water passed directly through benthic diatom beds.

  4. Fugitive methane emissions from natural, urban, agricultural, and energy-production landscapes of eastern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kelly, Bryce F. J.; Iverach, Charlotte P.; Lowry, Dave; Fisher, Rebecca E.; France, James L.; Nisbet, Euan G.

    2015-04-01

    Modern cavity ringdown spectroscopy systems (CRDS) enable the continuous measurement of methane concentration. This allows for improved quantification of greenhouse gas emissions associated with various natural and human landscapes. We present a subset of over 4000 km of continuous methane surveying along the east coast of Australia, made using a Picarro G2301 CRDS, deployed in a utility vehicle with an air inlet above the roof at 2.2 mAGL. Measurements were made every 5 seconds to a precision of <0.5 ppb for CH4. These surveys were undertaken during dry daytime hours and all measurements were moisture corrected. We compare the concentration of methane in the near surface atmosphere adjacent to open-cut coal mines, unconventional gas developments (coal seam gas; CSG), and leaks detected in cities and country towns. In areas of dryland crops the median methane concentration was 1.78 ppm, while in the irrigation districts located on vertisol soils the concentration was as low as 1.76 ppm, which may indicate that these soils are a sink for methane. In the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, open-cut coal mining district we mapped a continuous 50 km interval where the concentration of methane exceeded 1.80 ppm. The median concentration in this interval was 2.02 ppm. Peak readings were beyond the range of the reliable measurement (in excess of 3.00 ppm). This extended plume is an amalgamation of plumes from 17 major pits 1 to 10 km in length. Adjacent to CSG developments in the Surat Basin, southeast Queensland, only small anomalies were detected near the well-heads. Throughout the vast majority of the gas fields the concentration of methane was below 1.80 ppm. The largest source of fugitive methane associated with CSG was off-gassing methane from the co-produced water holding ponds. At one location the down wind plume had a cross section of approximately 1 km where the concentration of methane was above 1.80 ppm. The median concentration within this section was 1.82 ppm

  5. Facilitation of a native pest of rice, Stenotus rubrovittatus (Hemiptera: Miridae), by the non-native Lolium multiflorum (Cyperales: Poaceae) in an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Yoshioka, Akira; Takada, Mayura; Washitani, Izumi

    2011-10-01

    Source populations of polyphagous pests often occur on host plants other than the economically damaged crop. We evaluated the contribution of patches of a non-native meadow grass, Lolium multiflorum Lam. (Poaceae), and other weeds growing in fallow fields or meadows as source hosts of an important native pest of rice, Stenotus rubrovittatus (Matsumura) (Hemiptera: Miridae), in an agricultural landscape of northern Japan. Periodical censuses of this mirid bug by using the sweeping method, vegetation surveys, and statistical analysis revealed that L. multiflorum was the only plant species that was positively correlated with the density of adult S. rubrovittatus through two generations and thus may be the most stable and important host of the mirid bug early in the season before the colonization of rice paddies. The risk and cost of such an indirect negative effect on a crop plant through facilitation of a native pest by a non-native plant in the agricultural landscape should not be overlooked.

  6. Conservation of Pollinators in Traditional Agricultural Landscapes - New Challenges in Transylvania (Romania) Posed by EU Accession and Recommendations for Future Research.

    PubMed

    Kovács-Hostyánszki, Anikó; Földesi, Rita; Mózes, Edina; Szirák, Ádám; Fischer, Joern; Hanspach, Jan; Báldi, András

    2016-01-01

    Farmland biodiversity is strongly declining in most of Western Europe, but still survives in traditional low intensity agricultural landscapes in Central and Eastern Europe. Accession to the EU however intensifies agriculture, which leads to the vanishing of traditional farming. Our aim was to describe the pollinator assemblages of the last remnants of these landscapes, thus set the baseline of sustainable farming for pollination, and to highlight potential measures of conservation. In these traditional farmlands in the Transylvanian Basin, Romania (EU accession in 2007), we studied the major pollinator groups-wild bees, hoverflies and butterflies. Landscape scale effects of semi-natural habitats, land cover diversity, the effects of heterogeneity and woody vegetation cover and on-site flower resources were tested on pollinator communities in traditionally managed arable fields and grasslands. Our results showed: (i) semi-natural habitats at the landscape scale have a positive effect on most pollinators, especially in the case of low heterogeneity of the direct vicinity of the studied sites; (ii) both arable fields and grasslands hold abundant flower resources, thus both land use types are important in sustaining pollinator communities; (iii) thus, pollinator conservation can rely even on arable fields under traditional management regime. This has an indirect message that the tiny flower margins around large intensive fields in west Europe can be insufficient conservation measures to restore pollinator communities at the landscape scale, as this is still far the baseline of necessary flower resources. This hypothesis needs further study, which includes more traditional landscapes providing baseline, and exploration of other factors behind the lower than baseline level biodiversity values of fields under agri-environmental schemes (AES).

  7. Conservation of Pollinators in Traditional Agricultural Landscapes – New Challenges in Transylvania (Romania) Posed by EU Accession and Recommendations for Future Research

    PubMed Central

    Kovács-Hostyánszki, Anikó; Földesi, Rita; Mózes, Edina; Szirák, Ádám; Fischer, Joern; Hanspach, Jan; Báldi, András

    2016-01-01

    Farmland biodiversity is strongly declining in most of Western Europe, but still survives in traditional low intensity agricultural landscapes in Central and Eastern Europe. Accession to the EU however intensifies agriculture, which leads to the vanishing of traditional farming. Our aim was to describe the pollinator assemblages of the last remnants of these landscapes, thus set the baseline of sustainable farming for pollination, and to highlight potential measures of conservation. In these traditional farmlands in the Transylvanian Basin, Romania (EU accession in 2007), we studied the major pollinator groups—wild bees, hoverflies and butterflies. Landscape scale effects of semi-natural habitats, land cover diversity, the effects of heterogeneity and woody vegetation cover and on-site flower resources were tested on pollinator communities in traditionally managed arable fields and grasslands. Our results showed: (i) semi-natural habitats at the landscape scale have a positive effect on most pollinators, especially in the case of low heterogeneity of the direct vicinity of the studied sites; (ii) both arable fields and grasslands hold abundant flower resources, thus both land use types are important in sustaining pollinator communities; (iii) thus, pollinator conservation can rely even on arable fields under traditional management regime. This has an indirect message that the tiny flower margins around large intensive fields in west Europe can be insufficient conservation measures to restore pollinator communities at the landscape scale, as this is still far the baseline of necessary flower resources. This hypothesis needs further study, which includes more traditional landscapes providing baseline, and exploration of other factors behind the lower than baseline level biodiversity values of fields under agri-environmental schemes (AES). PMID:27285118

  8. Structure and composition of altered riparian forests in an agricultural Amazonian landscape.

    PubMed

    Nagy, R Chelsea; Porder, Stephen; Neill, Christopher; Brando, Paulo; Quintino, Raimundo Mota; do Nascimento, Sebastiâo Aviz

    2015-09-01

    Deforestation and fragmentation influence the microclimate, vegetation structure, and composition of remaining patches of tropical forest. In the southern Amazon, at the frontier of cropland expansion, forests are converted and fragmented in a pattern that leaves standing riparian forests whose dimensions are mandated by the Brazilian National Forest Code. These altered riparian forests share many characteristics of well-studied upland forest fragments, but differ because they remain connected to larger areas of forest downstream, and because they may experience wetter soil conditions because reduction of forest cover in the surrounding watershed raises groundwater levels and increases stream runoff. We compared forest regeneration, structure, composition, and diversity in four areas of intact riparian forest and four areas each of narrow, medium, and wide altered riparian forests that have been surrounded by agriculture since the early 1980s. We found that seedling abundance was reduced by as much as 64% and sapling abundance was reduced by as much as 67% in altered compared to intact riparian forests. The most pronounced differences between altered and intact forest occurred near forest edges and within the narrowest sections of altered riparian forests. Woody plant species composition differed and diversity was reduced in altered forests compared to intact riparian forests. However, despite being fragmented for several decades, large woody plant biomass and carbon storage, the number of live or dead large woody plants, mortality rates, and the size distribution of woody plants did not differ significantly between altered and intact riparian forests. Thus, even in these relatively narrow forests with high edge: area ratios, we saw no evidence of the increases in mortality and declines in biomass that have been found in other tropical forest fragment studies. However, because of the changes in both species community and reduced regeneration, it is unclear how long

  9. Whole-stream response to nitrate loading in three streams draining agricultural landscapes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Duff, J.H.; Tesoriero, A.J.; Richardson, W.B.; Strauss, E.A.; Munn, M.D.

    2008-01-01

    Physical, chemical, hydrologic, and biologic factors affecting nitrate (NO3 −) removal were evaluated in three agricultural streams draining orchard/dairy and row crop settings. Using 3-d “snapshots” during biotically active periods, we estimated reach-level NO3 − sources, NO3 − mass balance, in-stream processing (nitrification, denitrification, and NO3 − uptake), and NO3 − retention potential associated with surface water transport and ground water discharge. Ground water contributed 5 to 11% to stream discharge along the study reaches and 8 to 42% of gross NO3 − input. Streambed processes potentially reduced 45 to 75% of ground water NO3 − before discharge to surface water. In all streams, transient storage was of little importance for surface water NO3 − retention. Estimated nitrification (1.6–4.4 mg N m−2 h−1) and unamended denitrification rates (2.0–16.3 mg N m−2 h−1) in sediment slurries were high relative to pristine streams. Denitrification of NO3 − was largely independent of nitrification because both stream and ground water were sources of NO3 − Unamended denitrification rates extrapolated to the reach-scale accounted for <5% of NO3 − exported from the reaches minimally reducing downstream loads. Nitrate retention as a percentage of gross NO3 − inputs was >30% in an organic-poor, autotrophic stream with the lowest denitrification potentials and highest benthic chlorophyll a, photosynthesis/respiration ratio, pH, dissolved oxygen, and diurnal NO3 − variation. Biotic processing potentially removed 75% of ground water NO3 − at this site, suggesting an important role for photosynthetic assimilation of ground water NO3 − relative to subsurface denitrification as water passed directly through benthic diatom beds.

  10. The relative importance of fertilization and soil erosion on C-dynamics in agricultural landscapes of NE Germany

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pohl, Madlen; Hoffmann, Mathias; Hagemann, Ulrike; Jurisch, Nicole; Remus, Rainer; Sommer, Michael; Augustin, Jürgen

    2016-04-01

    The hummocky ground moraine landscape of north-east Germany is characterized by distinct small-scale soil heterogeneity on the one hand, and intensive energy crop cultivation on the other. Both factors are assumed to significantly influence gaseous C exchange, and thus driving the dynamics of soil organic carbon stocks in terrestrial, agricultural ecosystems. However, it is not yet clear to which extent fertilization and soil erosional status influence soil C dynamics and whether one of these factors is more relevant than the other. We present seasonal and dynamic soil C balances of biogas maize for the growing season 2011, recorded at different sites located within the CarboZALF experimental area. The sites differ regarding soils (non-eroded Albic Luvisols (Cutanic), extremely eroded Calcaric Regosol and depositional Endogleyic Colluvic Regosol,) and applied fertilizer (100% mineral N fertilizer, 50% mineral and 50% N organic fertilizer, 100% organic N fertilizer). Fertilization treatments were established on the Albic Luvisol (Cutanic). Net-CO2-exchange (NEE) and ecosystem respiration (Reco) were measured every four weeks using a dynamic flow-through non-steady-state closed manual chamber system. Gap filling was performed based on empirical temperature and PAR dependency functions to derive daily NEE values. At the same time, daily above-ground biomass production (NPP) was estimated based on biomass samples and final harvest, using a sigmoidal growth function. In a next step, dynamic soil C balances were generated as the balance of daily NEE and NPP considering the initial C input due to N fertilizers. The resulted seasonal soil C balances varied from strong C losses at the Endogleyic Colluvic Regosol (602 g C m-2) to C gains at the Calcaric Regosol (-132 g C m-2). In general, soils exerted a stronger impact on seasonal and dynamic C balances compared to differences in applied N fertilizer. There are indications that inter-annual variations in climate conditions

  11. Environmental factors related to the abundance and activity of Ochlerotatus albifasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) in an agricultural landscape of steppe arid climate.

    PubMed

    Garzón, M J; Jensen, O; Schweigmann, N

    2014-07-01

    Ochlerotatus albifasciatus (Macquart) is a flood water mosquito whose highest density has been found associated both with natural landscapes (prairies or grazing fields) in temperate and subtropical regions and with rainfall events. In the current study, we aimed to find out how the marked differences between environmental factors of agricultural landscape patches in a steppe arid region affect the relative abundance of this species. In wetland patches, the high activity of adults was closely associated with the flood irrigation system, suggesting that the agricultural activity contributes to the proliferation of this mosquito. The steppe patches would constitute an adverse environment reflected by the abrupt decrease in abundance. Multiple linear regression showed that some explanatory variables, such as wetland patches and moment of the day (midday), did not contribute significantly to the relative abundance variation. In contrast, temperature, wind, and cloud cover seemed to regulate the biting activity of females. Temperature affected the activity of mosquitoes in the steppe but seemed to have no effect in wetland patches, where the activity of mosquitoes was permanent and more stable against changes in temperature. In the steppe, which presents low levels of humidity, scarce vegetation, and greater wind exposure, the activity seemed to be unstable against small thermal variations. The variability of the relative abundance of Oc. albifasciatus in an agricultural landscape was widely explained by temperature in combination with the microenvironment type, wind speed, and cloud cover and indirectly by human activity.

  12. Landscape factors influencing the spatial distribution and abundance of mosquito vector Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) in a mixed residential-agricultural community in Hawai'i

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reiter, M.E.; Lapointe, D.A.

    2007-01-01

    Mosquito-borne avian diseases, principally avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum Grassi and Feletti) and avian pox (Avipoxvirus sp.) have been implicated as the key limiting factor associated with recent declines of endemic avifauna in the Hawaiian Island archipelago. We present data on the relative abundance, infection status, and spatial distribution of the primary mosquito vector Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae) across a mixed, residential-agricultural community adjacent to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on Hawai'i Island. We modeled the effect of agriculture and forest fragmentation in determining relative abundance of adult Cx. quinquefasciatus in Volcano Village, and we implement our statistical model in a geographic information system to generate a probability of mosquito capture prediction surface for the study area. Our model was based on biweekly captures of adult mosquitoes from 20 locations within Volcano Village from October 2001 to April 2003. We used mixed effects logistic regression to model the probability of capturing a mosquito, and we developed a set of 17 competing models a priori to specifically evaluate the effect of agriculture and fragmentation (i.e., residential landscapes) at two spatial scales. In total, 2,126 mosquitoes were captured in CO 2-baited traps with an average probability of 0.27 (SE = 0.10) of capturing one or more mosquitoes per trap night. Twelve percent of mosquitoes captured were infected with P. relictum. Our data indicate that agricultural lands and forest fragmentation significantly increase the probability of mosquito capture. The prediction surface identified areas along the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park boundary that may have high relative abundance of the vector. Our data document the potential of avian malaria transmission in residential-agricultural landscapes and support the need for vector management that extends beyond reserve boundaries and considers a reserve's spatial position in a highly

  13. Caesium-137 root uptake by agricultural and wild crops in post-Chernobyl landscape: the possibilities for phytoremediation?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paramonova, Tatiana; Shamshurina, Eugenia; Komissarova, Olga; Belyaev, Vladimir

    2015-04-01

    In spite of long term period after Chernobyl fallout (≈25 years after the accident) the level of Cs-137 in soils of contaminated landscapes remains several times more than radiation safety standard (= 37 kBq/m2). In particular, within the area of Plavsk radioactive hot spot (Tula region, Russia) current Cs-137 activities in soil are 460-500 Bq/kg (170-200 kBq/m2) on watershed, 580-680 Bq/kg (200-220 kBq/m2) in arable lower parts of slopes and 620-710 Bq/kg (210-280 kBq/m2) in untilled foots of slopes and river floodplains. To estimate the process of Cs-137 root uptake and incorporation of the radionuclide in plant tissues 6 agricultural crops of typical field rotation (spring barley, maize, summer rape, galega, potatoes, amaranth) as well as natural ecosystems of dry and wet meadows were selected for the detailed study. Total bioproductivity of agricultural crops varies between 1.7-3.9 kg/m2, natural grass ecosystems - 1.9-2.2 g/m2, and is obviously unaffected by radioactive land contamination. At the same time Cs-137 activity in total biomass slightly increases with Cs-137 activity in soil (correlation coefficient r=0.45) and with total biomass (correlation coefficient r=0.51) in the row: rape (5 Bq/kg) < amaranth, galega (17-19 Bq/kg) < barley, potatoes (31-37 Bq/kg) < maize (58 Bq/kg) < dry meadow (73 Bq/kg) < wet meadow (120 Bq/kg). Commonly, Cs-137 activity in vegetation of natural ecosystems with predominance of perennial grasses is significantly higher than in agrosystems with annual crops. But a substantial portion of Cs-137 in meadow vegetation is associated with belowground biomass, where the radionuclide's activity is 3-5 times greater than in the aboveground part. The distribution of Cs-137 activities between above- and belowground parts of agricultural crops greatly varies depending on the biological characteristics of plants: barley and maize (Gramíneae family) are also characterized by elevated Cs-137 concentrations in belowground parts (12

  14. Simulating Sustainable P Management Practices in Tile-Drained Landscapes of Central Ohio Using the Agricultural Policy Environmental Extender (APEX)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ford, W. I., III; King, K.; Williams, M.

