UNDERSTANDING AND PREDICTING THE IMPACT OF AGRICULTURE ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY OF MANAGED WATERSHEDS
Location: Water Quality and Ecology Research
Title: Understanding ecosystem services provided by rice fields
Submitted to: Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 15, 2011
Publication Date: May 15, 2011
Citation: Moore, M.T., Locke, M.A., Kroger, R. 2011. Understanding ecosystem services provided by rice fields [abstract]. Abstracts of the 21st Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry-Europe. Milan, Italy, May 15-19, 2011. p. 258.
Interpretive Summary: Abstract Only - interpretative summary not required.
While the concept of ecosystem services is not new, there is revived interest in how these services should be measured, monitored, and valued. Focused research over the last four years has provided insight into the mitigation capabilities of rice fields in the lower Mississippi River Valley of the United States. In an effort to assign an ecosystem value to this mitigation capacity, two field studies were evaluated for their effectiveness at decreasing concentrations and loads of various pesticides. In the large scale study (0.19-0.27 ha), aqueous diazinon concentrations decreased 81±18% from inflow to outflow after passing through a rice field. Given assumptions of the mean rice production in the state of Mississippi and current rice commodity prices, this area would have produced $355 - $507 worth of rice crop for a farmer. However, using ecosystem services values in published literature, the waste treatment value alone of these fields ranged from $1176 - $1670. A second, smaller scale study (0.02 ha) found similar results, with rice fields able to decrease aqueous atrazine and diazinon concentrations 77±20% and 82±15%, respectively, from inflow to outflow. Given the same assumptions above, $47 worth of rice could have been produced from this research plot, with approximately $150 worth of waste treatment achieved by the same system. Although these ecosystem service values are estimates, these studies demonstrate the potential for a 3-fold benefit in environmental services versus traditional crop production revenue. There are many additional issues to consider, including maintenance and other costs, but environmental practitioners must begin placing values on such systems to promote global sustainability.