Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/3/2008
Publication Date: 10/5/2008
Citation: Sanderson, M.A. 2008. Managing forage and grazing lands for multiple ecosystem services: possibilities, progress, and research needs for the eastern USA[abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. p. 1. CDROM. Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: Forage and grazing lands occupy nearly 81 million ha in the eastern USA (east of the 98th meridian) and form the backbone of the ruminant livestock industry. The traditional ecosystem functions of forage and grazing lands have been the capture of solar energy via plants and the efficient cycling of nutrients and water to provide ecosystem goods and services in the form of feed, fiber, milk, and meat. Increasingly, farmers are being challenged to grapple with managing for new ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas mitigation, and energy (biofuels) production. For example, the USDA-NRCS Conservation Security Program rewards farmers for managing for multiple ecosystem services, such as soil conservation, water quality protection, and C sequestration. The USDA National Organic Standards emphasize pasture utilization not only for feed production but also for animal well being and product quality. Some of these new ecosystem services (e.g., cellulosic biofuels from forages) may compete with traditional services. An important question is whether these lands can be sustained to meet society’s needs and expectations for all (traditional and new) ecosystem services. Research needs related to these issues will be discussed, and some examples of new initiatives will be presented.