    2014-12-01

    Despite extensive application of conservation practices to minimize sediment P delivery to streams, hypoxic conditions and harmful algal blooms persist in receiving water bodies. Tile-drainage networks are a focal point for reducing soluble P in the food-producing Midwestern United States in that they promote higher connectivity between upland soils and stream channels which decreases soil contact time, and biogeochemical alterations. A critical next step to reduce the environmental impact and maintain sustainable agriculture is to implement best management practices (BMPs) under a holistic framework that considers adverse effects to water resources and crop production, while maintaining economic feasibility. The objective of this study was to apply a robust numerical model, the Agricultural Policy Environmental Extender (APEX), in a tile-drained landscape in Central Ohio in order to evaluate the effectiveness of a suite of BMPs on soluble and particulate P delivery to stream channels. The model was applied and evaluated at two adjacent edge-of-field sites with similar soil, topographic and management characteristics (except for tillage and tile installation on the south field in 2012, preceded by more than 20 years of no-till operations). Three years of daily discharge, total suspended solids, soluble P, soluble N (NO3 and NH4), total P, total N, and crop yields were utilized to verify the model performance. Prevalent BMPs simulated within the modeling framework included drainage water management, tillage and crop rotations, the 4Rs framework (right fertilizer source, rate, time, and placement), and bioreactors. Results of the study quantify the ability of the numerical model to simulate hydrology and P transport for surface runoff and subsurface tile drainage and highlight modifications that improve model performance. Further, results highlight BMPs that effectively reduce P loads to streams while maintaining crop yields, which can later be used to inform BMPs

  15. Implementing automatic LiDAR and supervised mapping methodologies to quantify agricultural terraced landforms at landscape scale: the case of Veneto Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eugenio Pappalardo, Salvatore; Ferrarese, Francesco; Tarolli, Paolo; Varotto, Mauro

    2016-04-01

    Traditional agricultural terraced landscapes presently embody an important cultural value to be deeply investigated, both for their role in local heritage and cultural economy and for their potential geo-hydrological hazard due to abandonment and degradation. Moreover, traditional terraced landscapes are usually based on non-intensive agro-systems and may enhance some important ecosystems services such as agro-biodiversity conservation and cultural services. Due to their unplanned genesis, mapping, quantifying and classifying agricultural terraces at regional scale is often critical as far as they are usually set up on geomorphologically and historically complex landscapes. Hence, traditional mapping methods are generally based on scientific literature and local documentation, historical and cadastral sources, technical cartography and aerial images visual interpretation or, finally, field surveys. By this, limitations and uncertainty in mapping at regional scale are basically related to forest cover and lack in thematic cartography. The Veneto Region (NE of Italy) presents a wide heterogeneity of agricultural terraced landscapes, mainly distributed within the hilly and Prealps areas. Previous studies performed by traditional mapping method quantified 2,688 ha of terraced areas, showing the higher values within the Prealps of Lessinia (1,013 ha, within the Province of Verona) and in the Brenta Valley (421 ha, within the Province of Vicenza); however, terraced features of these case studies show relevant differences in terms of fragmentation and intensity of terraces, highlighting dissimilar degrees of clusterization: 1.7 ha on one hand (Province of Verona) and 1.2 ha per terraced area (Province of Vicenza) on the other one. The aim of this paper is to implement and to compare automatic methodologies with traditional survey methodologies to map and assess agricultural terraces in two representative areas of the Veneto Region. Testing different Remote Sensing

  16. Mosaic-level inference of the impact of land cover changes in agricultural landscapes on biodiversity: a case-study with a threatened grassland bird.

    PubMed

    Moreira, Francisco; Silva, João P; Estanque, Beatriz; Palmeirim, Jorge M; Lecoq, Miguel; Pinto, Márcia; Leitão, Domingos; Alonso, Ivan; Pedroso, Rui; Santos, Eduardo; Catry, Teresa; Silva, Patricia; Henriques, Inês; Delgado, Ana

    2012-01-01

    Changes in land use/land cover are a major driver of biodiversity change in the Mediterranean region. Understanding how animal populations respond to these landscape changes often requires using landscape mosaics as the unit of investigation, but few previous studies have measured both response and explanatory variables at the land mosaic level. Here, we used a "whole-landscape" approach to assess the influence of regional variation in the land cover composition of 81 farmland mosaics (mean area of 2900 ha) on the population density of a threatened bird, the little bustard (Tetrax tetrax), in southern Portugal. Results showed that ca. 50% of the regional variability in the density of little bustards could be explained by three variables summarising the land cover composition and diversity in the studied mosaics. Little bustard breeding males attained higher population density in land mosaics with a low land cover diversity, with less forests, and dominated by grasslands. Land mosaic composition gradients showed that agricultural intensification was not reflected in a loss of land cover diversity, as in many other regions of Europe. On the contrary, it led to the introduction of new land cover types in homogenous farmland, which increased land cover diversity but reduced overall landscape suitability for the species. Based on these results, the impact of recent land cover changes in Europe on the little bustard populations is evaluated.

  17. Predicted effect of landscape position on wildlife habitat value of Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program wetlands in a tile-drained agricultural region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Otis, David L.; Crumpton, William R.; Green, David; Loan-Wilsey, Anna; Cooper, Tom; Johnson, Rex R.

    2013-01-01

    Justification for investment in restored or constructed wetland projects are often based on presumed net increases in ecosystem services. However, quantitative assessment of performance metrics is often difficult and restricted to a single objective. More comprehensive performance assessments could help inform decision-makers about trade-offs in services provided by alternative restoration program design attributes. The primary goal of the Iowa Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is to establish wetlands that efficiently remove nitrates from tile-drained agricultural landscapes. A secondary objective is provision of wildlife habitat. We used existing wildlife habitat models to compare relative net change in potential wildlife habitat value for four alternative landscape positions of wetlands within the watershed. Predicted species richness and habitat value for birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles generally increased as the wetland position moved lower in the watershed. However, predicted average net increase between pre- and post-project value was dependent on taxonomic group. The increased average wetland area and changes in surrounding upland habitat composition among landscape positions were responsible for these differences. Net change in predicted densities of several grassland bird species at the four landscape positions was variable and species-dependent. Predicted waterfowl breeding activity was greater for lower drainage position wetlands. Although our models are simplistic and provide only a predictive index of potential habitat value, we believe such assessment exercises can provide a tool for coarse-level comparisons of alternative proposed project attributes and a basis for constructing informed hypotheses in auxiliary empirical field studies.

  18. Landscape effects of a non-native grass facilitate source populations of a native generalist bug, Stenotus rubrovittatus, in a heterogeneous agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Yoshioka, A; Takada, M B; Washitani, I

    2014-01-01

    Non-native plant species can provide native generalist insects, including pests, with novel food and habitats. It is hypothesized that local and landscape-level abundances of non-native plants can affect the population size of generalist insects, although generalists are assumed to be less sensitive to habitat connectivity than specialists. In a heterogeneous landscape in Japan, the relationship between the density of a native pest of rice (Stenotus rubrovittatus (Matsumura) (Heteroptera: Miridae)) and the abundance of Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam. (Poales: Poaceae)), a non-native meadow grass known to facilitate S. rubrovittatus, was analyzed. Statistical analyses of data on bug density, vegetation, and the spatial distribution of fallow fields and meadows dominated by Italian ryegrass, obtained by field surveys, demonstrated that local and landscape-level abundances of Italian ryegrass (the unmowed meadow areas within a few hundred meters of a sampling plot) positively affected bug density before its immigration into rice fields. Our findings suggest that a generalist herbivorous insect that prefers non-native plants responds to spatial availability and connectivity of plant species patches at the metapopulation level. Fragmentation by selective mowing that decreases the total area of source populations and increases the isolation among them would be an effective and environmentally-friendly pest management method.

  19. Digital Mapping of Soil Salinity and Crop Yield across a Coastal Agricultural Landscape Using Repeated Electromagnetic Induction (EMI) Surveys

    PubMed Central

    Yao, Rongjiang; Yang, Jingsong; Wu, Danhua; Xie, Wenping; Gao, Peng; Jin, Wenhui

    2016-01-01

    Reliable and real-time information on soil and crop properties is important for the development of management practices in accordance with the requirements of a specific soil and crop within individual field units. This is particularly the case in salt-affected agricultural landscape where managing the spatial variability of soil salinity is essential to minimize salinization and maximize crop output. The primary objectives were to use linear mixed-effects model for soil salinity and crop yield calibration with horizontal and vertical electromagnetic induction (EMI) measurements as ancillary data, to characterize the spatial distribution of soil salinity and crop yield and to verify the accuracy of spatial estimation. Horizontal and vertical EMI (type EM38) measurements at 252 locations were made during each survey, and root zone soil samples and crop samples at 64 sampling sites were collected. This work was periodically conducted on eight dates from June 2012 to May 2013 in a coastal salt-affected mud farmland. Multiple linear regression (MLR) and restricted maximum likelihood (REML) were applied to calibrate root zone soil salinity (ECe) and crop annual output (CAO) using ancillary data, and spatial distribution of soil ECe and CAO was generated using digital soil mapping (DSM) and the precision of spatial estimation was examined using the collected meteorological and groundwater data. Results indicated that a reduced model with EMh as a predictor was satisfactory for root zone ECe calibration, whereas a full model with both EMh and EMv as predictors met the requirement of CAO calibration. The obtained distribution maps of ECe showed consistency with those of EMI measurements at the corresponding time, and the spatial distribution of CAO generated from ancillary data showed agreement with that derived from raw crop data. Statistics of jackknifing procedure confirmed that the spatial estimation of ECe and CAO exhibited reliability and high accuracy. A general

  20. Digital Mapping of Soil Salinity and Crop Yield across a Coastal Agricultural Landscape Using Repeated Electromagnetic Induction (EMI) Surveys.

    PubMed

    Yao, Rongjiang; Yang, Jingsong; Wu, Danhua; Xie, Wenping; Gao, Peng; Jin, Wenhui

    2016-01-01

    Reliable and real-time information on soil and crop properties is important for the development of management practices in accordance with the requirements of a specific soil and crop within individual field units. This is particularly the case in salt-affected agricultural landscape where managing the spatial variability of soil salinity is essential to minimize salinization and maximize crop output. The primary objectives were to use linear mixed-effects model for soil salinity and crop yield calibration with horizontal and vertical electromagnetic induction (EMI) measurements as ancillary data, to characterize the spatial distribution of soil salinity and crop yield and to verify the accuracy of spatial estimation. Horizontal and vertical EMI (type EM38) measurements at 252 locations were made during each survey, and root zone soil samples and crop samples at 64 sampling sites were collected. This work was periodically conducted on eight dates from June 2012 to May 2013 in a coastal salt-affected mud farmland. Multiple linear regression (MLR) and restricted maximum likelihood (REML) were applied to calibrate root zone soil salinity (ECe) and crop annual output (CAO) using ancillary data, and spatial distribution of soil ECe and CAO was generated using digital soil mapping (DSM) and the precision of spatial estimation was examined using the collected meteorological and groundwater data. Results indicated that a reduced model with EMh as a predictor was satisfactory for root zone ECe calibration, whereas a full model with both EMh and EMv as predictors met the requirement of CAO calibration. The obtained distribution maps of ECe showed consistency with those of EMI measurements at the corresponding time, and the spatial distribution of CAO generated from ancillary data showed agreement with that derived from raw crop data. Statistics of jackknifing procedure confirmed that the spatial estimation of ECe and CAO exhibited reliability and high accuracy. A general

  1. Estimating evapotranspiration over agricultural landscapes with thermal infrared data: comparison of two approaches using Simple Energy Budget and SVAT modeling.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bigeard, G.; Coudert, B.; Jarlan, L.; Er-Raki, S.; Khabba, S.

    2012-04-01

    Evapotranspiration (ET) monitoring presents wide range of applications from agriculture and water resources management to meteorology. Several approaches have been developed to retrieve ET based on a joint use of remote sensing data and land surface modeling, in particular with a SVAT (Soil Vegetation Atmosphere Transfers) model or a SEB (Surface Energy Budget) model. The objective of our work is to estimate spatialized ET fluxes from Thermal Infra-Red (TIR) imagery, focusing on simulating fluxes at low spatial resolution with 2 methodologies: 1. Simulating with a SEB model directly at low resolution (landscape scale: 4km) with TIR forcing. 2. Aggregating high resolution (agricultural field scale) estimates from a SVAT model constrained by TIR data and based on a high spatial resolution database (landcover, LAI, vegetation height, meteorological forcing and irrigation). In a first part we sum up previous results about in-situ capabilities of a SEB model (TSEB, Norman & al. 1995) versus a SVAT model (SEtHyS, described by Coudert & al. 2006) over crops. TSEB is driven directly with TIR forcing and does not consider soil water transfers. SEtHyS doesn't rely on TIR data availability but it has more parameters and requires more inputs for initialization. Simulations of both models were compared to in-situ Eddy-Correlation (EC) fluxes, with data from 3 sites in southern France and Morocco, covering several kinds of cultures, various vegetative states and various meteorological conditions. A sensitivity analysis on inputs was used to better characterize their capabilities and behaviors, and quantify error ranges induced by spatialization. Globally, models provide estimations of latent heat flux (LE) with RMSD of around 55W/m2 for TSEB and 45W/m2 for SEtHyS. Energy fluxes partition in TSEB was shown to be relatively less sensitive to some inputs when using only a single set of parameters. However it has lower performances on rising vegetation and stressed vegetation

  2. Measures of the EU Agri-Environmental Protection Scheme (GAEPS) and their impacts on the visual acceptability of Finnish agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Tahvanainen, Liisa; Ihalainen, Marjut; Hietala-Koivu, Reija; Kolehmainen, Osmo; Tyrväinen, Liisa; Nousiainen, Ismo; Helenius, Juha

    2002-11-01

    As a member of the European Union, Finland has committed itself to creating an environmental policy for agriculture. The aims of this study were to evaluate visual impacts of the General Agri-Environmental Protection Scheme (GAEPS) and Supplementary Protection Scheme (SPS) and general attitudes towards some activities in those policies and furthermore to examine the suitability of the method of Alho et al. (2001) for the scenic beauty assessment. The study areas consisted of three original, untreated, and 15 modified rural landscapes representing a variety of different activities. The scenic beauty of the landscapes was evaluated through pairwise comparisons of the responses of 68 people. Furthermore, attitudes towards environmental values, water protection, buffer strips and subsidies to agriculture were obtained. The respondents found the maintained buffer strips more pleasing than unmaintained strips and considered that the quality of watercourses was increased by buffer strips along them. A suitable width for the buffer strip along main ditches, brooks and waterways was regarded, on average, to be wider than the current recommendations. Although the opinions of farmers were basically in line with the existing recommendations, farmers' opininons on the second and third most important effects of buffer strips, an increase in weeds and a decrease in cultivated land, clearly differed from those of the other respondents. Afforestation, lack of building maintenance and abandoned fields were considered to be the most important factors impacting rural landscapes. This study indicates that the Finnish Agri-Environmental Protection Schemes have had positive impacts on the visual quality of landscapes. Attitudes towards other impacts are contradictory. This study also showed the improvement of the Alho et al. (2001) method in these kinds of studies relative to other methods of pairwise comparisons.

  3. How hedge woody species diversity and habitat change is a function of land use history and recent management in a European agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    McCann, Thomas; Cooper, Alan; Rogers, David; McKenzie, Paul; McErlean, Thomas

    2017-07-01

    European hedged agricultural landscapes provide a range of ecosystem services and are an important component of cultural and biodiversity heritage. This paper investigates the extent of hedges, their woody species diversity (including the influence of historical versus recent hedge origin) and dynamics of change. The rationale is to contribute to an ecological basis for hedge habitat management. Sample sites were allocated based on a multivariate classification of landscape attributes. All field boundaries present in each site were mapped and surveyed in 1998 and 2007. To assess diversity, a list of all woody species was recorded in one standard 30 m linear plot within each hedge. There was a net decrease in hedge habitat extent, mainly as a result of removal, and changes between hedges and other field boundary types due to the development and loss of shrub growth-form. Agricultural intensification, increased rural building, and variation in hedge management practices were the main drivers of change. Hedges surveyed at baseline, which were lost at resurvey, were more species rich than new hedges gained. Hedges coinciding with historical land unit boundaries of likely Early Medieval origin were found to be more species rich. The most frequent woody species in hedges were native, including a high proportion with Fraxinus excelsior, a species under threat from current and emerging plant pests and pathogens. Introduced species were present in circa 30% of hedges. We conclude that since hedge habitat distribution and woody species diversity is a function of ecology and anthropogenic factors, the management of hedges in enclosed agricultural landscapes requires an integrated approach. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Changes in Carbon Pools 50 Years after Reversion of a Landscape Dominated by Agriculture to Managed Forests in the Upper Southeastern Atlantic Coastal Plain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dai, Z.; Trettin, C.; Parresol, B. R.; Li, C.

    2010-12-01

    The landscape of the upper coastal plain of South Carolina in the late 1940’s was typified by rural agricultural communities and farms comprising cleared fields and mixed-use woodlots. Approximately 80,000 ha of that landscape was appropriated by the US Government in the early 1950’s to form the Savannah River Site which is now managed by the US Dept. of Energy. The US Forest Service was engaged to reforest the agricultural parcels, 40% of the tract, and to develop sustainable management practices for the woodlots and restored areas. As part of the acquisition process in 1951, a complete inventory of the land and forest resources were conducted. In 2001, an intensive forest survey was conducted which encompassed 90% of the tract, detailing the above-ground biomass pools. We’ve used those inventories in conjunction with soil resource data to assemble a carbon balance sheet encompassing the above and belowground carbon pools over the 50 year period. We’ve also employed inventories on forest removals, forest burning and runoff to estimate fluxes from the landscape over the same period. There was a net sequestration of 5,486 Gg of C in forest vegetation over the 50 yr. period (1.5 Mg ha-1 yr-1), with carbon density increasing from 6.3 to 83.3 Mg ha-1. The reforestation of the agricultural land and the increased density of the former woodlots was the cause of the gain. Fifty years after imposition of silvicultural prescriptions, the forest composition has changed from being dominated by hardwoods to pine. The forest floor increased by 311 Gg carbon. Fluxes in form of harvested wood and oxidation from burning were 24% and 10% respectively of the net gain in vegetative biomass. These findings document real changes in carbon storage on a landscape that was changed from mixed agricultural use to managed forests, and they suggest responses that should be similar if reforestation for biofuels production is expanded.

  5. Modelling effects of chemical exposure on birds wintering in agricultural landscapes: The western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) as a case study

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Engelman, Catherine A.; Grant, William E.; Mora, Miguel A.; Woodin, Marc

    2012-01-01

    We describe an ecotoxicological model that simulates the sublethal and lethal effects of chronic, low-level, chemical exposure on birds wintering in agricultural landscapes. Previous models estimating the impact on wildlife of chemicals used in agro-ecosystems typically have not included the variety of pathways, including both dermal and oral, by which individuals are exposed. The present model contains four submodels simulating (1) foraging behavior of individual birds, (2) chemical applications to crops, (3) transfers of chemicals among soil, insects, and small mammals, and (4) transfers of chemicals to birds via ingestion and dermal exposure. We demonstrate use of the model by simulating the impacts of a variety of commonly used herbicides, insecticides, growth regulators, and defoliants on western burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) that winter in agricultural landscapes in southern Texas, United States. The model generated reasonable movement patterns for each chemical through soil, water, insects, and rodents, as well as into the owl via consumption and dermal absorption. Sensitivity analysis suggested model predictions were sensitive to uncertainty associated with estimates of chemical half-lives in birds, soil, and prey, sensitive to parameters associated with estimating dermal exposure, and relatively insensitive to uncertainty associated with details of chemical application procedures (timing of application, amount of drift). Nonetheless, the general trends in chemical accumulations and the relative impacts of the various chemicals were robust to these parameter changes. Simulation results suggested that insecticides posed a greater potential risk to owls of both sublethal and lethal effects than do herbicides, defoliants, and growth regulators under crop scenarios typical of southern Texas, and that use of multiple indicators, or endpoints provided a more accurate assessment of risk due to agricultural chemical exposure. The model should prove

  6. Modelling effects of chemical exposure on birds wintering in agricultural landscapes: The western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) as a case study

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Engelman, C.A.; Grant, W.E.; Mora, M.A.; Woodin, M.

