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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS OF PHYSICAL LANDSCAPE PROCESSES THAT IMPACT THE QUALITY AND MANAGEMENT OF AGRICULTURAL WATERSHEDS

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research Unit

Title: Review of: Managing Agricultural Landscapes for Environmental Quality

Author
item Dabney, Seth

Submitted to: Agricultural Systems
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: August 27, 2008
Publication Date: February 11, 2009
Citation: Dabney, S.M. 2009. Review of: Managing Agricultural Landscapes for Environmental Quality. Agricultural Systems. DOI:10.1016/j.agsy.2008.12.005

Interpretive Summary: This is a book review of the proceedings of a workshop/conference that was held in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, 11-13 October 2006. The intent of the workshop was to extend the knowledge base concerning the environmental benefits of “Conservation on Cropland” to impacts beyond the edge of the field, focusing at the watershed and landscape scales. At the conference, and in this volume, the subject was divided into four areas: (1) What we should measure and how, (2) Methods for watershed scale research, (3) The science of targeting within landscapes, and (4) Realistic expectations. One of the greatest values in this volume is the unusual synergism obtained by bringing together literature reviews and case studies of conservation practice effects from the varied perspectives of ecologists, soil scientists, hydrologists, wildlife biologists, sociologists, and economists. The conclusion of the book is that what we are doing currently is too little and too disconnected to meet the needs for reliable science-based prediction and evaluation of landscape scale effects/benefits (spatially, temporally, and in aggregate) but that progress is being made and opportunities exist that are both exciting and challenging. Perhaps this volume can help raise awareness among both scientists and policy makers of the current state of knowledge, the need for ongoing assessment of landscape scale effects, and the risks associated with failing to make such assessments.

Technical Abstract: This volume is the proceedings of a workshop/conference that was held in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, 11-13 October 2006. The intent of the workshop was to extend the knowledge base concerning the environmental benefits of “Conservation on Cropland” to impacts beyond the edge of the field, focusing at the watershed and landscape scales. At the conference, and in this volume, the subject was divided into four areas that I abbreviate as: (1) What we should measure and how, (2) Methods for watershed scale research, (3) The science of targeting within landscapes, and (4) Realistic expectations. One of the greatest values in this volume is the unusual synergism obtained by bringing together literature reviews and case studies of conservation practice effects from the varied perspectives of ecologists, soil scientists, hydrologists, wildlife biologists, sociologists, and economists. The conclusion of the book is that what we are doing currently is too little and too disconnected to meet the needs for reliable science-based prediction and evaluation of landscape scale effects/benefits (spatially, temporally, and in aggregate) but that progress is being made and opportunities exist that are both exciting and challenging. Perhaps this volume can help raise awareness among both scientists and policy makers of the current state of knowledge, the need for ongoing assessment of landscape scale effects, and the risks associated with failing to make such assessments.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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