Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/31/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Grazinglands are the largest land use in the continental USA and contribute to critical ecological processes. Although grazinglands are extensive in the humid southeastern USA, they receive relatively little agricultural or ecological research attention. Programs at a USDA research center in the Southern Piedmont and an ecological research center in southern Florida address broad ecological processes and economic viability of grazinglands. Piedmont agriculture consists of predominantly small farms within a forest- dominated landscape. Farm income is dominated by poultry production, while pasture is a predominant land use. In Southern Florida, research is conducted within the context of a working 3000 head cow-calf ranch, typical of extensive beef cattle production in the area. At both centers, economic viability is addressed hand in hand with ecological aspects, because decisions made to address concerns of farm and ranch families have major impacts in the landscape. Both regions are under pressure from increased population, with trends to more fragmented land holdings. Loss of agricultural land often leads to degradation of ecosystem services. Goals, strategies, approaches, and organizational structures from the centers will illustrate how integrated economic and ecological research can address diverse needs of land-owners and the conservation community.