    2012-01-01

    We describe an ecotoxicological model that simulates the sublethal and lethal effects of chronic, low-level, chemical exposure on birds wintering in agricultural landscapes. Previous models estimating the impact on wildlife of chemicals used in agro-ecosystems typically have not included the variety of pathways, including both dermal and oral, by which individuals are exposed. The present model contains four submodels simulating (1) foraging behavior of individual birds, (2) chemical applications to crops, (3) transfers of chemicals among soil, insects, and small mammals, and (4) transfers of chemicals to birds via ingestion and dermal exposure. We demonstrate use of the model by simulating the impacts of a variety of commonly used herbicides, insecticides, growth regulators, and defoliants on western burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) that winter in agricultural landscapes in southern Texas, United States. The model generated reasonable movement patterns for each chemical through soil, water, insects, and rodents, as well as into the owl via consumption and dermal absorption. Sensitivity analysis suggested model predictions were sensitive to uncertainty associated with estimates of chemical half-lives in birds, soil, and prey, sensitive to parameters associated with estimating dermal exposure, and relatively insensitive to uncertainty associated with details of chemical application procedures (timing of application, amount of drift). Nonetheless, the general trends in chemical accumulations and the relative impacts of the various chemicals were robust to these parameter changes. Simulation results suggested that insecticides posed a greater potential risk to owls of both sublethal and lethal effects than do herbicides, defoliants, and growth regulators under crop scenarios typical of southern Texas, and that use of multiple indicators, or endpoints provided a more accurate assessment of risk due to agricultural chemical exposure. The model should prove

  7. Mosaics often outperform pyramids: insights from a model comparing strategies for the deployment of plant resistance genes against viruses in agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Djidjou-Demasse, Ramses; Moury, Benoît; Fabre, Frédéric

    2017-10-01

    The breakdown of plant virus resistance genes is a major issue in agriculture. We investigated whether a set of resistance genes would last longer when stacked into a single plant cultivar (pyramiding) or when deployed individually in regional mosaics (mosaic strategy). We modeled the genetic and epidemiological processes shaping the demogenetic dynamics of viruses under a multilocus gene-for-gene system, from the plant to landscape scales. The landscape consisted of many fields, was subject to seasonality, and of a reservoir hosting viruses year-round. Strategy performance depended principally on the fitness costs of adaptive mutations, epidemic intensity before resistance deployment and landscape connectivity. Mosaics were at least as good as pyramiding strategies in most production situations tested. Pyramiding strategies performed better only with slowly changing virus reservoir dynamics. Mosaics are more versatile than pyramiding strategies, and we found that deploying a mosaic of three to five resistance genes generally provided effective disease control, unless the epidemics were driven mostly by within-field infections. We considered the epidemiological and evolutionary mechanisms underlying the greater versatility of mosaics in our case study, with a view to providing breeders and growers with guidance as to the most appropriate deployment strategy. © 2017 INRA. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.

  8. Mosaic-Level Inference of the Impact of Land Cover Changes in Agricultural Landscapes on Biodiversity: A Case-Study with a Threatened Grassland Bird

    PubMed Central

    Moreira, Francisco; Silva, João P.; Estanque, Beatriz; Palmeirim, Jorge M.; Lecoq, Miguel; Pinto, Márcia; Leitão, Domingos; Alonso, Ivan; Pedroso, Rui; Santos, Eduardo; Catry, Teresa; Silva, Patricia; Henriques, Inês; Delgado, Ana

    2012-01-01

    Changes in land use/land cover are a major driver of biodiversity change in the Mediterranean region. Understanding how animal populations respond to these landscape changes often requires using landscape mosaics as the unit of investigation, but few previous studies have measured both response and explanatory variables at the land mosaic level. Here, we used a “whole-landscape” approach to assess the influence of regional variation in the land cover composition of 81 farmland mosaics (mean area of 2900 ha) on the population density of a threatened bird, the little bustard (Tetrax tetrax), in southern Portugal. Results showed that ca. 50% of the regional variability in the density of little bustards could be explained by three variables summarising the land cover composition and diversity in the studied mosaics. Little bustard breeding males attained higher population density in land mosaics with a low land cover diversity, with less forests, and dominated by grasslands. Land mosaic composition gradients showed that agricultural intensification was not reflected in a loss of land cover diversity, as in many other regions of Europe. On the contrary, it led to the introduction of new land cover types in homogenous farmland, which increased land cover diversity but reduced overall landscape suitability for the species. Based on these results, the impact of recent land cover changes in Europe on the little bustard populations is evaluated. PMID:22723899

  9. Substantial Mortality of Cabbage Looper (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) From Predators in Urban Agriculture Is not Influenced by Scale of Production or Variation in Local and Landscape-Level Factors.

    PubMed

    Lowenstein, David M; Gharehaghaji, Maryam; Wise, David H

    2017-02-01

    As Midwestern (United States) cities experience population decline, there is growing interest in converting underutilized vacant spaces to agricultural production. Urban agriculture varies in area and scope, yet most growers use similar cultivation practices such as avoiding chemical control of crop pests. For community gardens and farms that sell produce commercially, effective pest suppression by natural enemies is important for both societal, economic, and marketing reasons. To gauge the amount of prey suppression at 28 urban food-production sites, we measured removal of sentinel eggs and larvae of the cabbage looper Trichoplusia ni (Hubner), a caterpillar pest that defoliates Brassica. We investigated how landscape and local factors, such as scale of production, influence cabbage looper mortality caused by predators. Predators removed 50% of eggs and 25% of larvae over a 3-d period. Landscape factors did not predict mortality rates, and the amount of loss and damage to sentinel prey were similar across sites that differed in scale (residential gardens, community gardens, and farms). To confirm that removal of sentinel items was likely caused by natural enemies, we set up a laboratory assay that measured predation of cabbage looper eggs and larvae by several predators occurring in urban gardens. Lady beetles caused the highest mortality rates, suggesting their potential value for biocontrol; spiders and pirate bugs also consumed both eggs and larvae at high rates. Our results suggest that urban growers benefit from high consumption rates of cabbage looper eggs and larvae by arthropod predators.

  10. Using watershed characteristics, sediment, and tissue of resident mollusks to identify potential sources of trace elements to streams in a complex agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Ciparis, Serena; Schreiber, Madeline E; Voshell, J Reese

    2012-05-01

    Trace elements used in animal feed additives can be introduced to aquatic environments through application of manures from animal feeding operations to agricultural land as fertilizer. The use of poultry feed additives containing arsenic (As) is of particular concern in the Shenandoah River watershed (Virginia, USA), an agricultural landscape with a high density of poultry operations. This study investigated the relationship between watershed characteristics of Shenandoah River tributaries and trace element concentrations in streambed sediment and tissue of resident mollusks, including: Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea), which are commonly used biomonitors, and pleurocerid snails (Leptoxis carinata), which are generally understudied. Results failed to support the primary hypothesis of a predictive relationship between watershed densities of poultry operations and As concentrations in sediment and mollusk tissue. However, there were statistical relationships between land use in tributary watersheds and other trace elements in sediment (Cu, Mn, Pb, Zn) and tissue (Cd, Hg, Pb). Principal components analysis of the sediment data suggested a possible geologic source of As at some sites. Tissue concentrations of As were significantly higher in snails than in clams, but clams accumulated higher concentrations of other trace elements (Cd, Cr, Hg, Pb, Se). Snails may be useful biomonitors of environmental As, but appear to be less suitable than clams for studies of landscape sources of other trace elements.

  11. Soil Enzyme Activities, Microbial Communities and Carbon and Nitrogen Availability in Organic Agroecosystems Across an Intensively-Managed Agricultural Landscape

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Variability in the activity and composition of soil microbial communities may have important implications for the suite of microbially-derived ecosystem functions upon which agricultural systems rely, particularly organic agriculture. An on-farm approach was used to investigate microbial communitie...

  12. Landscape Patterns and Their Influence on Bird Communities Resulting from Agricultural Policies Promoting Shelterbelts in Eastern Nebraska

    Treesearch

    Robert A., II Pierce; D. Todd Farrand; William B. Kurtz; Jim Brandle; Ron Johnson

    2003-01-01

    Evolving agricultural policies and technologies have influenced land management practices within agroecosystems, impacting available habitats for many species of wildlife. Increasing available wildlife habitat and enhancing habitat quality have become an explicit objective of existing agricultural policy. Thus, there is renewed focus on utilizing shelterbelt...

  13. How to build multifunctional agricultural landscapes in the U.S corn belt: add perennials and partnerships

    Treesearch

    Ryan C. Atwell; Lisa A. Schulte; Lynne M. Westphal

    2010-01-01

    Conservation of ecosystem services in agricultural regions worldwide is foundational to, but often perceived to be in competition with, other societal outcomes, including food and energy production and thriving rural communities. To address this tension, we engaged regional leaders in agriculture, conservation, and policy from the state of Iowa (USA) in a participatory...

  14. Spatial modeling of personalized exposure dynamics: the case of pesticide use in small-scale agricultural production landscapes of the developing world

    PubMed Central

    Leyk, Stefan; Binder, Claudia R; Nuckols, John R

    2009-01-01

    Background Pesticide poisoning is a global health issue with the largest impacts in the developing countries where residential and small-scale agricultural areas are often integrated and pesticides sprayed manually. To reduce health risks from pesticide exposure approaches for personalized exposure assessment (PEA) are needed. We present a conceptual framework to develop a spatial individual-based model (IBM) prototype for assessing potential exposure of farm-workers conducting small-scale agricultural production, which accounts for a considerable portion of global food crop production. Our approach accounts for dynamics in the contaminant distributions in the environment, as well as patterns of movement and activities performed on an individual level under different safety scenarios. We demonstrate a first prototype using data from a study area in a rural part of Colombia, South America. Results Different safety scenarios of PEA were run by including weighting schemes for activities performed under different safety conditions. We examined the sensitivity of individual exposure estimates to varying patterns of pesticide application and varying individual patterns of movement. This resulted in a considerable variation in estimates of magnitude, frequency and duration of exposure over the model runs for each individual as well as between individuals. These findings indicate the influence of patterns of pesticide application, individual spatial patterns of movement as well as safety conditions on personalized exposure in the agricultural production landscape that is the focus of our research. Conclusion This approach represents a conceptual framework for developing individual based models to carry out PEA in small-scale agricultural settings in the developing world based on individual patterns of movement, safety conditions, and dynamic contaminant distributions. The results of our analysis indicate our prototype model is sufficiently sensitive to differentiate and

  15. West nile virus prevalence across landscapes is mediated by local effects of agriculture on vector and host communities.

    PubMed

    Crowder, David W; Dykstra, Elizabeth A; Brauner, Jo Marie; Duffy, Anne; Reed, Caitlin; Martin, Emily; Peterson, Wade; Carrière, Yves; Dutilleul, Pierre; Owen, Jeb P

    2013-01-01

    Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) threaten the health of humans, livestock, and wildlife. West Nile virus (WNV), the world's most widespread arbovirus, invaded the United States in 1999 and rapidly spread across the county. Although the ecology of vectors and hosts are key determinants of WNV prevalence across landscapes, the factors shaping local vector and host populations remain unclear. Here, we used spatially-explicit models to evaluate how three land-use types (orchards, vegetable/forage crops, natural) and two climatic variables (temperature, precipitation) influence the prevalence of WNV infections and vector/host distributions at landscape and local spatial scales. Across landscapes, we show that orchard habitats were associated with greater prevalence of WNV infections in reservoirs (birds) and incidental hosts (horses), while increased precipitation was associated with fewer infections. At local scales, orchard habitats increased the prevalence of WNV infections in vectors (mosquitoes) and the abundance of mosquitoes and two key reservoir species, the American robin and the house sparrow. Thus, orchard habitats benefitted WNV vectors and reservoir hosts locally, creating focal points for the transmission of WNV at landscape scales in the presence of suitable climatic conditions.

  16. West Nile Virus Prevalence across Landscapes Is Mediated by Local Effects of Agriculture on Vector and Host Communities

    PubMed Central

    Crowder, David W.; Dykstra, Elizabeth A.; Brauner, Jo Marie; Duffy, Anne; Reed, Caitlin; Martin, Emily; Peterson, Wade; Carrière, Yves; Dutilleul, Pierre; Owen, Jeb P.

    2013-01-01

    Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) threaten the health of humans, livestock, and wildlife. West Nile virus (WNV), the world’s most widespread arbovirus, invaded the United States in 1999 and rapidly spread across the county. Although the ecology of vectors and hosts are key determinants of WNV prevalence across landscapes, the factors shaping local vector and host populations remain unclear. Here, we used spatially-explicit models to evaluate how three land-use types (orchards, vegetable/forage crops, natural) and two climatic variables (temperature, precipitation) influence the prevalence of WNV infections and vector/host distributions at landscape and local spatial scales. Across landscapes, we show that orchard habitats were associated with greater prevalence of WNV infections in reservoirs (birds) and incidental hosts (horses), while increased precipitation was associated with fewer infections. At local scales, orchard habitats increased the prevalence of WNV infections in vectors (mosquitoes) and the abundance of mosquitoes and two key reservoir species, the American robin and the house sparrow. Thus, orchard habitats benefitted WNV vectors and reservoir hosts locally, creating focal points for the transmission of WNV at landscape scales in the presence of suitable climatic conditions. PMID:23383032

  17. When is a terrace not a terrace? The importance of understanding landscape evolution in studies of terraced agriculture.

    PubMed

    Ferro-Vázquez, C; Lang, C; Kaal, J; Stump, D

    2017-01-28

    Before the invention of modern, large-scale engineering projects, terrace systems were rarely built in single phases of construction, but instead developed gradually, and could even be said to have evolved. Understanding this process of landscape change is therefore important in order to fully appreciate how terrace systems were built and functioned, and is also pivotal to understanding how the communities that farmed these systems responded to changes; whether these are changes to the landscape brought about by the farming practices themselves, or changes to social, economic or climatic conditions. Combining archaeological stratigraphy, soil micromorphology and geochemistry, this paper presents a case-study from the historic and extensive terraced landscape at Konso, southwest Ethiopia, and demonstrates - in one important river valley at least - that the original topsoil and much of the subsoil was lost prior to the construction of hillside terraces. Moreover, the study shows that alluvial sediment traps that were built adjacent to rivers relied on widespread hillside soil erosion for their construction, and strongly suggests that these irrigated riverside fields were formerly a higher economic priority than the hillside terraces themselves; a possibility that was not recognised by numerous observational studies of farming in this landscape. Research that takes into account how terrace systems change through time can thus provide important details of whether the function of the system has changed, and can help assess how the legacies of former practices impact current or future cultivation.

  18. [Agricultural policies and farming systems: A case study of landscape changes in Shizuitou Village in the recent four decades].

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiao-jun; Zhou, Yang; Yan, Yan-bin; Li, Lei

    2015-01-01

    Agricultural policy in China's rural heartland is driving profound changes to traditional farming systems. A case study covering four decades mapped and recorded farming patterns and processes in Shizuitou Village, a rural village in northwest Shanxi. An integrated geospatial methodology from geography and anthropology was employed in the case study to record the changing dynamics of farming systems in Shizuitou Village to discover the long-term impacts of China's agricultural policies on village farming systems. Positive and negative impacts of agricultural policies on village farming systems were mapped, inventoried and evaluated using Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS). The results revealed traditional polycultures are being gradually replaced by industrialized monocultures. The driving forces behind these farming changes come from a series of government agricultural policies aiming at modernization of farming systems in China. The goal of these policies was to spur rapid development of industrial agriculture under the guise of modernization but is leading to the decay of traditional farming systems in the village that maintained local food security with healthy land for hundreds of years. The paper concluded with a recommendation that in future, agricultural policy makers should strike a more reasonable balance between short-term agricultural profits and long-term farming sustainability based on the principles of ecological sustainable development under the context of global changes.

  19. A modeling study on mitigation of N2O emissions and NO3 leaching at different agricultural sites across Europe using LandscapeDNDC.

    PubMed

    Molina-Herrera, Saúl; Haas, Edwin; Klatt, Steffen; Kraus, David; Augustin, Jürgen; Magliulo, Vincenzo; Tallec, Tiphaine; Ceschia, Eric; Ammann, Christof; Loubet, Benjamin; Skiba, Ute; Jones, Stephanie; Brümmer, Christian; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Kiese, Ralf

    2016-05-15

    The identification of site-specific agricultural management practices in order to maximize yield while minimizing environmental nitrogen losses remains in the center of environmental pollution research. Here, we used the biogeochemical model LandscapeDNDC to explore different agricultural practices with regard to their potential to reduce soil N2O emissions and NO3 leaching while maintaining yields. In a first step, the model was tested against observations of N2O emissions, NO3 leaching, soil micrometeorology as well as crop growth for eight European cropland and grassland sites. Across sites, LandscapeDNDC predicts very well mean N2O emissions (r(2)=0.99) and simulates the magnitude and general temporal dynamics of soil inorganic nitrogen pools. For the assessment of site-specific mitigation potentials of environmental nitrogen losses a Monte Carlo optimization technique considering different agricultural management options (i.e., timing of planting, harvest and fertilization, amount of applied fertilizer as well as residue management) was used. The identified optimized field management practices reduce N2O emissions and NO3 leaching from croplands on average by 21% and 31%, respectively. Likewise, average reductions of 55% for N2O emissions and 16% for NO3 leaching are estimated for grasslands. For mitigating environmental loss - while maintaining yield levels - it was most important to reduce fertilizer application rates by in average 10%. Our analyses indicate that yield scaled N2O emissions and NO3 leaching indicate possible improvements of nitrogen use efficiencies in European farming systems. Moreover, the applied optimization approach can be used also in a prognostic way to predict optimal timings and fertilization options (rates and splitting) upon accurate weather forecasts combined with the knowledge of modeled soil nutrient availability and plant nitrogen demand.

  20. RELATIONSIPS BETWEEN AQUATIC INVERTEBRATE ASSEMBLAGES AND REACH AND LANDSCAPE ATTRIBUTES ON WADEABLE, WILLAMETTE VALLEY STREAMS IN AGRICULTURAL WATERSHEDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    In summer 1997, we sampled reaches in 24 wadeable, Willamette Valley ecoregion streams draining agriculturally-infiuenced watersheds. Within these reaches, physical habitat, water chemistry, aquatic invertebrate and fish data and samples were collected. Low-level air photos were ...

  1. Land use as a driver of soil fertility and biodiversity across an agricultural landscape in the Central Peruvian Andes.

