Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MAKING NEEDED ECOSYSTEM SERVICES PAY IN AN AGRICULTURAL WATERSHED

Location: Soil Management Research

2010 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Build integrated models to predict the impact of targeted land-use changes on managed and natural ecosystem services and to mitigate effects of environmental stressors on these systems in the Chippewa River Watershed (CRW). 2. Develop robust and transferable approaches based on principles of multifunctional agriculture to identify environmentally-friendly and economically-viable land-use changes with synergistic positive impacts at the farm and landscape levels.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
1. We will utilize simulation models (Agricultural Production Systems Simulator, APSIM, and Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer, DSSAT) that can integrate predictions based on climate change (Hadley Center Coupled Model, HadCM3), General Circulation Model (GCM) and whole-farm systems modeling for strategic and tactical planning at the farm and watershed levels in the CRW. This will lead to improved understanding of site-specific impact of climate, soil types, and management on agricultural production and will be extrapolated to the watershed level using GIS technology. Currently existing databases compiled by NCSCRL from on-station (8 years) and on-farm (4 years) on traditional and alternative cropping systems, including organic cropping systems and perennial biomass crops will be utilized to calibrate field- and watershed-level simulation models and to develop necessary inputs for the SWAT applications. Additional data will be collected from the same experimental plots and farmers' fields during the duration of the project. The databases include detailed quantitative measurements on crops, soils, nutrients, (mainly C, N and P, and micronutrients), water and residues. Additionally, data on the impact of management practices (e.g., tillage implements, timing and frequency), on crops and soils is also available in electronic formats. 2. The simulation procedure to be used allows for point-based models (e.g., a field or experimental plots) to be instantiated multiple times within a single simulation, with communication of data between each discrete point in space. The final output will be linked using GIS technology for planning purposes. All raw data on climate, crops, soils, and current and alternative management practices are available for the research farm of NCSCRL and for 4 farms in or close to the CRW. 3. The output of the proposed research at NCSCRL will provide input(s) to be utilized by the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) team to assess the impact of land management practices on water, sediment and agricultural chemical yields in the complex CRW basin with varying soil types, land use and management conditions. The simulation study at NCSCRL will test two interrelated hypotheses: (1) Meditating water flow at landscape level will help sustain managed and natural ecosystems through increased biodiversity, habitat-carrying capacity and better water quality, and (2) Increasing perennial land-use will improve environmental health through reduced run-off and soil erosion, biodiversity and habitat and sustained carbon sequestration.


3.Progress Report

The latest version of two simulation models (Agricultural Production Systems Simulator, APSIM, and Decision Support System of Agrotechnology Transfer, DSSAT) have been obtained and preliminary tests were conducted using data from the long-term cropping systems project in the Lab. Two meetings of project team and collaborators were convened and decided to (1) hire a computer programmer to compile databases, develop simulation scenarios, and calibrate both simulation models for future, on-farm simulation runs, (2) identify field locations in the target area of the project and decide on the number of samples to be collected and soil, plant, and water characteristics to be measured for the on-farm simulation part of the study, (3) develop a password-protected SharePoint facility for all project plans, documents, and communications to be stored, and for all collaborators to access and communicate, and (4) upgrade the GPS/GIS equipment at the Lab with funds budgeted in the project to ensure high accuracy of locating sampling sites in farmers’ fields. Interviews are underway to select a computer programmer, and the remaining items have been completed.


Last Modified: 10/19/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page