Hosting Organization:  

 

Understanding dynamics of land use switching with satellite and field level data in context of climate variability

Principal Investigator(s): 
David A. Hennessy [Dept Economics and Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), Iowa State University; hennessy@iastate.edu], Christopher J. Anderson [Climate Science Program, Iowa State University, cjames@iastate.edu], Peter T. Wolter [Dept Natural Resource Ecology and Management, ptwolter@iastate.edu], Hongli Feng [Dept Economics, Iowa State University; hfeng@iastate.edu]
Co-Investigator(s): 
Kaylan Carrlson (Manager of Conservation Planning, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.); Martha Kaufmann (Managing Director, Northern Great Plains, World Wildlife Federation US); Heather Johnson (Regional Private Lands Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Service); Scott McLeod (N. Dakota Private Lands Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Service); Adnan Akyüz (N. Dakota State Climatologist); Peter Bauman (S. Dakota State Univ. grassland extension specialist); Frayne Olson (Dept. of Agribusiness and Applied Econ, N. Dakota State Univ.); Ben Rashford (Dept. of Agric. & Applied Econ., Univ. of Wyoming); Susan Skagen (USGS, Fort Collins, Colorado); Rick Nelson (Plains and Prairie Pothole Landscape Conservation Cooperative).

What remains of the United States prairie ecosystem is threatened by economic forces and a changing climate. Grassland conversion to cropland in the Dakotas would imperil nesting waterfowl among other species and further impair water quality in the Mississippi watershed. We are working with grassland conservation managers to better target the use of public and private funds allocated toward incentivizing grassland preservation on private lands in the Dakotas. We are assembling data on historical land switching in the area and on land conversion costs, and will analyze crop vulnerabilities to weather and climate change. The project provides practical analytical tools to assess the likelihood of grassland conversion to cropping and of the costs of protecting these lands under different climate and economic scenarios. These tools, together with insights we obtain from partners in the area, allow us to work with land conservation managers on identifying lands to target for grassland protection incentives under alternative climate and economic conditions. Outputs will be used to collaborate with land conservation managers when comparing strategies for ensuring that lands providing high wildlife, habitat and hunting benefits at low conservation cost are conserved while private landowners are happy to forgo land use alternatives.