    PubMed

    de Valença, Anne W; Vanek, Steven J; Meza, Katherin; Ccanto, Raul; Olivera, Edgar; Scurrah, Maria; Lantinga, Egbert A; Fonte, Steven J

    2017-01-24

    Land use change and intensification in agricultural landscapes of the Andean highlands have resulted in widespread soil degradation and a loss in soil-based ecosystem services and biodiversity. This trend threatens the sustainability of farming communities in the Andes, with important implications for food security and biodiversity conservation throughout the region. Based on these challenges, we sought to understand the impact of current and future land use practices on soil fertility and biodiversity, so as to inform landscape planning and management decisions for sustainable agroecosystem management. We worked with local communities to identify and map dominant land uses in an agricultural landscape surrounding Quilcas, Peru. These land uses existed within two elevations zones (low-medium, 3200-3800 m, and high elevation, 3800-4300 m). They included three types of low-medium elevation forests (eucalyptus, alder, and mixed/native species), five pasture management types (permanent pasture, temporal pasture [in fallow stage], degraded pasture, high-altitude permanent pasture, and high-altitude temporal pasture [in fallow stage]) and six cropping systems (forage crops, maize/beans, and potato under four types of management). Soil fertility was evaluated in surface soils (0-20 cm) with soil physicochemical parameters (e.g., pH, soil organic matter, available nutrients, texture), while soil biological properties were assessed using the abundance and diversity of soil macrofauna and ground cover vegetation. Our results indicated clear impacts of land use on soil fertility and biological communities. Altitude demonstrated the strongest effect on soil physicochemical properties, but management systems within the low-mid elevation zone also showed important differences in soil biological communities. In general, the less-disturbed forest and pasture systems supported more diverse soil communities than the more intensively managed croplands. Degraded soils demonstrated

  2. Recovery based on plot experiments is a poor predictor of landscape-level population impacts of agricultural pesticides.

    PubMed

    Topping, Christopher John; Kjaer, Lene Jung; Hommen, Udo; Høye, Toke Thomas; Preuss, Thomas G; Sibly, Richard M; van Vliet, Peter

    2014-07-01

    Current European Union regulatory risk assessment allows application of pesticides provided that recovery of nontarget arthropods in-crop occurs within a year. Despite the long-established theory of source-sink dynamics, risk assessment ignores depletion of surrounding populations and typical field trials are restricted to plot-scale experiments. In the present study, the authors used agent-based modeling of 2 contrasting invertebrates, a spider and a beetle, to assess how the area of pesticide application and environmental half-life affect the assessment of recovery at the plot scale and impact the population at the landscape scale. Small-scale plot experiments were simulated for pesticides with different application rates and environmental half-lives. The same pesticides were then evaluated at the landscape scale (10 km × 10 km) assuming continuous year-on-year usage. The authors' results show that recovery time estimated from plot experiments is a poor indicator of long-term population impact at the landscape level and that the spatial scale of pesticide application strongly determines population-level impact. This raises serious doubts as to the utility of plot-recovery experiments in pesticide regulatory risk assessment for population-level protection. Predictions from the model are supported by empirical evidence from a series of studies carried out in the decade starting in 1988. The issues raised then can now be addressed using simulation. Prediction of impacts at landscape scales should be more widely used in assessing the risks posed by environmental stressors. © 2014 SETAC.

  3. Epidemiological and evolutionary management of plant resistance: optimizing the deployment of cultivar mixtures in time and space in agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Fabre, Frédéric; Rousseau, Elsa; Mailleret, Ludovic; Moury, Benoît

    2015-01-01

    The management of genes conferring resistance to plant–pathogens should make it possible to control epidemics (epidemiological perspective) and preserve resistance durability (evolutionary perspective). Resistant and susceptible cultivars must be strategically associated according to the principles of cultivar mixture (within a season) and rotation (between seasons). We explored these questions by modeling the evolutionary and epidemiological processes shaping the dynamics of a pathogen population in a landscape composed of a seasonal cultivated compartment and a reservoir compartment hosting pathogen year-round. Optimal deployment strategies depended mostly on the molecular basis of plant–pathogen interactions and on the agro-ecological context before resistance deployment, particularly epidemic intensity and landscape connectivity. Mixtures were much more efficient in landscapes in which between-field infections and infections originating from the reservoir were more prevalent than within-field infections. Resistance genes requiring two mutations of the pathogen avirulence gene to be broken down, rather than one, were particularly useful when infections from the reservoir predominated. Combining mixture and rotation principles were better than the use of the same mixture each season as (i) they controlled epidemics more effectively in situations in which within-field infections or infections from the reservoir were frequent and (ii) they fulfilled the epidemiological and evolutionary perspectives. PMID:26640518

  4. Isoscapes as a tool to capture the complexity of small water bodies interspersed across a moraine landscape managed for agriculture in NE Germany

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nitzsche, K. N.; Flury, S.; Premke, K.; Gessler, A.; Kayler, Z. E.

    2013-12-01

    Across the northeastern region of Germany lies a moraine landscape where thousands of small water bodies called 'Sölle' (kettle holes) are found. These kettle holes, which are generally less than 1 ha in size, are interspersed across an agricultural landscape and predicted to undergo severe alterations in hydrology and biogeochemistry as the global climate changes. Within the project LandScales, we investigate specific C dynamics of this unique landscape at three different spatial scales: (i) C degradation at the molecular scale; (ii) lateral C transfer in the kettle hole aquatic-terrestrial transition zone; and (iii) erosion and C/N dynamics at the regional landscape scale. In the first phase of the project (iii), we constructed isotopic maps (Isoscapes; δ13C, δ15N, δ18O) to provide an overview of how these water bodies are spatially represented across the study area as seen through a biogeochemical lens. We expect to capture gradients in precipitation, land management effects (e.g., fertilization), patterns in soil erosion, and plant physiological responses. Ultimately, we will combine these isotope data with high-resolution maps involving geostatistical interpolation and link them to biogeochemical models. We collected plant, top-soil (5-20cm), sediment and water samples from a 33 km2 rectangular area of the catchment, sampling a 250 m raster in the main 2013 growing season. We sampled sediment cores, water, and plants from 50 kettle holes that represent the geomorphological and hydrological variability within the study area. Soil and sediment samples are further analyzed by physically and chemically separating organic matter fractions hypothesized to contain stabilized carbon. From these multiple lines of data, we expect to get a broader landscape view of: kettle holes function as hot spots of nutrient cycling, potential land management effects on biogeochemical processes, and patterns of erosion and carbon storage. Furthermore, the Isoscapes will serve to

  5. The uses of ERTS-1 imagery in the analysis of landscape change. [agriculture, strip mining forests, urban-suburban growth, and flooding in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Alabama

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rehder, J. B. (Principal Investigator)

    1974-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. The analysis of strip mining from ERTS-1 data has resulted in the mapping of landscape changes for the Cumberland Plateau Test Site. Several mapping experiments utilizing ERTS-1 data have been established for the mapping of state-wide land use regions. The first incorporates 12 frames of ERTS-1 imagery for the generalized thematic mapping of forest cover for the state of Tennessee. In another mapping effort, 14 ERTS-1 images have been analyzed for plowed ground signatures to produce a map of agricultural regions for Tennessee, Kentucky, and the northern portions of Mississippi and Alabama. Generalized urban land use categories and transportation networks have been determined from ERTS-1 imagery for the Knoxville Test Site. Finally, through the analysis of ERTS-1 imagery, short-lived phenomena such as the 1973 spring floods on the Mississippi River in western Tennessee, have been detected, monitored, and mapped.

  6. The role of a fertilizer trial in reconciling agricultural expectations and landscape ecology requirements on an opencast coal site in South Wales, United Kingdom

    SciTech Connect

    Humphries, C.E.L.; Humphries, R.N.; Wesemann, H.

    1999-07-01

    Since the 1940s the restoration of opencast coal sites in the UK has been predominantly to productive agriculture and forestry. With new UK government policies on sustainability and biodiversity such land uses may be no longer be acceptable or appropriate in the upland areas of South Wales. A scheme was prepared for the upland Nant Helen site with the objective of restoring the landscape ecology of the site; it included acid grassland to provide the landscape setting and for grazing. The scheme met with the approval of the planning authority. An initial forty hectares (about 13% of the site) was restored between 1993 and 1996. While the approved low intensity grazing and low fertilizer regime met the requirements of the planning authority and the statutory agencies, it was not meeting the expectations of the grazers who had grazing rights to the land. To help reconcile the apparent conflict a fertilizer trial was set up. The trial demonstrated that additional fertilizer and intensive grazing was required to meet the nutritional needs of sheep. It also showed typical upland stocking densities of sheep could be achieved with the acid grassland without the need for reseeding with lowland types. However this was not acceptable to the authority and agencies as such fertilizer and grazing regimes would be detrimental to the landscape and ecological objectives of the restoration scheme. A compromise was agreed whereby grazing intensity and additional fertilizer have been zoned. This has been implemented and is working to the satisfaction of all parties. Without the fertilizer trial it is unlikely that the different interests could have been reconciled.

  7. Multifunctional Landscapes: Site Characterization and Field-Scale Design to Incorporate Biomass Production into an Agricultural System

    SciTech Connect

    Ssegane, Herbert; Cristina Negri, M; Quinn, John; Urgun-Demirtas, Meltem

    2015-09-01

    Current and future demand for food, feed, fiber, and energy require novel approaches to land management, which demands that multifunctional landscapes are created to integrate various ecosystem functions into a sustainable land use. We developed an approach to design such landscapes at a field scale to minimize concerns of land use change, water quality, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with production of food and bioenergy. This study leverages concepts of nutrient recovery and phytoremediation to place bioenergy crops on the landscape to recover nutrients released to watersheds by commodity crops. Crop placement is determined by evaluating spatial variability of: 1) soils, 2) surface flow pathways, 3) shallow groundwater flow gradients, 4) subsurface nitrate concentrations, and 5) primary crop yield. A 0.8 ha bioenergy buffer was designed within a 6.5 ha field to intercept concentrated surface flow, capture and use nitrate leachate, and minimize use of productive areas. Denitrification-Decomposition (DNDC) simulations show that on average, a switchgrass (Panicum Virgatum L.) or willow (Salix spp.) buffer within this catchment according to this design could reduce annual leached NO3 by 61 or 59% and N2O emission by 5.5 or 10.8%, respectively, produce 8.7 or 9.7 Mg ha−1 of biomass respectively, and displace 6.7 Mg ha−1 of corn (Zea mays L.) grain. Therefore, placement of bioenergy crops has the potential to increase environmental sustainability when the pairing of location and crop type result in minimal disruption of current food production systems and provides additional environmental benefits.

  8. Distribution and nesting success of ferruginous hawks and Swainson's hawks on an agricultural landscape in the Great Plains

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    We studied nest site land cover associations, and reproductive success of two Buteo species of conservation concern on the southern Great Plains, USA. The study area was in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, where land use is dominated by row crop agriculture, livestock grazing, and Conservation Reserve Pro...

  9. Effects of native perennial vegetation buffer strips on dissolved organic carbon in surface runoff from an agricultural landscape

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) constitutes a small yet important part of a watershed’s carbon budget because it is the most mobile and biologically reactive form of carbon. Agricultural practices which promote carbon sequestration may also influence DOC concentrations and load in surface runoff, con...

  10. Greenhouse gas emissions and denitrification within depressional wetlands of the southeastern US coastal plain in an agricultural landscape

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Carolina Bays are depressional wetlands on the Coastal Plain of the southeastern USA. These wetlands are often adjacent to agricultural land and may be the recipients of nutrient runoff. Because of their saturated conditions, nutrient cycling may be important for water quality. Three small bays in S...

  11. Effects of native perennial vegetation buffer strips on dissolved organic carbon in surface runoff from an agricultural landscape

    Treesearch

    Tomorra E. Smith; Randall K. Kolka; Xiaobo Zhou; Matthew J. Helmers; Richard M. Cruse; Mark D. Tomer

    2014-01-01

    Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) constitutes a small yet important part of a watershed's carbon budget because it is mobile and biologically active. Agricultural conservation practices such as native perennial vegetation (NPV) strips will influence carbon cycling of an upland agroecosystem, and could affect how much DOC enters streams in runoff, potentially...

  12. Impact of bioenergy crops on pests, natural enemies and pollinators in agricultural and non-crop landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Sustainability of the nation's bioenergy feedstock production relies on selection and placement of energy crops that efficiently generate biomass or oilseed without compromising existing agricultural or natural systems. Pest and beneficial arthropods (e.g., pollinators, predators) will occur in thes...

  13. Sensitivity analysis of the agricultural policy/environmental extender (APEX) for phosphorus loads in tile-drained landscapes

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Numerical modeling is an economical and feasible approach for quantifying the effects of best management practices on phosphorus (P) loadings from agricultural fields. However, tools that simulate both surface and subsurface P pathways are limited and have not been robustly evaluated in tile-drained...

  14. Climate change and Australian agriculture: a review of the threats facing rural communities and the health policy landscape.

    PubMed

    Hanna, Elizabeth G; Bell, Erica; King, Debra; Woodruff, Rosalie

    2011-03-01

    Population health is a function of social and environmental health determinants. Climate change is predicted to bring significant alterations to ecological systems on which human health and livelihoods depend; the air, water, plant, and animal health. Agricultural systems are intrinsically linked with environmental conditions, which are already under threat in much of southern Australian because of rising heat and protracted drying. The direct impact of increasing heat waves on human physiology and survival has recently been well studied. More diffusely, increasing drought periods may challenge the viability of agriculture in some regions, and hence those communities that depend on primary production. A worst case scenario may herald the collapse of some communities. Human health impacts arising from such transition would be profound. This article summarizes existing rural health challenges and presents the current evidence plus future predictions of climate change impacts on Australian agriculture to argue the need for significant augmentation of public health and existing health policy frameworks. The article concludes by suggesting that adaptation to climate change requires planning for worst case scenario outcomes to avert catastrophic impacts on rural communities. This will involve national policy planning as much as regional-level leadership for rapid development of adaptive strategies in agriculture and other key areas of rural communities.

  15. Riparian buffer design guidelines for water quality and wildlife habitat functions on agricultural landscapes in the Intermountain West: Appendix C

    Treesearch

    Susan Buffler

    2008-01-01

    Currently, there is no scientific literature examining appropriate riparian buffer widths for water quality for streams on private agriculturally dominated lands in arid regions of the Intermountain West. The initial step in this research effort was a review of buffer research as documented in the literature in other physiographic regions of the United States. Research...

  16. Decreasing nitrate-N loads to coastal ecosystems with innovative drainage management strategies in agricultural landscapes: An experimental approach

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Controlled drainage in agricultural ditches contributes to a drainage management strategy with potential environmental and production benefits. Innovative drainage strategies including spatially orientated low-grade weirs show promise to significantly improve nutrient (e.g. nitrate-N) reductions by...

  17. Landscape Level Carbon and Water Balances and Agricultural Production in Mountainous Terrain of the Haean Basin, South Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, B.; Geyer, R.; Seo, B.; Lindner, S.; Walther, G.; Tenhunen, J. D.

    2009-12-01

    The process-based spatial simulation model PIXGRO was used to estimate gross primary production, ecosystem respiration, net ecosystem CO2 exchange and water use by forest and crop fields of Haean Basin, South Korea at landscape scale. Simulations are run for individual years from early spring to late fall, providing estimates for dry land crops and rice paddies with respect to carbon gain, biomass and leaf area development, allocation of photoproducts to the belowground ecosystem compartment, and harvest yields. In the case of deciduous oak forests, gas exchange is estimated, but spatial simulation of growth over the single annual cycles is not included. Spatial parameterization of the model is derived for forest LAI based on remote sensing, for forest and cropland fluxes via eddy covariance and chamber studies, for soil characteristics by generalization from spatial surveys, for climate drivers by generalizing observations at ca. 20 monitoring stations distributed throughout the basin and along the elevation gradient from 500 to 1000 m, and for incident radiation via modelling of the radiation components in complex terrain. Validation of the model is being carried out at point scale based on comparison of model output at selected locations with observations as well as with known trends in ecosystem response documented in the literature. The resulting modelling tool is useful for estimation of ecosystem services at landscape scale, first expressed as kg ha-1 crop yield, but via future cooperative studies also in terms of monetary gain to individual farms and farming cooperatives applying particular management strategies.

  18. Spatial analysis of Lobesia botrana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) male population in a mediterranean agricultural landscape in central Italy.

    PubMed

    Sciarretta, A; Zinni, A; Mazzocchetti, A; Trematerra, P

    2008-04-01

    The results obtained from the spatial analysis of pheromone-baited trap catch data of Lobesia botrana (Denis and Schiffermüller) males are reported. The research was undertaken in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. In the study area, vineyards (of Vitis vinifera L.) are the predominant cultivation, surrounded by hedgerows and small woodlots, and interspersed with cereal crops and olive groves. The main purpose of the study was to investigate the spatio-temporal dynamics of L. botrana, inside and outside vineyards, and to evaluate the effect of the landscape elements on pest distribution. A trend orientation over the experimental area was observed along the direction from northwest to southeast. Correlograms fitted using a spherical model showed in all cases an aggregated distribution and an estimated range having a mean of 174 m in 2005 and 116 m in 2006. Contour maps highlighted that spatial distribution of L. botrana was not limited to vineyards, but its presence is high particularly inside olive groves. The adult distribution on the experimental area changed during the season: hot spots of flight I were positioned inside olive groves; during flights II and III, they were concentrated in vineyards. L. botrana males were also captured in uncultivated fields, but never in high densities. Our results showed that a large proportion of the adult population of L. botrana inhabits areas outside those usually targeted by pest management programs. Thus, in Mediterranean agro-ecosystems, it is highly recommended to consider the whole landscape, with particular attention to olive crops.

  19. Biological-Community Composition in Small Streams and its Relations to Habitat, Nutrients, and Land Use in Agriculturally Dominated Landscapes in Indiana and Ohio, 2004, and Implications for Assessing Nutrient Conditions in Midwest Streams

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Caskey, Brian J.; Frey, Jeffrey W.

    2009-01-01

    The objective of this study was to relate algal-, invertebrate-, and fish-community composition to habitat, nutrients, and land-use variables in small streams in agriculturally dominated landscapes of the Midwest in Indiana and Ohio. Thirty sample locations were selected from a single ecoregion; all were small wadable streams within agriculturally dominated landscapes with similar substrate and canopy. Biological and nutrient samples were collected during stable flow conditions in August 2004. Canonical correspondence analysis was used to determine which variables most influenced each community. Total phosphorus concentrations significantly influenced the depositional-targeted habitat algal-diatom community and the richest-targeted habitat invertebrate community. Multivariate statistical analysis showed that habitat variables were more influential to the richest-targeted habitat algal-diatom and fish communities than nutrient concentrations. Although the nutrient concentrations measured during this study indicate that most streams were not eutrophic, the biological communities were dominated by eutrophic species, suggesting streams sampled were eutrophic. Consequently, it was concluded that biological relations to nutrients in agriculturally dominated landscapes are complex and habitat variables should be included in biological assessments of nutrient conditions in agriculturally dominated landscapes.

