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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Sustainable Soil Management: a Framework for Analysis

Authors
item Popp, J - UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
item Hoag, D - COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY
item ASCOUGH, JAMES

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 12, 2001
Publication Date: March 17, 2002
Citation: POPP, J.H., HOAG, D.L., ASCOUGH II, J.C. SUSTAINABLE SOIL MANAGEMENT: A FRAMEWORK FOR ANALYSIS. MEETING ABSTRACT. 2002.

Interpretive Summary: Sustainable resource management is one of the most complex concerns today. Society has spent billions on conserving productive and marginal soils in cultivation yet it is unclear whether these efforts buy sustainability. Further study about which soils need conservation merits consideration. We propose a framework to examine the sustainability of resource management in nobjective, measurable ways. A resource endowment, represented by a quality index, is placed into a dynamic model to determine how resource use adjusts to meet sustainability objectives and how production input use changes with fluctuations in resource quality. Impacts of sustainability objectives and the time path of resource quality are evaluated using substitution, reversibility and uncertainty criteria. To assess the impact of conservation, data for soils and corn production inputs were evaluated in a three step simulation, regression and optimization analysis. Results show that the decisions to use or conserve soil and the impacts of these decisions are highly dependent upon soil type and on how sustainability is defined. In general, while conservation slowed degradation on marginal soils in production, conservation was most effective on the productive soils. In addition, the better the soil, the more likely soil conservation easily and consistently met the requirements of sustainability.

Technical Abstract: Sustainable resource management is one of the most complex concerns today. Society has spent billions on conserving productive and marginal soils in cultivation yet it is unclear whether these efforts buy sustainability. Further study about which soils need conservation merits consideration. We propose a framework to examine the sustainability of resource management in nobjective, measurable ways. A resource endowment, represented by a quality index, is placed into a dynamic model to determine how resource use adjusts to meet sustainability objectives and how production input use changes with fluctuations in resource quality. Impacts of sustainability objectives and the time path of resource quality are evaluated using substitution, reversibility and uncertainty criteria. To assess the impact of conservation, data for soils and corn production inputs were evaluated in a three step simulation, regression and optimization analysis. Results show that the decisions to use or conserve soil and the impacts of these decisions are highly dependent upon soil type and on how sustainability is defined. In general, while conservation slowed degradation on marginal soils in production, conservation was most effective on the productive soils. In addition, the better the soil, the more likely soil conservation easily and consistently met the requirements of sustainability.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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