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Title: Can conservation trump impacts of climate change and extremes on soil erosion in agricultural landscapes

item Garbrecht, Jurgen
item Nearing, Mark
item Steiner, Jean
item Zhang, Xunchang

Submitted to: Miscellaneous Publishing Information Bulletin
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/26/2014
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Abstract Only

Technical Abstract: Preservation of top soil is critical for the long term sustainability of agricultural productivity, food security, and biodiversity. However, today’s growing population and increasing demand for food and fiber is stressing the agricultural soil and water resources. Climate change imposes additional pressures on the already stressed agricultural landscape. Conservationists, producers, and land managers are concerned that existing conservation practices, based on agronomic and climate observations of the last century, may be inadequate to preserve agricultural soil resources under a potentially intensified future climate. Numerous studies have investigated the sustainability of agricultural soil resources under various scenarios of climate change and have proposed mitigating conservation measures to stabilize soil erosion and downstream sediment yield. This contribution highlights selected noteworthy points pertaining to the assessment of effectiveness of agronomic soil conservation measures to control soil erosion under a future climate, particularly in terms of the uncertainty of projected future climates and under concurrent potential producer actions to adapt to climate change. Based on these and other considerations, traditional conservation tillage and no-till cropping systems appear to be effective at controlling soil erosion on cropland in the central plains of the United States under many future climate change scenarios. However, the large uncertainty of projected future climates also results in a large range of soil erosion estimates that limits the identification of a unique and accurate soil conservation target needed for planning and budgeting of conservation programs.