  20. Nitrogen Legacies in Agricultural Landscapes: A 150-year Longitudinal Study of the Susquehanna and Mississippi River Basins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van Meter, K. J.; Van Cappellen, P.; Basu, N. B.

    2015-12-01

    Global flows of reactive nitrogen (N) have increased significantly over the last century in response to land-use change, agricultural intensification and elevated levels of atmospheric N. Although the use of commercial N fertilizers began to plateau in developed countries in the mid-1980s and despite widespread implementation of a range of conservation measures to mitigate the impacts of N-intensive agriculture, N concentrations in surface waters are in many cases remaining steady or continuing to increase. This lack of correlation between N inputs and outputs is increasingly being attributed to the presence of legacy N stores in subsurface reservoirs, with present-day concentrations being a function of inputs that are many decades old. It has remained unclear, however, what the magnitudes of such stores might be, and how they are partitioned between soil and groundwater reservoirs. In the present work, we have synthesized agricultural, population, and land-use data to develop a comprehensive, 150-year dataset of N inputs to the land surface of the continental United States. We have concurrently developed a parsimonious, process-based model that utilizes this N input trajectory to simulate biogeochemical transformations of N along subsurface pathways. Model results allow us predict the magnitudes of legacy N in soil and groundwater pools and to predict long-term stream N concentration trajectories over the last century and into the future. We have applied this modeling approach to two U.S. watersheds, the Mississippi River and Susquehanna River Basins, which are major sources of nutrient contamination to the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay, respectively. Our results show significant stream N loading above baseline levels in both watersheds before the widespread use of commercial N fertilizers, largely due to 19th-century conversion of natural forest and grassland areas to row-crop agriculture. However, the temporal patterns of this loading differ between the two

  1. Relative Path Impact Index (RPII): a morphometric approach to quantify the effect of anthropogenic features on surface flow processes in agricultural landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tarolli, P.; Prosdocimi, M.; Sofia, G.; Preti, F.; Dalla Fontana, G.

    2014-12-01

    alterations induced by the terraces and agricultural roads. Tarolli, P., Sofia, G., Calligaro, S., Prosdocimi, M., Preti, F., Dalla Fontana, G. (2014). Vineyards in terraced landscapes: new opportunities from lidar data, Land Degradation & Development, doi:10.1002/ldr.2311.

  2. Landscape planning for agricultural non-point source pollution reduction. II. Balancing watershed size, number of watersheds, and implementation effort.

    PubMed

    Maxted, Jeffrey T; Diebel, Matthew W; Vander Zanden, M Jake

    2009-01-01

    Agricultural non-point source (NPS) pollution poses a severe threat to water quality and aquatic ecosystems. In response, tremendous efforts have been directed toward reducing these pollution inputs by implementing agricultural conservation practices. Although conservation practices reduce pollution inputs from individual fields, scaling pollution control benefits up to the watershed level (i.e., improvements in stream water quality) has been a difficult challenge. This difficulty highlights the need for NPS reduction programs that focus efforts within target watersheds and at specific locations within target watersheds, with the ultimate goal of improving stream water quality. Fundamental program design features for NPS control programs--i.e., number of watersheds in the program, total watershed area, and level of effort expended within watersheds--have not been considered in any sort of formal analysis. Here, we present an optimization model that explores the programmatic and environmental trade-offs between these design choices. Across a series of annual program budgets ranging from $2 to $200 million, the optimal number of watersheds ranged from 3 to 27; optimal watershed area ranged from 29 to 214 km(2); and optimal expenditure ranged from $21,000 to $35,000/km(2). The optimal program configuration was highly dependent on total program budget. Based on our general findings, we delineated hydrologically complete and spatially independent watersheds ranging in area from 20 to 100 km(2). These watersheds are designed to serve as implementation units for a targeted NPS pollution control program currently being developed in Wisconsin.

  3. Landscape Planning for Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Reduction. II. Balancing Watershed Size, Number of Watersheds, and Implementation Effort

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maxted, Jeffrey T.; Diebel, Matthew W.; Vander Zanden, M. Jake

    2009-01-01

    Agricultural non-point source (NPS) pollution poses a severe threat to water quality and aquatic ecosystems. In response, tremendous efforts have been directed toward reducing these pollution inputs by implementing agricultural conservation practices. Although conservation practices reduce pollution inputs from individual fields, scaling pollution control benefits up to the watershed level (i.e., improvements in stream water quality) has been a difficult challenge. This difficulty highlights the need for NPS reduction programs that focus efforts within target watersheds and at specific locations within target watersheds, with the ultimate goal of improving stream water quality. Fundamental program design features for NPS control programs—i.e., number of watersheds in the program, total watershed area, and level of effort expended within watersheds—have not been considered in any sort of formal analysis. Here, we present an optimization model that explores the programmatic and environmental trade-offs between these design choices. Across a series of annual program budgets ranging from 2 to 200 million, the optimal number of watersheds ranged from 3 to 27; optimal watershed area ranged from 29 to 214 km2; and optimal expenditure ranged from 21,000 to 35,000/km2. The optimal program configuration was highly dependent on total program budget. Based on our general findings, we delineated hydrologically complete and spatially independent watersheds ranging in area from 20 to 100 km2. These watersheds are designed to serve as implementation units for a targeted NPS pollution control program currently being developed in Wisconsin.

  4. Abundances of a bean bug and its natural enemy in seminatural and cultivated habitats in agricultural landscapes.

    PubMed

    Tabuchi, Ken; Taki, Hisatomo; Iwai, Hideki; Mizutani, Nobuo; Nagasaka, Koukichi; Moriya, Seiichi; Sasaki, Rikiya

    2014-04-01

    To determine differences in distribution patterns between the soybean pest Riptortus pedestris F. (Hemiptera: Alydidae) and its egg parasitoid Ooencyrtus nezarae Ishii (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) in source and cultivated habitats, we compared their abundances in soybean fields and forest edges, which were assumed to be the overwintering sites of R. pedestris. We set synthetic attractant-baited traps for both species over 2 yr in mid-August, just before R. pedestris normally colonizes soybeans. During one of the 2 yr, we also examined the rate of parasitism using an egg trap. The numbers of both R. pedestris and O. nezarae trapped at forest edges were higher than the numbers caught in soybean fields, suggesting that forest edges are important source habitats. Compared with R. pedestris, the abundance of O. nezarae in soybean fields was considerably lower than in forest edges, presumably because of differences in their dispersal abilities and their responses to landscape structure and resource distribution. Better pest control service by O. nezarae was provided at forest edges than in soybean fields. Therefore, when using pest control by O. nezarae in soybean fields, spatial arrangement and distance from the forest edge should be considered.

  5. Do we know how to reconcile preservation of landscapes with adaptation of agriculture to climate change? A case-study in a hilly area in Southern Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Menenti, Massimo; Alfieri, Silvia; Basile, Angelo; Bonfante, Antonello; Monaco, Eugenia; Riccardi, Maria; De Lorenzi, Francesca

    2013-04-01

    Limited impacts of climate change on agricultural yields are unlikely to induce any significant changes in current landscapes. Larger impacts, unacceptable on economic or social ground, are likely to trigger interventions towards adaptation of agricultural production systems by reducing or removing vulnerabilities to climate variability and change. Such interventions may require a transition to a different production system, i.e. complete substitution of current crops, or displacement of current crops at their current location towards other locations, e.g. at higher elevations within the landscape. We have assessed the impacts of climate change and evaluated options for adaptation of a valley in Southern Italy, dominated by vine and olive orchards with a significant presence of wheat. We have first estimated the climatic requirements of several varieties for each dominant species. Next, to identify options for adaptation we have evaluated the compatibility of such requirements with indicators of a reference (current) climate and of future climate. This climate - compatibility assessment was done for each soil unit within the valley, leading to maps of locations where each crop is expected to be compatible with climate. This leads to identify both potential crop substitutions within the entire valley and crop displacements from one location to another within the valley. Two climate scenarios were considered: reference (1961-90) and future (2021-2050) climate, the former from climatic statistics, and the latter from statistical downscaling of general circulation models (AOGCM). Climatic data consists of daily time series of maximum and minimum temperature, and daily rainfall on a grid with a spatial resolution of 35 km. We evaluated the adaptive capacity of the "Valle Telesina" (Campania Region, Southern Italy). A mechanistic model of water flow in the soil-plant-atmosphere system (SWAP) was used to describe the hydrological conditions in response to climate for each

  6. Satellite-based GNSS-R observations from TDS-1 for soil moisture studies in agricultural vegetation landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, P. W.; Clarizia, M. P.; Judge, J.; Camps, A.; Ruf, C. S.; Bongiovanni, T. E.

    2015-12-01

    Soil moisture (SM) is a critical factor governing the water and energy fluxes at the land surface that are important for near-term climate forecasting, drought monitoring, crop yield estimation, and better water resources management. Remotely sensed observations at microwave frequencies are the most sensitive to changes of water in the soil. Particularly, frequencies at L-band (1-2 GHz) have been widely used for SM studies under the vegetated land covers because of their minimal atmospheric interference and attenuation by vegetation, allowing observations from the soil surface. In addition to current satellite based microwave sensors, such as the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) missions, the Global Navigation Satellite System-Reflectometry technique is capable of observing the GNSS signal reflected from the terrain that contains combined information of soil and vegetation characteristics. The technique has recently attracted attention for global SM monitoring because its receiver is small in size and light weight and can be on board the low orbit, small satellites with low power consumption and low cost. Therefore the GNSS-R remote sensing may lead to affordable multi-satellite constellations that enable improved temporal resolution for highly dynamic hydrologic conditions. The current UK Technology Demonstration Satellite (TDS-1) has been providing global GNSS-R observations since September 2014 for experimental purposes and the receiver is accessed and operated for 2 days during every 8-day cycle. In the near future, the NASA Cyclone GNSS (CYGNSS) mission, scheduled to be launched in 2016, will consist of 8 satellites observing GPS L1 signal at a frequency of 1.5754 GHz with a spatial resolution of 10-25 km and a temporal resolution of < 12 hours. The goal of this study is to understand the impacts of SM and characteristics of agricultural vegetation on the forward scattering mechanisms of satellite-based GNSS-R observations. The GNSS-R observations from TDS

  7. Coupled carbon-nitrogen land surface modelling for UK agricultural landscapes using JULES and JULES-ECOSSE-FUN (JEF)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Comyn-Platt, Edward; Clark, Douglas; Blyth, Eleanor

    2016-04-01

    The UK is required to provide accurate estimates of the UK greenhouse gas (GHG; CO2, CH4 and N2O) emissions for the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). Process based land surface models (LSMs), such as the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES), attempt to provide such estimates based on environmental (e.g. land use and soil type) and meteorological conditions. The standard release of JULES focusses on the water and carbon cycles, however, it has long been suggested that a coupled carbon-nitrogen scheme could enhance simulations. This is of particular importance when estimating agricultural emission inventories where the carbon cycle is effectively managed via the human application of nitrogen based fertilizers. JULES-ECOSSE-FUN (JEF) links JULES with the Estimation of Carbon in Organic Soils - Sequestration and Emission (ECOSSE) model and the Fixation and Uptake of Nitrogen (FUN) model as a means of simulating C:N coupling. This work presents simulations from the standard release of JULES and the most recent incarnation of the JEF coupled system at the point and field scale. Various configurations of JULES and JEF were calibrated and fine-tuned based on comparisons with observations from three UK field campaigns (Crichton, Harwood Forest and Brattleby) specifically chosen to represent the managed vegetation types that cover the UK. The campaigns included flux tower and chamber measurements of CO2, CH4 and N2O amongst other meteorological parameters and records of land management such as application of fertilizer and harvest date at the agricultural sites. Based on the results of these comparisons, JULES and/or JEF will be used to provide simulations on the regional and national scales in order to provide improved estimates of the total UK emission inventory.

  8. Connecting Soil Water to Groundwater to Streams: Understanding Controls of Nitrate Losses from a Dryland Agricultural Landscape in the Upper Missouri River Watershed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sigler, W. A.; Ewing, S. A.; Payn, R. A.; Jones, C. A.; Brookshire, J.; Klassen, J. K.; Jackson-Smith, D.; Weissmann, G. S.

    2016-12-01

    Shallow aquifers impaired by nitrate from agriculture are widespread and remediation or prevention of this problem requires understanding of N leaching rates at a variety of spatial scales. Characterization of the drivers of nitrate leaching at an intermediate scale (103 to 105 ha) is needed to bridge from field scale observations to the landscape-scale context, allowing informed water resource management decisions. Here we explore patterns in nitrate leaching rates across a depositional landform with a predominant land use of non-irrigated small grain production in the Northern Great Plains within the Upper Missouri Basin. The shallow Moccasin terrace (260,000 ha) aquifer is bounded in vertical extent by underlying shale and is isolated from mountain front stream recharge, such that aquifer recharge is dominated by infiltration of precipitation through agricultural soils. We leverage this simplified landform scale water balance to estimate leaching rates using groundwater nitrate concentrations and surface water discharge, and quantify uncertainty using a Monte Carlo approach based on spatial variation in groundwater nitrate concentrations. Landform-scale nitrate-N leaching rates ranged between 10 and 24 kg ha-1 yr-1 during 2012-2014 across two terrace catchments. These rates represent 11 to 27% of fertilizer application rates but are likely derived from a combination of soil organic N mineralization and direct fertilizer loss. While groundwater apparent age is relatively young (0-5 y) based on tritium-helium analysis, whole-aquifer turnover time calculations are an order of magnitude longer (20-23 y), suggesting aquifer heterogeneity and thus a longer potential response time to management changes than suggested by tracer-based aging. We collaborated with local producers to undertake this work, and discussed our results with community members throughout the study. Based on a follow-up survey, producers are now more likely to consider nitrate leaching when making

  9. Recent range expansion and agricultural landscape heterogeneity have only minimal effect on the spatial genetic structure of the plant pathogenic fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis.

    PubMed

    Rieux, A; De Lapeyre De Bellaire, L; Zapater, M-F; Ravigne, V; Carlier, J

    2013-01-01

    Understanding how geographical and environmental features affect genetic variation at both the population and individual levels is crucial in biology, especially in the case of pathogens. However, distinguishing between these factors and the effects of historical range expansion on spatial genetic structure remains challenging. In the present study, we investigated the case of Mycosphaerella fijiensis-a plant pathogenic fungus that has recently colonized an agricultural landscape characterized by the presence of potential barriers to gene flow, including several commercial plantations in which disease control practises such as the use of fungicides are applied frequently, and low host density areas. We first genotyped 300 isolates sampled at a global scale on untreated plants in two dimensions over a 50 × 80-km area. Using two different clustering algorithms, no genetic structure was detected in the studied area, suggesting expansion of large populations and/or no influence of potential barriers. Second, we investigated the potential effect of disease control practises on M. fijiensis diversity by comparing populations sampled in commercial vs food-crop plantations. At this local scale, we detected significantly higher allelic richness inside commercial plantations compared with the surrounding food-crop plantation populations. Analysis of molecular variance indicated that 99% of the total genetic variance occurred within populations. We discuss the suggestion that high population size and/or high migration rate between populations might be responsible for the absence of any effect of disease control practises on genetic diversity and differentiation.

  10. Recent range expansion and agricultural landscape heterogeneity have only minimal effect on the spatial genetic structure of the plant pathogenic fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis

    PubMed Central

    Rieux, A; De Lapeyre De Bellaire, L; Zapater, M-F; Ravigne, V; Carlier, J

    2013-01-01

    Understanding how geographical and environmental features affect genetic variation at both the population and individual levels is crucial in biology, especially in the case of pathogens. However, distinguishing between these factors and the effects of historical range expansion on spatial genetic structure remains challenging. In the present study, we investigated the case of Mycosphaerella fijiensis—a plant pathogenic fungus that has recently colonized an agricultural landscape characterized by the presence of potential barriers to gene flow, including several commercial plantations in which disease control practises such as the use of fungicides are applied frequently, and low host density areas. We first genotyped 300 isolates sampled at a global scale on untreated plants in two dimensions over a 50 × 80-km area. Using two different clustering algorithms, no genetic structure was detected in the studied area, suggesting expansion of large populations and/or no influence of potential barriers. Second, we investigated the potential effect of disease control practises on M. fijiensis diversity by comparing populations sampled in commercial vs food-crop plantations. At this local scale, we detected significantly higher allelic richness inside commercial plantations compared with the surrounding food-crop plantation populations. Analysis of molecular variance indicated that 99% of the total genetic variance occurred within populations. We discuss the suggestion that high population size and/or high migration rate between populations might be responsible for the absence of any effect of disease control practises on genetic diversity and differentiation. PMID:22990310

  11. Habitat and Host Indicate Lineage Identity in Colletotrichum gloeosporioides s.l. from Wild and Agricultural Landscapes in North America

    PubMed Central

    Doyle, Vinson P.; Oudemans, Peter V.; Rehner, Stephen A.; Litt, Amy

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the factors that drive the evolution of pathogenic fungi is central to revealing the mechanisms of virulence and host preference, as well as developing effective disease control measures. Prerequisite to these pursuits is the accurate delimitation of species boundaries. Colletotrichum gloeosporioides s.l. is a species complex of plant pathogens and endophytic fungi for which reliable species recognition has only recently become possible through a multi-locus phylogenetic approach. By adopting an intensive regional sampling strategy encompassing multiple hosts within and beyond agricultural zones associated with cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton), we have integrated North America strains of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides s.l. from these habitats into a broader phylogenetic framework. We delimit species on the basis of genealogical concordance phylogenetic species recognition (GCPSR) and quantitatively assess the monophyly of delimited species at each of four nuclear loci and in the combined data set with the genealogical sorting index (gsi). Our analysis resolved two principal lineages within the species complex. Strains isolated from cranberry and sympatric host plants are distributed across both of these lineages and belong to seven distinct species or terminal clades. Strains isolated from V. macrocarpon in commercial cranberry beds belong to four species, three of which are described here as new. Another species, C. rhexiae Ellis & Everh., is epitypified. Intensive regional sampling has revealed a combination of factors, including the host species from which a strain has been isolated, the host organ of origin, and the habitat of the host species, as useful indicators of species identity in the sampled regions. We have identified three broadly distributed temperate species, C. fructivorum, C. rhexiae, and C. nupharicola, that could be useful for understanding the microevolutionary forces that may lead to species divergence in this important

  12. Spatio-Temporal Trends of Fire in Slash and Burn Agriculture Landscape: A Case Study from Nagaland, India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Padalia, H.; Mondal, P. P.

