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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2011 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Integrate and synthesize research information on multiple ecosystem services and pastureland production to address ecological condition and management on grazing lands, and assess tradeoffs between these multiple goals.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The American Forage and Grassland Council will facilitate a literature synthesis effort to document the effects of the following conservation practices: (1) prescribed grazing, (2) pasture and hayland planting, (3) pest management, and (4) nutrient management on pastureland in the USA. A final chapter will address an integrated assessment of the socio-economic concerns of implementing these practices.

Conduct multivariate and geospatial analyses of climate, soils and topography to refine and enhance the development of ecological site descriptions that reflect ecological and production attributes of pastureland. The new information obtained will be used to refine and enhance the Forage Suitability Groups now being developed by NRCS, and will additionally be used to refine the plant sampling protocols used for the pastureland National Resource Inventory.

3.Progress Report

Spatially-referenced climate, soils and topography information has been intersected with agricultural land uses from the National Land Cover Data to identify site types that comprise at least 70% of the land used for grazing agriculture in the twelve Northeastern states. This information will serve as the basis for developing an ecologically-based site type classification for temperate humid pastures. Sophisticated multivariate methods such as classification and regression trees and random forest models have been evaluated for suitability for developing more accurate classifications. These site descriptions will be merged with on-farm and remote sensing data to create scientifically-grounded classifications suitable for both research and management purposes.

Last Modified: 11/28/2015
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