From the Corn Belt to the Gulf: Societal and Environmental Implications of Alternative Agricultural Futures
Joan I Nassauer, Mary V Santelmann, Donald Scavia
Taylor & Francis, Sep 30, 2010 - Law - 272 pages
Nutrients from farms in the Mississippi River Basin are the leading cause of the Gulf of Mexicos 'Dead Zone,' a 5,000 to 7,000 square mile region where declining oxygen levels are threatening the survival of marine life. From the Corn Belt to the Gulf explores how new agricultural policy can help alleviate this problem, and at the same time improve water quality overall, enhance biodiversity, improve the quality of life for the people who live and work in Corn Belt communities, and relieve downstream flooding. The themes of the book are the far-reaching environmental impacts of Corn Belt agriculture, including associated economic and social effects at multiple spatial scales - and the potential for future agricultural policy to address those impacts through changes in agricultural landscapes and practices. We know that the environmental 'footprint' of Corn Belt agriculture extends beyond farmland and adjacent lakes and streams to groundwater, rivers, cities downstream, into the Gulf of Mexico, and, ultimately, to global oceanic and atmospheric systems. And we acknowledge that agricultural policies, including commodity support payments, have economic impacts at the national and international levels. Pressing negotiations with Americas trade partners, along with increasing societal attention to both the costs and environmental effects of current agricultural policy, are creating momentum for policy change. From the Corn Belt to the Gulf presents innovative, integrated assessments of the agriculture and ecological systems in the Mississippi River Basin along with studies of local Iowa agricultural watersheds. Contributors from multiple academic and professional disciplines discuss how agricultural policies have contributed to current environmental conditions, and, in what the authors term 'alternative futures' for agricultural landscapes, envision how new policy can help achieve more beneficial patterns.
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agricultural landscapes agricultural policy agricultural practices alternative futures alternative scenarios amphibian average baseline conditions baseline landscape biodiversity bioreserves BMPs breeding Buck Creek watershed butterfly Color Figure commodity compared conservation programs corn and soybean Corn Belt Corn Belt agricultural Corry cropland dead zone density diversity drainage ecological economic ecosystems effects endpoints environmental benefits erosion estimated farm fertilizer future landscapes future scenarios goals Gulf of Mexico habitat patches hypoxia i_EPIC improved water quality increased integrated assessment Iowa State University land cover landscape futures landscape patterns LPMs mammal management practices Mississippi River N-loss Nassauer nitrate nitrogen nitrogen loading nutrient pasture payments percent perennial cover policy scenarios population potential prairie precision agriculture production ratings reduced relative restoration riparian rotational grazing row crops runoff Santelmann sediment simulation small mammal societal soybean species richness Table tile drainage U.S. EPA USDA values vegetation Walnut Creek watershed wetlands woodland