    2014-11-01

    Increasing incidences of fire from land conversion and residue burning in tropics is the major concern in global warming. Spatial and temporal monitoring of trends of fire incidences is, therefore, significant in order to determine contribution of carbon emissions from slash and burn agriculture. In this study, we analyzed time-series Terra / Aqua MODIS satellite hotspot products from 2001 to 2013 to derive intra- and inter-annual trends in fire incidences in Nagaland state, located in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. Time-series regression was applied to MODIS fire products at variable spatial scales in GIS. Significance of change in fire frequency at each grid level was tested using t statistic. Spatial clustering of higher or lower fire incidences across study area was determined using Getis-OrdGi statistic. Maximum fire incidences were encountered in moist mixed deciduous forests (46%) followed by secondary moist bamboo brakes (30%). In most parts of the study area fire incidences peaked during March while in warmer parts (e.g. Mon district dominated by indigenous people) fire activity starts as early as during November and peaks in January. Regression trend analysis captured noticeable areas with statistically significant positive (e.g. Mokokchung, Wokha, Mon, Tuensang and Kiphire districts) and negative (e.g. Kohima and north-western part of Mokokchung district) inter-annual fire frequency trends based on area-based aggregation of fire occurrences at different grid sizes. Localization of spatial clusters of high fire incidences was observed in Mokokchung, Wokha, Mon,Tuensang and Kiphire districts.

  13. Estimating Evapotranspiration Over Agricultural Landscapes with Thermal Infrared Data: Towards the Comparison of Two Approaches Using Simple Energy Budget and Svat Modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bigeard, G.; Coudert, B.; Jarlan, L.

    2011-12-01

    Evapotranspiration (ET) monitoring presents wide range of applications from agriculture and water resources management to meteorology. Several approaches have been developed to retrieve ET based on a joint use of remote sensing data and land surface modeling, in particular with a SVAT (Soil Vegetation Atmosphere Transfers) model or a SEB (Surface Energy Budget) model. The objective of our work is to estimate spatialized ET fluxes from Thermal Infra-Red (TIR) imagery. We will focus on simulating fluxes at low resolution with 2 methodologies: 1- Simulating with a SEB model directly at low resolution (landscape scale: 4km) with TIR forcing. 2- Aggregating high resolution (agricultural field scale) estimates from a SVAT model constrained by TIR data and forced by a spatialized database (landcover, LAI, vegetation height and meteorological forcing). By doing a sensitivity analysis and comparing both approaches we will point out mechanisms that govern scale switching, and how high resolution "informations" and aggregation scenarios impact low resolution estimates. Within this preliminary study, we compare in-situ potentialities of a SEB model (TSEB) versus a SVAT model (SEtHyS). TSEB (Two Sources Equation Balance) is a model of turbulent exchange (Norman & al. 1995) partitioning the available energy between soil and vegetation and driven directly via remote sensing TIR sensors. SEtHyS (French acronym for soil moisture monitoring) is a SVAT model (described by Coudert & al. 2006) which is physically based and has more inputs and parameters requirements. Besides fluxes, it outputs brightness temperatures which can be compared and constrained with TIR data. Models fluxes simulations are compared to in-situ Eddy-Correlation (EC) fluxes measurement stations. Models are then compared performing a sensitivity analysis on their inputs and parameters so as to characterize their capabilities and behaviors, and quantify error ranges that will be induced by spatialization over

  14. Modeling the relationship between landscape characteristics and water quality in a typical highly intensive agricultural small watershed, Dongting lake basin, south central China.

    PubMed

    Li, Hongqing; Liu, Liming; Ji, Xiang

    2015-03-01

    Understanding the relationship between landscape characteristics and water quality is critically important for estimating pollution potential and reducing pollution risk. Therefore, this study examines the relationship between landscape characteristics and water quality at both spatial and temporal scales. The study took place in the Jinjing River watershed in 2010; seven landscape types and four water quality pollutions were chosen as analysis parameters. Three different buffer areas along the river were drawn to analyze the relationship as a function of spatial scale. The results of a Pearson's correlation coefficient analysis suggest that "source" landscape, namely, tea gardens, residential areas, and paddy lands, have positive effects on water quality parameters, while forests exhibit a negative influence on water quality parameters because they represent a "sink" landscape and the sub-watershed level is identified as a suitable scale. Using the principal component analysis, tea gardens, residential areas, paddy lands, and forests were identified as the main landscape index. A stepwise multiple regression analysis was employed to model the relationship between landscape characteristics and water quality for each season. The results demonstrate that both landscape composition and configuration affect water quality. In summer and winter, the landscape metrics explained approximately 80.7 % of the variance in the water quality variables, which was higher than that for spring and fall (60.3 %). This study can help environmental managers to understand the relationships between landscapes and water quality and provide landscape ecological approaches for water quality control and land use management.

  15. Landscape features and attractants that predispose grizzly bears to risk of conflicts with humans: A spatial and temporal analysis on privately owned agricultural land

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, Seth Mark

    Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) deaths in the US tend to be concentrated on the periphery of core habitats. These deaths were often preceded by conflicts with humans. Management removals of "nuisance" and or habituated grizzly bears are a leading cause of death in many populations. This exploratory study focuses on the conditions that lead to human-grizzly bear conflicts on private lands near core habitat. I examined spatial associations among reported human-grizzly bear conflicts during 1986--2001, landscape features, and agricultural-attractants in north-central Montana. I surveyed 61 of a possible 64 active livestock related land users and I used geographic information system (GIS) techniques to collect information on cattle and sheep pasture locations, seasons of use, and bone yard (carcass dumps) and beehive locations. I used GIS spatial analyses, univariate tests, and logistic regression models to explore the associations among conflicts, landscape features, and attractants. A majority (75%) of conflicts were found in distinct seasonal conflict hotspots. Conflict hotspots with spatial overlap were associated with riparian vegetation, bone yards, and beehives in close proximity to one another and accounted for 62% of all conflicts. Consistently available seasonal attractants in overlapping hotspots such as calving areas, sheep lambing areas and spring, summer, and fall sheep and cattle pastures appear to perpetuate the occurrence of conflicts. I found that lambing areas and spring and summer sheep pastures were strongly associated with conflict locations as were cattle calving areas, spring cow/calf pastures, fall pastures, and bone yards. Logistic regression modeling revealed that the presence of riparian vegetation within a 1.6 km search radius strongly influenced the likelihood of conflict. After controlling for riparian vegetation, I found that unmanaged bone yards, unfenced and fenced beehives, all increased the odds of conflict. For every 1 km moved away

  16. Strengths and weaknesses of temporal stability analysis for monitoring and estimating grid-mean soil moisture in a high-intensity irrigated agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ran, Youhua; Li, Xin; Jin, Rui; Kang, Jian; Cosh, Michael H.

    2017-01-01

    Monitoring and estimating grid-mean soil moisture is very important for assessing many hydrological, biological, and biogeochemical processes and for validating remotely sensed surface soil moisture products. Temporal stability analysis (TSA) is a valuable tool for identifying a small number of representative sampling points to estimate the grid-mean soil moisture content. This analysis was evaluated and improved using high-quality surface soil moisture data that were acquired by a wireless sensor network in a high-intensity irrigated agricultural landscape in an arid region of northwestern China. The performance of the TSA was limited in areas where the representative error was dominated by random events, such as irrigation events. This shortcoming can be effectively mitigated by using a stratified TSA (STSA) method, proposed in this paper. In addition, the following methods were proposed for rapidly and efficiently identifying representative sampling points when using TSA. (1) Instantaneous measurements can be used to identify representative sampling points to some extent; however, the error resulting from this method is significant when validating remotely sensed soil moisture products. Thus, additional representative sampling points should be considered to reduce this error. (2) The calibration period can be determined from the time span of the full range of the grid-mean soil moisture content during the monitoring period. (3) The representative error is sensitive to the number of calibration sampling points, especially when only a few representative sampling points are used. Multiple sampling points are recommended to reduce data loss and improve the likelihood of representativeness at two scales.

  17. From microbes to water districts: Linking observations across scales to uncover the implications of riparian and channel management on water quality in an irrigated agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Webster, A.; Cadenasso, M. L.

    2016-12-01

    Interactions among runoff, riparian and stream ecosystems, and water quality remain uncertain in many settings, particularly those heavily impacted by human activities. For example, waterways in the irrigated agricultural landscape of California's Central Valley are seasonally disconnected from groundwater tables and are extensively modified by infrastructure and management. These conditions make the impact of riparian and channel management difficult to predict across scales, which hinders efforts to promote best management practices to improve water quality. We seek to link observations across catchment, reach, and patch scales to understand patterns of nitrate and turbidity in waterways draining irrigated cropland. Data was collected on 80 reaches spanning two water management districts. At the catchment scale, water districts implemented waterway and riparian management differently: one water district had a decentralized approach, allowing individual land owners to manage their waterway channels and banks, while the other had a centralized approach, in which land owners defer management to a district-run program. At the reach scale, riparian and waterway vegetation, geomorphic complexity, and flow conditions were quantified. Reach-scale management such as riparian planting projects and channel dredging frequency were also considered. At the patch scale, denitrification potential and organic matter were measured in riparian toe-slope soils and channel sediments, along with associated vegetation and geomorphic features. All factors were tested for their ability to predict water quality using generalized linear mixed effects models and the consistency of predictors within and across scales was evaluated. A hierarchy of predictors emerges: catchment-scale management regimes predict reach-scale geomorphic and vegetation complexity, which in turn predicts sediment denitrification potential - the patch-scale factor most associated with low nitrate. Similarly

  18. Host specificity, pathogen exposure, and superinfections impact the distribution of Anaplasma phagocytophilum genotypes in ticks, roe deer, and livestock in a fragmented agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Chastagner, Amélie; Pion, Angélique; Verheyden, Hélène; Lourtet, Bruno; Cargnelutti, Bruno; Picot, Denis; Poux, Valérie; Bard, Émilie; Plantard, Olivier; McCoy, Karen D; Leblond, Agnes; Vourc'h, Gwenaël; Bailly, Xavier

    2017-08-12

    Anaplasma phagocytophilum is a bacterial pathogen mainly transmitted by Ixodes ricinus ticks in Europe. It infects wild mammals, livestock, and, occasionally, humans. Roe deer are considered to be the major reservoir, but the genotypes they carry differ from those that are found in livestock and humans. Here, we investigated whether roe deer were the main source of the A. phagocytophilum genotypes circulating in questing I. ricinus nymphs in a fragmented agricultural landscape in France. First, we assessed pathogen prevalence in 1837 I. ricinus nymphs (sampled along georeferenced transects) and 79 roe deer. Prevalence was dramatically different between ticks and roe deer: 1.9% versus 76%, respectively. Second, using high-throughput amplicon sequencing, we characterized the diversity of the A. phagocytophilum genotypes found in 22 infected ticks and 60 infected roe deer; the aim was to determine the frequency of co-infections. Only 22.7% of infected ticks carried genotypes associated with roe deer. This finding fits with others suggesting that cattle density is the major factor explaining infected tick density. To explore epidemiological scenarios capable of explaining these patterns, we constructed compartmental models that focused on how A. phagocytophilum exposure and infection dynamics affected pathogen prevalence in roe deer. At the exposure levels predicted by the results of this study and the literature, the high prevalence in roe deer was only seen in the model in which superinfections could occur during all infection phases and when the probability of infection post exposure was above 0.43. We then interpreted these results from the perspective of livestock and human health. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. Variability in Surface BRDF at Different Spatial Scales (30 m-500 m) Over a Mixed Agricultural Landscape as Retrieved from Airborne and Satellite Spectral Measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roman, Miguel O.; Gatebe, Charles K.; Schaaf, Crystal B.; Poudyal, Rajesh; Wang, Zhousen; King, Michael D.

    2011-01-01

    Over the past decade, the role of multiangle remote sensing has been central to the development of algorithms for the retrieval of global land surface properties including models of the bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF), albedo, land cover/dynamics, burned area extent, as well as other key surface biophysical quantities represented by the anisotropic reflectance characteristics of vegetation. In this study, a new retrieval strategy for fine-to-moderate resolution multiangle observations was developed, based on the operational sequence used to retrieve the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Collection 5 reflectance and BRDF/albedo products. The algorithm makes use of a semiempirical kernel-driven bidirectional reflectance model to provide estimates of intrinsic albedo (i.e., directional-hemispherical reflectance and bihemispherical reflectance), model parameters describing the BRDF, and extensive quality assurance information. The new retrieval strategy was applied to NASA's Cloud Absorption Radiometer (CAR) data acquired during the 2007 Cloud and Land Surface Interaction Campaign (CLASIC) over the well-instrumented Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) Cloud and Radiation Testbed (CART) site in Oklahoma, USA. For the case analyzed, we obtained approx.1.6 million individual surface bidirectional reflectance factor (BRF) retrievals, from nadir to 75 off-nadir, and at spatial resolutions ranging from 3 m - 500 m. This unique dataset was used to examine the interaction of the spatial and angular characteristics of a mixed agricultural landscape; and provided the basis for detailed assessments of: (1) the use of a priori knowledge in kernel-driven BRDF model inversions; (2) the interaction between surface reflectance anisotropy and instrument spatial resolution; and (3) the uncertain ties that arise when sub-pixel differences in the BRDF are aggregated to a moderate resolution satellite pixel

  20. Variability in Surface BRDF at Different Spatial Scales (30m-500m) Over a Mixed Agricultural Landscape as Retrieved from Airborne and Satellite Spectral Measurements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roman, Miguel O.; Gatebe, Charles K.; Schaaf, Crystal B.; Poudyal, Rajesh; Wang, Zhuosen; King, Michael D.

    2012-01-01

    Over the past decade, the role of multiangle 1 remote sensing has been central to the development of algorithms for the retrieval of global land surface properties including models of the bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF), albedo, land cover/dynamics, burned area extent, as well as other key surface biophysical quantities represented by the anisotropic reflectance characteristics of vegetation. In this study, a new retrieval strategy for fine-to-moderate resolution multiangle observations was developed, based on the operational sequence used to retrieve the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Collection 5 reflectance and BRDF/albedo products. The algorithm makes use of a semiempirical kernel-driven bidirectional reflectance model to provide estimates of intrinsic albedo (i.e., directional-hemispherical reflectance and bihemispherical reflectance), model parameters describing the BRDF, and extensive quality assurance information. The new retrieval strategy was applied to NASA's Cloud Absorption Radiometer (CAR) data acquired during the 2007 Cloud and Land Surface Interaction Campaign (CLASIC) over the well-instrumented Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) Cloud and Radiation Testbed (CART) site in Oklahoma, USA. For the case analyzed, we obtained approx.1.6 million individual surface bidirectional reflectance factor (BRF) retrievals, from nadir to 75deg off-nadir, and at spatial resolutions ranging from 3 m - 500 m. This unique dataset was used to examine the interaction of the spatial and angular 18 characteristics of a mixed agricultural landscape; and provided the basis for detailed assessments of: (1) the use of a priori knowledge in kernel-driven BRDF model inversions; (2) the interaction between surface reflectance anisotropy and instrument spatial resolution; and (3) the uncertainties that arise when sub-pixel differences in the BRDF are aggregated to a moderate resolution satellite

  1. The value of countryside elements in the conservation of a threatened arboreal marsupial Petaurus norfolcensis in agricultural landscapes of south-eastern Australia--the disproportional value of scattered trees.

    PubMed

    Crane, Mason J; Lindenmayer, David B; Cunningham, Ross B

    2014-01-01

    Human activities, particularly agriculture, have transformed much of the world's terrestrial environment. Within these anthropogenic landscapes, a variety of relictual and semi-natural habitats exist, which we term countryside elements. The habitat value of countryside elements (hereafter termed 'elements') is increasingly recognised. We quantify the relative value of four kinds of such 'elements' (linear roadside remnants, native vegetation patches, scattered trees and tree plantings) used by a threatened Australian arboreal marsupial, the squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis). We examined relationships between home range size and the availability of each 'element' and whether the usage was relative to predicted levels of use. The use of 'elements' by gliders was largely explained by their availability, but there was a preference for native vegetation patches and scattered trees. We found home range size was significantly smaller with increasing area of scattered trees and a contrasting effect with increasing area of linear roadside remnants or native vegetation patches. Our work showed that each 'element' was used and as such had a role in the conservation of the squirrel glider, but their relative value varied. We illustrate the need to assess the conservation value of countryside elements so they can be incorporated into the holistic management of agricultural landscapes. This work demonstrates the disproportional value of scattered trees, underscoring the need to specifically incorporate and/or enhance the protection and recruitment of scattered trees in biodiversity conservation policy and management.

  2. The Value of Countryside Elements in the Conservation of a Threatened Arboreal Marsupial Petaurus norfolcensis in Agricultural Landscapes of South-Eastern Australia—The Disproportional Value of Scattered Trees

    PubMed Central

    Crane, Mason J.; Lindenmayer, David B.; Cunningham, Ross B.

    2014-01-01

    Human activities, particularly agriculture, have transformed much of the world's terrestrial environment. Within these anthropogenic landscapes, a variety of relictual and semi-natural habitats exist, which we term countryside elements. The habitat value of countryside elements (hereafter termed ‘elements’) is increasingly recognised. We quantify the relative value of four kinds of such ‘elements’ (linear roadside remnants, native vegetation patches, scattered trees and tree plantings) used by a threatened Australian arboreal marsupial, the squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis). We examined relationships between home range size and the availability of each ‘element’ and whether the usage was relative to predicted levels of use. The use of ‘elements’ by gliders was largely explained by their availability, but there was a preference for native vegetation patches and scattered trees. We found home range size was significantly smaller with increasing area of scattered trees and a contrasting effect with increasing area of linear roadside remnants or native vegetation patches. Our work showed that each ‘element’ was used and as such had a role in the conservation of the squirrel glider, but their relative value varied. We illustrate the need to assess the conservation value of countryside elements so they can be incorporated into the holistic management of agricultural landscapes. This work demonstrates the disproportional value of scattered trees, underscoring the need to specifically incorporate and/or enhance the protection and recruitment of scattered trees in biodiversity conservation policy and management. PMID:25216045

  3. Nitrogen fate and transport through palustrine depressional wetlands along an alteration gradient in an agricultural landscape, upper Choptank Watersheds, Maryland, USA

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Understanding local groundwater hydrology and geochemistry is critical for evaluating the effectiveness of wetlands at mitigating agricultural impacts on surface waters. The effectiveness of forested, prior-converted cropland (historic wetlands), and restored palustrine depressional wetlands at miti...

  4. Genetic diversity and genetic structure of an endemic Mexican Dusky Rattlesnake (Crotalus triseriatus) in a highly modified agricultural landscape: implications for conservation.

