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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Precision Conservation

Authors
item Berry, Joseph - U DENVER, CO/VISITING SCI
item Delgado, Jorge

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Water Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 5, 2006
Publication Date: April 23, 2007
Citation: Berry, J., Delgado, J.A. 2007. Precision conservation. In: Stand trimble (ed). Encyclopedia of Water Science. Marcel Decker, New York. DOI:.1081/E-EWS-12004829 - electronic version.

Interpretive Summary: Precision conservation professionals and other users (farmer, agronomist, and others) are the human factor of precision conservation and key to apply the practices at the right places at the right time and at the right scale to make conservation effective (Cox, 2005). Precision Conservation is being embrace at the highest USA conservation institutions (Knight 2005). Knight (2005), Chief of the USDA Natural resources Conservation Service reported that NRCS is committed to help producers employ precision conservation techniques. NRCS is also committee to develop the knowledge and tools to support Precision Conservation to put these tools to work for conservation (Knight 2005). Recent advances are contributing to use Precision Conservation tools to develop Precision Conservation management plans that are site specific accounting for spatial variability across the field (Kitchen et al. 2005; Lerch et al. 2005). We could also use precision conservation tools to assess the effects of best management practices at a watershed scale using cell analysis of spatial distributed impacts across the watershed (Reschler et al. 2005). These new capabilities are allowing us to identifying areas of high impacts on erosion (Schumacher et al. 2005; Reschler et al. 2005) and nitrate leaching (Delgado and Bausch, 2005). Precision conservation will continue to evolve to link new technologies to assess how management practices can be more effective across different erosion risk landscape scenarios to reduce the off site transport of nutrients, to conserve the sustainability of the system and even to improve the physical and chemical properties of systems to increase their productivity and to reclaim eroded soils. Precision conservation will be a key science to contribute to the sustainability of our biosphere in this century.

Technical Abstract: Precision conservation utilizes a set of technologies and procedures that link mapped variables with analytical capabilities to appropriate management actions. It requires the integration of spatial technologies of global positioning systems, remote sensing and geographic information systems with the ability to analyze spatial data. Emerging ideas and applications served as the focus of a recent symposium on “Precision Conservation in North America” at the 2004 annual meeting of the Soil Science Society of America. At the symposium several researchers presented papers describing how precision conservation can be applied to soil management systems and landscape position and the interactions with nutrient distribution, nutrient application to reduce NO3-N leaching losses, and soil organic C sequestration potential. The concept of precision conservation was also used and applied with conservation planning. Precision conservation was applied to erosion probability maps, erosion variability, identifying spatial patterns of erosion, and effect of erosion patterns on yield productivity. Precision conservation concepts were also applied to precision irrigation. Precision conservation will continue to evolve to link new technologies to assess how management practices can be more effective across different erosion risk landscape scenarios to reduce the off site transport of nutrients, to conserve the sustainability of the system and even to improve the physical and chemical properties of systems to increase their productivity and to reclaim eroded soils. Precision conservation will be a key science to contribute to the sustainability of our biosphere in this century.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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