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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #435259

Research Project: Human Dimensions of Sustainable Agriculture in Long-Term Agroecosystems Research (LTAR)

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Project Number: 3064-21660-004-09-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2021

Objective:
1. Assess human dimension research capacity and needs across the LTAR network, and develop a baseline of site indicators. 2. Engage stakeholders at selected LTAR sites, including the emerging California LTAR site, to define “quality of life” and "rural prosperity" as well as create a framework of socio-economic metrics for assessing long-term sustainability of agricultural production and ecosystem services. 3. Engage stakeholders to assess future scenarios of environmental change under Business as Usual (BAU) and Aspirational (ASP) scenarios, and document perceived impacts to productivity, environmental health, and quality of life. 4. Engage stakeholders to identify opportunities and barriers to adoption of ASP agricultural management strategies, and to identify community needs for the design and delivery of integrated knowledge, tools, and products.

Approach:
The proposed scope of work employs a social-ecological systems approach to understanding agro-ecosystems to identify and describe biophysical, ecological, social, and economic processes of agricultural communities and their stakeholders. Interviews will be conducted with LTAR researchers and stakeholders to understand their perceptions of social, economic, and ecological knowledge and needs; to understand how stakeholders define their own sense of well-being; and understand social, economic, and ecological processes perceived as critical for agricultural productivity, environmental health, and rural quality of life. Secondary data will be identified and compiled for each LTAR site to develop baseline profiles for the sites relevant to human dimensions assessment. Stakeholder workshops will be conducted at selected LTAR sites to develop socio-economic metrics for assessing long-term agroecosystem sustainability; deliberate trade-offs of BAU and ASP systems in terms of ecosystem services and rural prosperity and quality of life; and identify opportunities, barriers, and willingness to adopt ASP strategies.