    PubMed

    Sunny, Armando; Monroy-Vilchis, Octavio; Zarco-González, Martha M; Mendoza-Martínez, Germán David; Martínez-Gómez, Daniel

    2015-12-01

    It is necessary to determine genetic diversity of fragmented populations in highly modified landscapes to understand how populations respond to land-use change. This information will help guide future conservation and management strategies. We conducted a population genetic study on an endemic Mexican Dusky Rattlesnake (Crotalus triseriatus) in a highly modified landscape near the Toluca metropolitan area, in order to provide crucial information for the conservation of this species. There was medium levels of genetic diversity, with a few alleles and genotypes. We identified three genetically differentiated clusters, likely as a result of different habitat cover type. We also found evidence of an ancestral genetic bottleneck and medium values of effective population size. Inbreeding coefficients were low and there was a moderate gene flow. Our results can be used as a basis for future research and C. triseriatus conservation efforts, particularly considering that the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt is heavily impacted by destructive land-use practices.

  5. Understanding patchy landscape dynamics: towards a landscape language.

    PubMed

    Gaucherel, Cédric; Boudon, Frédéric; Houet, Thomas; Castets, Mathieu; Godin, Christophe

    2012-01-01

    Patchy landscapes driven by human decisions and/or natural forces are still a challenge to be understood and modelled. No attempt has been made up to now to describe them by a coherent framework and to formalize landscape changing rules. Overcoming this lacuna was our first objective here, and this was largely based on the notion of Rewriting Systems, also called Formal Grammars. We used complicated scenarios of agricultural dynamics to model landscapes and to write their corresponding driving rule equations. Our second objective was to illustrate the relevance of this landscape language concept for landscape modelling through various grassland managements, with the final aim to assess their respective impacts on biological conservation. For this purpose, we made the assumptions that a higher grassland appearance frequency and higher land cover connectivity are favourable to species conservation. Ecological results revealed that dairy and beef livestock production systems are more favourable to wild species than is hog farming, although in different ways. Methodological results allowed us to efficiently model and formalize these landscape dynamics. This study demonstrates the applicability of the Rewriting System framework to the modelling of agricultural landscapes and, hopefully, to other patchy landscapes. The newly defined grammar is able to explain changes that are neither necessarily local nor Markovian, and opens a way to analytical modelling of landscape dynamics.

  6. Understanding Patchy Landscape Dynamics: Towards a Landscape Language

    PubMed Central

    Gaucherel, Cédric; Boudon, Frédéric; Houet, Thomas; Castets, Mathieu; Godin, Christophe

    2012-01-01

    Patchy landscapes driven by human decisions and/or natural forces are still a challenge to be understood and modelled. No attempt has been made up to now to describe them by a coherent framework and to formalize landscape changing rules. Overcoming this lacuna was our first objective here, and this was largely based on the notion of Rewriting Systems, also called Formal Grammars. We used complicated scenarios of agricultural dynamics to model landscapes and to write their corresponding driving rule equations. Our second objective was to illustrate the relevance of this landscape language concept for landscape modelling through various grassland managements, with the final aim to assess their respective impacts on biological conservation. For this purpose, we made the assumptions that a higher grassland appearance frequency and higher land cover connectivity are favourable to species conservation. Ecological results revealed that dairy and beef livestock production systems are more favourable to wild species than is hog farming, although in different ways. Methodological results allowed us to efficiently model and formalize these landscape dynamics. This study demonstrates the applicability of the Rewriting System framework to the modelling of agricultural landscapes and, hopefully, to other patchy landscapes. The newly defined grammar is able to explain changes that are neither necessarily local nor Markovian, and opens a way to analytical modelling of landscape dynamics. PMID:23049935

  7. Integration of Multisensor Remote Sensing Data for the Retrieval of Consistent Times Series of High-Resolution NDVI Images for Crop Monitoring in Landscapes Dominated By Small-Scale Farming Agricultural

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sedano, F.; Kempeneers, P.

    2014-12-01

    There is a need for timely and accurate information of food supply and early warnings of production shortfalls. Crop growth models commonly rely on information on vegetation dynamics from low and moderate spatial resolution remote sensing imagery. While the short revisit period of these sensors captures the temporal dynamics of crops, they are not able to monitor small-scale farming areas where environmental factors, crop type and management practices often vary at subpixel level. Although better suited to retrieve fine spatial structure, time series of higher resolution imagery (circa 30 m) are often incomplete due to larger revisit periods and persistent cloud coverage. However, as the Landsat archive expands and more fine resolution Earth observation sensors become available, the possibilities of multisensor integration to monitor crop dynamics with higher level of spatial detail are expanding. We have integrated remote sensing imagery from two moderate resolution sensors (MODIS and PROBA-V) and three medium resolution platforms (Landsat 7- 8; and DMC) to improve the characterization of vegetation dynamics in agricultural landscapes dominated by small-scale farms. We applied a data assimilation method to produce complete temporal sequences of synthetic medium-resolution NDVI images. The method implements a Kalman filter recursive algorithm that incorporates models, observations and their respective uncertainties to generate medium-resolution images at time steps for which only moderate-resolution imagery is available. The results for the study sites show that the time series of synthetic NDVI images captured seasonal vegetation dynamics and maintained the spatial structure of the landscape at higher spatial resolution. A more detailed characterization of spatiotemporal dynamics of vegetation in agricultural systems has the potential to improve the estimates of crop growth models and allow a more precise monitoring and forecasting of crop productivity.

  8. Landscape transformations at the dawn of agriculture in southern Syria (10.7-9.9 ka cal. BP): Plant-specific responses to the impact of human activities and climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arranz-Otaegui, Amaia; López-Sáez, José Antonio; Araus, José Luis; Portillo, Marta; Balbo, Andrea; Iriarte, Eneko; Gourichon, Lionel; Braemer, Frank; Zapata, Lydia; Ibáñez, Juan José

    2017-02-01

    In southwest Asia, the accelerated impact of human activities on the landscape has often been linked to the development of fully agricultural societies during the middle and late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) period (around 10.2-7.9 ka cal. BP). This work contributes to the debate on the environmental impact of the so-called Neolitisation process by identifying the climatic and anthropogenic factors that contributed to change local and regional vegetation at the time when domesticated plants appeared and developed in southern Syria (around 10.7-9.9 ka cal. BP). In this work a multidisciplinary analysis of plant microremains (pollen and phytoliths) and macroremains (wood charcoal) is carried out along with stable carbon isotope discrimination of wood charcoals in an early PPNB site (Tell Qarassa North, west of the Jabal al-Arab area). Prior to 10.5 ka cal. BP, the results indicate a dynamic equilibrium in the local and regional vegetation, which comprised woodland-steppe, Mediterranean evergreen oak-woodlands, wetland vegetation and coniferous forests. Around 10.5-9.9 ka cal. BP, the elements that regulated the vegetation system changed, resulting in reduced proportions of arboreal cover and the spread of cold-tolerant and wetlands species. Our data show that reinforcing interaction between the elements of the anthropogenic (e.g. herding, fire-related activities) and climatic systems (e.g. temperature, rainfall) contributed to the transformation of early Holocene vegetation during the emergence of fully agricultural societies in southern Syria.

  9. Phenotypic and Genotypic Characteristics of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Isolated from Surface Waters and Sediments in a Canadian Urban-Agricultural Landscape

    PubMed Central

    Nadya, Stephanie; Delaquis, Pascal; Chen, Jessica; Allen, Kevin; Johnson, Roger P.; Ziebell, Kim; Laing, Chad; Gannon, Victor; Bach, Susan; Topp, Edward

    2016-01-01

    A hydrophobic grid membrane filtration—Shiga toxin immunoblot method was used to examine the prevalence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in four watersheds located in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada, a region characterized by rapid urbanization and intensive agricultural activity. STEC were recovered from 21.6, 23.2, 19.5, and 9.2% of surface water samples collected monthly from five sites in each watershed over a period of 1 year. Overall prevalence was subject to seasonal variation however, ranging between 13.3% during fall months and 34.3% during winter months. STEC were also recovered from 23.8% of sediment samples collected in one randomly selected site. One hundred distinct STEC isolates distributed among 29 definitive and 4 ambiguous or indeterminate serotypes were recovered from water and sediments, including isolates from Canadian “priority” serogroups O157 (3), O26 (4), O103 (5), and O111 (7). Forty seven isolates were further characterized by analysis of whole genome sequences to detect Shiga toxin gene (stx 1 and stx 2), intimin gene (eaeA) allelic variants and acquired virulence factors. These analyses collectively showed that surface waters from the region support highly diverse STEC populations that include strains with virulence factors commonly associated with human pathotypes. The present work served to characterize the microbiological hazard implied by STEC to support future assessments of risks to public health arising from non-agricultural and agricultural uses of surface water resources in the region. PMID:27092297

  10. Near-Channel Sediment Sources Now Dominate in Many Agricultural Landscapes: The Emergence of River-Network Models to Guide Watershed Management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Czuba, J. A.; Foufoula-Georgiou, E.; Gran, K. B.; Belmont, P.; Wilcock, P. R.

    2015-12-01

    Detailed sediment budgets for many agricultural watersheds are revealing a surprising story - that sediment is no longer primarily sourced from upland fields, but instead from near-channel sources. This is the case for the Minnesota River Basin (MRB) where an intensification and expansion of agricultural drainage combined with increased precipitation has (1) reduced surface runoff and erosion, (2) amplified streamflows, and (3) accelerated both near-channel sediment generation and sediment transport. Bluffs and streambanks in the MRB are now the dominant sources of sediment, but these features are not easily incorporated into traditional watershed-scale, sediment-transport models. Instead, we are advancing a network-based modeling framework that explicitly considers sediment sources, transport, and storage along a river network. We apply this framework to bed-material sediment transport in the Greater Blue Earth River Basin, the major sediment-generating subbasin of the MRB, where a recent sediment budget has quantified the locations and rates of erosion and deposition of major sediment sources and sinks (i.e., bluffs, streambanks/floodplains, agricultural fields, and ravines) over millennial and decadal timescales. With the river network as the basis of a simple model, inputs of sediment to the network are informed by the sediment budget and these inputs are tracked through the network using process-based time delays that incorporate uniform-flow hydraulics and at-capacity sediment transport. We explore how this sediment might move through the network and affect the variability of bed elevations under cases where the mechanisms of in-channel and floodplain storage are turned on and off. We will discuss timescales of movement of sediment through the system to better inform legacy effects and hysteresis, and also discuss targeted management actions that will most effectively reduce the detrimental effects of excess sediment.

  11. Transport of agricultural contaminants through karst soil

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Karst landscapes are common in many agricultural regions in the US. Well-developed karst landscapes are characterized by shallow soils, sinkholes, sinking streams, underground conduits, and springs. In these landscapes surface runoff is minimal and most recharge enters the subsurface relatively quic...

  12. Rapid assessment of ecosystem services provided by two mineral extraction sites restored for nature conservation in an agricultural landscape in eastern England.

    PubMed

    Blaen, Phillip J; Jia, Li; Peh, Kelvin S-H; Field, Rob H; Balmford, Andrew; MacDonald, Michael A; Bradbury, Richard B

    2015-01-01

    Despite growing recognition that mineral sites restored for nature conservation can enhance local biodiversity, the wider societal benefits provided by this type of restoration relative to alternative options are not well understood. This study addresses this research gap by quantifying differences in ecosystem services provision under two common mineral site after-uses: nature conservation and agriculture. Using a combination of site-specific primary field data, benefits transfer and modelling, we show that for our sites restoration for nature conservation provides a more diverse array of ecosystem services than would be delivered under an agricultural restoration scenario. We also explore the effects of addressing different conservation targets, which we find alter the provision of ecosystem services on a service-specific basis. Highly species-focused intervention areas are associated with increased carbon storage and livestock grazing provision, whereas non-intervention areas are important for carbon sequestration, fishing, recreation and flood risk mitigation. The results of this study highlight the wider societal importance of restored mineral sites and may help conservation managers and planners to develop future restoration strategies that provide benefits for both biodiversity and human well-being.

  13. Rapid Assessment of Ecosystem Services Provided by Two Mineral Extraction Sites Restored for Nature Conservation in an Agricultural Landscape in Eastern England

    PubMed Central

    Blaen, Phillip J.; Jia, Li; Peh, Kelvin S.-H.; Field, Rob H.; Balmford, Andrew; MacDonald, Michael A.; Bradbury, Richard B.

    2015-01-01

    Despite growing recognition that mineral sites restored for nature conservation can enhance local biodiversity, the wider societal benefits provided by this type of restoration relative to alternative options are not well understood. This study addresses this research gap by quantifying differences in ecosystem services provision under two common mineral site after-uses: nature conservation and agriculture. Using a combination of site-specific primary field data, benefits transfer and modelling, we show that for our sites restoration for nature conservation provides a more diverse array of ecosystem services than would be delivered under an agricultural restoration scenario. We also explore the effects of addressing different conservation targets, which we find alter the provision of ecosystem services on a service-specific basis. Highly species-focused intervention areas are associated with increased carbon storage and livestock grazing provision, whereas non-intervention areas are important for carbon sequestration, fishing, recreation and flood risk mitigation. The results of this study highlight the wider societal importance of restored mineral sites and may help conservation managers and planners to develop future restoration strategies that provide benefits for both biodiversity and human well-being. PMID:25894293

  14. Resilience at the Transition to Agriculture: The Long-Term Landscape and Resource Development at the Aceramic Neolithic Tell Site of Chogha Golan (Iran).

    PubMed

    Riehl, S; Asouti, E; Karakaya, D; Starkovich, B M; Zeidi, M; Conard, N J

    2015-01-01

    The evidence for the slow development from gathering and cultivation of wild species to the use of domesticates in the Near East, deriving from a number of Epipalaeolithic and aceramic Neolithic sites with short occupational stratigraphies, cannot explain the reasons for the protracted development of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent. The botanical and faunal remains from the long stratigraphic sequence of Chogha Golan, indicate local changes in environmental conditions and subsistence practices that characterize a site-specific pathway into emerging agriculture. Our multidisciplinary approach demonstrates a long-term subsistence strategy of several hundred years on wild cereals and pulses as well as on hunting a variety of faunal species that were based on relatively favorable and stable environmental conditions. Fluctuations in the availability of resources after around 10.200 cal BP may have been caused by small-scale climatic fluctuations. The temporary depletion of resources was managed through a shift to other species which required minor technological changes to make these resources accessible and by intensification of barley cultivation which approached its domestication. After roughly 200 years, emmer domestication is apparent, accompanied by higher contribution of cattle in the diet, suggesting long-term intensification of resource management.

  15. Resilience at the Transition to Agriculture: The Long-Term Landscape and Resource Development at the Aceramic Neolithic Tell Site of Chogha Golan (Iran)

    PubMed Central

    Riehl, S.; Asouti, E.; Karakaya, D.; Starkovich, B. M.; Zeidi, M.; Conard, N. J.

    2015-01-01

    The evidence for the slow development from gathering and cultivation of wild species to the use of domesticates in the Near East, deriving from a number of Epipalaeolithic and aceramic Neolithic sites with short occupational stratigraphies, cannot explain the reasons for the protracted development of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent. The botanical and faunal remains from the long stratigraphic sequence of Chogha Golan, indicate local changes in environmental conditions and subsistence practices that characterize a site-specific pathway into emerging agriculture. Our multidisciplinary approach demonstrates a long-term subsistence strategy of several hundred years on wild cereals and pulses as well as on hunting a variety of faunal species that were based on relatively favorable and stable environmental conditions. Fluctuations in the availability of resources after around 10.200 cal BP may have been caused by small-scale climatic fluctuations. The temporary depletion of resources was managed through a shift to other species which required minor technological changes to make these resources accessible and by intensification of barley cultivation which approached its domestication. After roughly 200 years, emmer domestication is apparent, accompanied by higher contribution of cattle in the diet, suggesting long-term intensification of resource management. PMID:26345115

  16. Spatial and Host-Related Variation in Prevalence and Population Density of Wheat Curl Mite (Aceria tosichella) Cryptic Genotypes in Agricultural Landscapes.

    PubMed

    Skoracka, Anna; Lewandowski, Mariusz; Rector, Brian G; Szydło, Wiktoria; Kuczyński, Lechosław

    2017-01-01

    The wheat curl mite (WCM), Aceria tosichella Keifer, is a major pest of cereals worldwide that also comprises a complex of at least 16 genetic lineages with divergent physiological traits, including host associations and specificity. The goal of this study was to test the extent to which host-plant species and landscape spatial variation influence WCM presence and population density across the entire area of Poland (>311,000 km2). Three important findings arose from the results of the study. (1) The majority of WCM lineages analyzed exhibited variation in patterns of prevalence and/or population density on both spatial and host-associated scales. (2) Areas of occurrence and local abundance were delineated for specific WCM lineages and it was determined that the most pestiferous lineages are much less widespread than was expected, suggesting relatively recent introductions into Poland and the potential for further spread. (3) The 16 WCM lineages under study assorted within four discrete host assemblages, within which similar host preferences and host infestation patterns were detected. Of these four groups, one consists of lineages associated with cereals. In addition to improving basic ecological knowledge of a widespread arthropod herbivore, the results of this research identify high-risk areas for the presence of the most pestiferous WCM lineages in the study area (viz. the entirety of Poland). They also provide insight into the evolution of pest species of domesticated crops and facilitate testing of fundamental hypotheses about the ecological factors that shape this pest community.

  17. Earthworm populations and functional traits in a land-use gradient of annual, perennial and permanent grassland systems in a heterogenic agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Emmerling, Christoph; Ruf, Thorsten

    2017-04-01

    Soil use is the key driving factor for the composition of the detritus food webs, for SOM quantity and quality, and related soil properties. Many studies have identified land-use change as a major driver affecting soil biodiversity, which severely influences soil functioning and the ecosystem services they deliver. The overall intention of the study was to gain insights in future trends of soil ecology in a changing land-use towards bioenergy production. Therefor we investigated earthworm responses to different land-use intensities, such as rotational cropping with maize (1G), cultivation of perennial crops (2G), like Szarvasi, Silphie, Igniscum and Miscanthus, and permanent grasslands at landscape scale in Western Germany. We analyzed species composition, individual numbers and biomass, and earthworm functional traits. We can conclude that on average the investigated earthworm parameters of the newly introduced second generation bioenergy crops took a medium position between annual maize and permanent grassland sites. In addition, the experiments clearly emphasized that some results were in a clear trend, but others were site-depended and to some extend indifferent. We will critically discuss the ecological significance of perennial land-use systems from a soil biodiversity and soil functioning point of view.

