Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Making Ecosystem Services Pay for Diversified Land-Uses in Agricultural Watersheds

Location: Soil Management Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
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).


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
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.


3.Progress Report:

The objective of this project is to 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. The effects of annual harvesting and four different fertilization treatments on soil nutrient, plant and insect dynamics in a perennial biomass production system are being investigated in collaboration with University of Minnesota-Morris partners. A researcher at Morris, MN, and a collaborator presented the data evaluated on this experiment at the Ecological Society of America's annual meeting. The findings to date on this experiment indicate that soil nutrient processes have not yet changed, but plant biomass reflects the added fertilizer levels. Plant diversity declined under the use of high rates of inorganic fertilizer, but was maintained with the use of cattle manure or no fertilizers. Insect diversity across the landscape was high where plant diversity was high and low where land management was more intensive. Continued evaluation on this perennial biomass experiment will assist scientists and land managers in the development of diverse land use systems that are supportive of ecosystem services.


Last Modified: 10/20/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page