RANGELAND AND LIVESTOCK RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory
Title: Pastureland Conservation Effects Assessment Project: Status and expected outcomes
Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 25, 2011
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Citation: Sanderson, M.A., Goslee, S.C., Franzluebbers, A.J., Kiniry, J.R., Owens, L.B., Spaeth, K., Steiner, J.L., Veith, T.L. 2011. Pastureland Conservation Effects Assessment Project: Status and expected outcomes. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 66(5):148A-153A.
Interpretive Summary: The Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) is a multiagency scientific effort to quantify environmental outcomes of conservation practices applied to private agricultural lands. The 48 million hectares of pastureland in the United States support rural livelihoods and provide multiple ecosystem services including soil carbon sequestration, water cycling, and wildlife habitat in addition to supplying food, feed, and fiber. In 2008, a CEAP effort began on pastureland to address resource and conservation concerns. A research network of USDA ARS and collaborating scientists is being assembled to address key knowledge, data, and technology gaps in conservation practices applied to pastureland. The research will be conducted at multiple scales from pastures to watersheds and will provide a quantitative understanding of the environmental outcomes of conservation practices on pastureland. This research will facilitate the development of comprehensive erosion control, nutrient management, and conservation planning technologies, which will in turn reduce environmental impacts from pastureland.
The Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) is a multiagency scientific effort to quantify environmental outcomes of conservation practices applied to private agricultural lands. A CEAP effort on pastureland, primarily in the eastern and central United States, began in 2008. In this paper we discuss resource and conservation concerns on pastureland in the United States, describe recent CEAP-related research addressing these concerns, and outline the need for new tools and technologies for conservation management of pastureland. Research by USDA ARS and land grant universities has supported CEAP objectives by addressing environmental outcomes of grazing management. USDA ARS and collaborating researchers seek to (1) understand interactive effects of grazing management alternatives on soil, water, air, plant, and animal responses; (2) understand the role of soil, landscape position, land use history, and climate on the potential of pastureland to sequester soil organic C, mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and develop resilient agroecosystems; and (3) quantify changes in soil organic C, nutrient balances, and water cycling across a diversity of conditions expected from improved pasture management. CEAP facilitates the development of a focused national network of ARS and land grant university research locations in partnership with NRCS to address conservation issues on pastureland. Meeting CEAP research objectives will provide quantitative understanding of the environmental outcomes of conservation practices on pastureland. This strong scientific basis and provide a foundation for future work.