  18. Spatial and Host-Related Variation in Prevalence and Population Density of Wheat Curl Mite (Aceria tosichella) Cryptic Genotypes in Agricultural Landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Lewandowski, Mariusz; Rector, Brian G.; Szydło, Wiktoria

    2017-01-01

    The wheat curl mite (WCM), Aceria tosichella Keifer, is a major pest of cereals worldwide that also comprises a complex of at least 16 genetic lineages with divergent physiological traits, including host associations and specificity. The goal of this study was to test the extent to which host-plant species and landscape spatial variation influence WCM presence and population density across the entire area of Poland (>311,000 km2). Three important findings arose from the results of the study. (1) The majority of WCM lineages analyzed exhibited variation in patterns of prevalence and/or population density on both spatial and host-associated scales. (2) Areas of occurrence and local abundance were delineated for specific WCM lineages and it was determined that the most pestiferous lineages are much less widespread than was expected, suggesting relatively recent introductions into Poland and the potential for further spread. (3) The 16 WCM lineages under study assorted within four discrete host assemblages, within which similar host preferences and host infestation patterns were detected. Of these four groups, one consists of lineages associated with cereals. In addition to improving basic ecological knowledge of a widespread arthropod herbivore, the results of this research identify high-risk areas for the presence of the most pestiferous WCM lineages in the study area (viz. the entirety of Poland). They also provide insight into the evolution of pest species of domesticated crops and facilitate testing of fundamental hypotheses about the ecological factors that shape this pest community. PMID:28099506

  19. Developing a framework to assess the water quality and quantity impacts of climate change, shifting land use, and urbanization in a Midwestern agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loheide, S. P.; Booth, E. G.; Kucharik, C. J.; Carpenter, S. R.; Gries, C.; Katt-Reinders, E.; Rissman, A. R.; Turner, M. G.

    2011-12-01

    Dynamic hydrological processes play a critical role in the structure and functioning of agricultural watersheds undergoing urbanization. Developing a predictive understanding of the complex interaction between agricultural productivity, ecosystem health, water quality, urban development, and public policy requires an interdisciplinary effort that investigates the important biophysical and social processes of the system. Our research group has initiated such a framework that includes a coordinated program of integrated scenarios, model experiments to assess the effects of changing drivers on a broad set of ecosystem services, evaluations of governance and leverage points, outreach and public engagement, and information management. Our geographic focus is the Yahara River watershed in south-central Wisconsin, which is an exemplar of water-related issues in the Upper Midwest. This research addresses three specific questions. 1) How do different patterns of land use, land cover, land management, and water resources engineering practices affect the resilience and sensitivity of ecosystem services under a changing climate? 2) How can regional governance systems for water and land use be made more resilient and adaptive to meet diverse human needs? 3) In what ways are regional human-environment systems resilient and in what ways are they vulnerable to potential changes in climate and water resources? A comprehensive program of model experiments and biophysical measurements will be utilized to evaluate changes in five freshwater ecosystem services (flood regulation, groundwater recharge, surface water quality, groundwater quality, and lake recreation) and five related ecosystem services (food crop yields, bioenergy crop yields, carbon storage in soil, albedo, and terrestrial recreation). Novel additions to existing biophysical models will allow us to simulate all components of the hydrological cycle as well as agricultural productivity, nitrogen and phosphorus transport

  20. Caesium-137 soil-to-plant transfer for representative agricultural crops of monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants in post-Chernobyl steppe landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paramonova, Tatiana; Komissarova, Olga; Turykin, Leonid; Kuzmenkova, Natalia; Belyaev, Vladimir

    2016-04-01

    The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 had a large-scale action on more than 2.3 million hectares agricultural lands in Russia. The area of radioactively contaminated chernozems of semi-arid steppe zone with initial levels of Cs-137 185-555 kBq/m2 in Tula region received the name "Plavsky radioactive hotspot". Nowadays, after the first half-life period of Cs-137 arable chernozems of the region are still polluted with 3-6-fold excess above the radioactive safety standard (126-228 kBq/m2). Therefore, qualitative and quantitative characteristics of Cs-137 soil-to-plant transfer are currently a central problem for land use on the territory. The purpose of the present study was revealing the biological features of Cs-137 root uptake from contaminated arable chernozems by different agricultural crops. The components of a grass mixture growing at the central part of Plavsky radioactive hotspot with typical dicotyledonous and monocotyledonous plants - galega (Galega orientalis, Fabaceae family) and bromegrass (Bromus inermis, Gramineae family) respectively - were selected for the investigation, that was conducted during the period of harvesting in 2015. An important point was that the other factors influenced on Cs-137 soil-to-plant transfer - the level of soil pollution, soil properties, climatic conditions, vegetative phase, etc. - were equal. So, biological features of Cs-137 root uptake could be estimated the most credible manner. As a whole, general discrimination of Cs-137 root uptake was clearly shown for both agricultural crops. Whereas Cs-137 activity in rhizosphere 30-cm layer of arable chernozem was 371±74 Bq/kg (140±32 kBq/m2), Cs-137 activities in plant biomass were one-two orders of magnitude less, and transfer factor (TF) values (the ratio of the Cs-137 activities in vegetation and in soil) not exceeded 0.11. At the same time bioavailability of Cs-137 for bromegrass was significantly higher than for galega: TFs in total biomass of the

  1. Effectiveness of Conservation Measures in Reducing Runoff and Soil Loss Under Different Magnitude-Frequency Storms at Plot and Catchment Scales in the Semi-arid Agricultural Landscape.

    PubMed

    Zhu, T X

    2016-03-01

    In this study, multi-year stormflow data collected at both catchment and plot scales on an event basis were used to evaluate the efficiency of conservation. At the catchment scale, soil loss from YDG, an agricultural catchment with no conservation measures, was compared with that from CZG, an agricultural catchment with an implementation of a range of conservation measures. With an increase of storm recurrence intervals in the order of <1, 1-2, 2-5, 5-10, 10-20, and >20 years, the mean event sediment yield was 639, 1721, 5779, 15191, 19627, and 47924 t/km(2) in YDG, and was 244, 767, 3077, 4679, 8388, and 15868 t/km(2) in CZG, which represented a reduction effectiveness of 61.8, 55.4, 46.7, 69.2, 57.2, and 66.8 %, respectively. Storm events with recurrence intervals greater than 2 years contributed about two-thirds of the total runoff and sediment in both YDG and CZG catchments. At the plot scale, soil loss from one cultivated slopeland was compared with that from five conservation plots. The mean event soil loss was 1622 t/km(2) on the cultivated slopeland, in comparison to 27.7 t/km(2) on the woodland plot, 213 t/km(2) on the grassland plot, 467 t/km(2) on the alfalfa plot, 236 t/km(2) on the terraceland plot, and 642 t/km(2) on the earthbank plot. Soil loss per unit area from all the plots was significantly less than that from the catchments for storms of all categories of recurrence intervals.

  2. Use of real-time and continuous water quality monitoring in Iowa streams to inform conservation strategy in an agricultural landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, C. S.; Kim, S. W.; Davis, C. A.

    2015-12-01

    Agricultural watersheds in the Midwestern U.S. are major contributors of nutrients to the Mississippi River Basin and the Gulf of Mexico. Many states within the Upper Mississippi River Basin, including Iowa, are developing nutrient reduction strategies to reduce non-point and point source loads of nitrogen and phosphorous in an effort to reverse degradation of streams and lakes. Quantifying nutrient loads in Iowa and assessing loads transported within Iowa rivers are important components of Iowa's strategy. Nutrient loads estimated with data collected using traditional methods of grab sampling are expensive and have met with limited usefulness to the agricultural community when assessing the effectiveness of implemented conservation practices. New sensor technology is allowing for real-time measurement of nutrient loads in many Iowa rivers. IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering has deployed 22 nitrate-nitrogen sensors in several Iowa rivers to provide accurate measure of nutrient loads. Combined with 17 sensors operated by the USGS, the sensor network captures nutrient transport and loading patterns in rivers across the state. A new Iowa Water Quality Information System (IWQIS) is being developed to display and share the continuous, real-time data. The data reported here will compare and contrast load calculations obtained using continuous monitors with those from a more traditional grab samples. We also will demonstrate how continuous nitrate monitoring informs watershed hydrology and the assessment of conservation practices designed to reduce nutrient loss from farmed fields. Finally, we will establish that the costs of real time continuous monitoring are modest when compared to grab sampling strategies and the costs of implementing conservation on productive lands in the Western Corn Belt of Iowa.

  3. Effectiveness of Conservation Measures in Reducing Runoff and Soil Loss Under Different Magnitude-Frequency Storms at Plot and Catchment Scales in the Semi-arid Agricultural Landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, T. X.

    2016-03-01

    In this study, multi-year stormflow data collected at both catchment and plot scales on an event basis were used to evaluate the efficiency of conservation. At the catchment scale, soil loss from YDG, an agricultural catchment with no conservation measures, was compared with that from CZG, an agricultural catchment with an implementation of a range of conservation measures. With an increase of storm recurrence intervals in the order of <1, 1-2, 2-5, 5-10, 10-20, and >20 years, the mean event sediment yield was 639, 1721, 5779, 15191, 19627, and 47924 t/km2 in YDG, and was 244, 767, 3077, 4679, 8388, and 15868 t/km2 in CZG, which represented a reduction effectiveness of 61.8, 55.4, 46.7, 69.2, 57.2, and 66.8 %, respectively. Storm events with recurrence intervals greater than 2 years contributed about two-thirds of the total runoff and sediment in both YDG and CZG catchments. At the plot scale, soil loss from one cultivated slopeland was compared with that from five conservation plots. The mean event soil loss was 1622 t/km2 on the cultivated slopeland, in comparison to 27.7 t/km2 on the woodland plot, 213 t/km2 on the grassland plot, 467 t/km2 on the alfalfa plot, 236 t/km2 on the terraceland plot, and 642 t/km2 on the earthbank plot. Soil loss per unit area from all the plots was significantly less than that from the catchments for storms of all categories of recurrence intervals.

  4. Use of the soil and water assessment tool to scale sediment delivery from field to watershed in an agricultural landscape with topographic depressions.

    PubMed

    Almendinger, James E; Murphy, Marylee S; Ulrich, Jason S

    2014-01-01

    For two watersheds in the northern Midwest United States, we show that landscape depressions have a significant impact on watershed hydrology and sediment yields and that the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) has appropriate features to simulate these depressions. In our SWAT models of the Willow River in Wisconsin and the Sunrise River in Minnesota, we used Pond and Wetland features to capture runoff from about 40% of the area in each watershed. These depressions trapped considerable sediment, yet further reductions in sediment yield were required for calibration and achieved by reducing the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) cropping-practice (P) factor to 0.40 to 0.45. We suggest terminology to describe annual sediment yields at different conceptual spatial scales and show how SWAT output can be partitioned to extract data at each of these scales. These scales range from plot-scale yields calculated with the USLE to watershed-scale yields measured at the outlet. Intermediate scales include field, upland, pre-riverine, and riverine scales, in descending order along the conceptual flow path from plot to outlet. Sediment delivery ratios, when defined as watershed-scale yields as a percentage of plot-scale yields, ranged from 1% for the Willow watershed (717 km) to 7% for the Sunrise watershed (991 km). Sediment delivery ratios calculated from published relations based on watershed area alone were about 5 to 6%, closer to pre-riverine-scale yields in our watersheds. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.

  5. Gastrointestinal parasite infections and self-medication in wild chimpanzees surviving in degraded forest fragments within an agricultural landscape mosaic in Uganda

    PubMed Central

    Hasegawa, Hideo; Bardi, Massimo; Huffman, Michael A.

    2017-01-01

    . Nevertheless, several disease-causing taxa infecting these chimpanzees are potentially transmissible between apes and humans (e.g. rhabditoid and strongyle nematodes), underscoring the importance of identifying and reducing risks of pathogen exchange in shared landscapes. PMID:28692673

  6. Simple landscape modifications for pollinator and arthropod natural enemy enhancement

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Beneficial arthropods which play an important role in providing ecosystem services (pollination and pest control) have come under threat as a result of intensive agricultural practices and simplification of habitats. Ecological intensification in agricultural landscapes by diversifying the habitat r...

  7. Comparing bottom-up and top-down approaches at the landscape scale, including agricultural activities and water systems, at the Roskilde Fjord, Denmark

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lequy, Emeline; Ibrom, Andreas; Ambus, Per; Massad, Raia-Silvia; Markager, Stiig; Asmala, Eero; Garnier, Josette; Gabrielle, Benoit; Loubet, Benjamin

    2015-04-01

    The greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) mainly originates in direct emissions from agricultural soils due to microbial reactions stimulated by the use of nitrogen fertilisers. Indirect N2O emissions from water systems due to nitrogen leaching and deposition from crop fields range between 26 and 37% of direct agricultural emissions, indicating their potential importance and uncertainty (Reay et al. 2012). The study presented here couples a top-down approach with eddy covariance (EC) and a bottom-up approach using different models and measurements. A QCL sensor at 96-m height on a tall tower measures the emissions of N2O from 1100 ha of crop fields and from the south part of the Roskilde fjord, in a 5-km radius area around the tall tower at Roskilde, Denmark. The bottom-up approach includes ecosystem modelling with CERES-EGC for the crops and PaSIM for the grasslands, and the N2O fluxes from the Roskilde fjord are derived from N2O sea water concentration measurements. EC measurements are now available from July to December 2014, and indicate a magnitude of the emissions from the crop fields around 0.2 mg N2O-N m-2 day-1 (range -9 to 5) which is consistent with the CERES-EGC simulations and calculations using IPCC emission factors. N2O fluxes from the Roskilde fjord in May and July indicated quite constant N2O concentrations around 0.1 µg N L-1 despite variations of nitrate and ammonium in the fjord. The calculated fluxes from these concentrations and the tall tower measurements consistently ranged between -7 and 6 mg N2O-N m-2 day-1. The study site also contains a waste water treatment plant, whose direct emissions will be measured in early 2015 using a dynamic plume tracer dispersion method (Mønster et al. 2014). A refined source attribution methodology together with more measurements and simulations of the N2O fluxes from the different land uses in this study site will provide a clearer view of the dynamics and budgets of N2O at the regional scale. The

  8. Managing landscape disturbances to increase watershed infiltration

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Agricultural land undergoing conversion to conventional urban development can drastically increase runoff and degrade water quality. A study of landscape management for improving watershed infiltration was conducted using readily available runoff data from experimental watersheds. This article focus...

  9. Assessing Landscapes to Support Watershed Management

    EPA Science Inventory

    As we change the face of the landscape in the United States with urban development and agriculture practices, the alterations can cause stormwater runoff, soil erosion and water pollution. Therefore, evaluating or assessing natural landscapes and providing the tools to do the...

  10. Assessing Landscapes to Support Watershed Management

    EPA Science Inventory

    As we change the face of the landscape in the United States with urban development and agriculture practices, the alterations can cause stormwater runoff, soil erosion and water pollution. Therefore, evaluating or assessing natural landscapes and providing the tools to do the...

  11. The Role of Created and Restored Wetlands in Mitigating N and P Pollutants in Agricultural Landscapes: Case Studies in the Florida Everglades, Mississippi-Ohio-Missouri Basin, and Laurentian Great Lakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitsch, W. J.

    2016-12-01

    On a global scale, we have lost half of our original wetlands to our current extent of 8 to 12 million km2, with most of that loss in the 20th century. In the United States, we lost 50% of our wetlands by the beginning of the 1970s. I am proposing here a sizeable increase in our wetland resources for solving the diminishing wetland habitat problem, but with the strategic purpose of minimizing the excess phosphorus and nitrogen in our aquatic ecosystems, with the added benefit of sometimes sequesting carbon from the atmosphere, in our rural, urban, and coastal landscapes in a sustainable fashion. Examples include attempts to minimize phosphorus inflows to the Florida Everglades with wetlands to quite low concentrations and a proposal to restore parts of the Black Swamp in NW Ohio to minimize eutrophication of Lake Erie in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Nitrogen retention by wetlands and riparian forests in the Mississippi-Ohio-Missouri Basin, especially in Midwestern USA, has been proposed for 15 years as a solution and endorsed by the Federal government to solve the seasonal hypoxia in the northern portion of the Gulf of Mexico, but there has been little if any progress over those 15 years. Solutions to recycle the nutrients retained in the wetlands back to agriculture to decrease fertilizer use will be presented as a solution to the multiple problems of wetland habitat loss, downstream lake, reservoir, river, and coastal nutrient pollution, diminishing supplies of phosphorus fertilizer, and fertilizer costs.

  12. Shifting Patterns of Agricultural Diversity

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Although monocultural cropping systems can provide the greatest yield efficiency in the short term, more diverse agricultural landscapes may contribute multiple ecosystem benefits. The USDA's Cropland Data Layer provides a yearly map of the agricultural lands of the continental United States broken ...

  13. Temporal and spatial resource use by female three-toed sloths and their young in an agricultural landscape in Costa Rica.

    PubMed

    Ramirez, Oscar; Vaughan, Christopher; Herrera, Geovanny; Guries, Raymond

    2011-12-01

    The information on ecological behavior of wild sloths is very scarce. In this study we determined the home ranges and resources used by three adult female three-toed sloths (Bradypus variegatus) and their four young in an agricultural matrix of cacao (Theobroma cacao), pasture, riparian forests and living fencerows in Costa Rica. Births occurred during November-December and the young became independent at five to seven months of age. Initially, mothers remained fixed in one or a few trees, but expanded their use of resources as young sloths became independent from them. Mothers initially guided the young to preferred food and cover resources, but they gradually left their young in small nucleus areas and colonized new areas for themselves. Home range sizes for young sloths (up to seven months of age) varied between 0.04-0.6 hectares, while home range sizes for mothers varied from 0.04-25.0 hectares. During the maternal care period, 22 tree species were used, with the most common being Cecropia obtusifolia (30.9%), Coussapoa villosa (25.6%), Nectandra salicifolia (12.1%), Pterocarpus officinalis (5.8%) and Samanea saman (5.4%). However, young sloths used only 20 tree species, with the most common being C. villosa (18.4%), S. saman (18.5%) and N. salicifolia (16.7%). The cacao agroforest was used only by mother sloths and never by their young following separation. However, in the riparian forest, both mother sloths and young used the tree species. A total of 28 tree species were used by the mother sloth; including the food species: C. obtusifolia, C. villosa, N. salicifolia and P. officinalis. However, the young used 18 trees species in this habitat with N. salicifolia and S. saman most commonly used, although they rested and fed during the day in C. obtusifolia, C. villosa and O. sinnuata. The cacao agroforest with adjacent riparian forests and fencerows provides an important habitat type that links the smaller secondary forests and other patches.

  14. Climate change and the economics of biomass energy feedstocks in semi-arid agricultural landscapes: A spatially explicit real options analysis.

    PubMed

    Regan, Courtney M; Connor, Jeffery D; Raja Segaran, Ramesh; Meyer, Wayne S; Bryan, Brett A; Ostendorf, Bertram

    2017-05-01

    The economics of establishing perennial species as renewable energy feedstocks has been widely investigated as a climate change adapted diversification option for landholders, primarily using net present value (NPV) analysis. NPV does not account for key uncertainties likely to influence relevant landholder decision making. While real options analysis (ROA) is an alternative method that accounts for the uncertainty over future conditions and the large upfront irreversible investment involved in establishing perennials, there have been limited applications of ROA t