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America’s remaining grassland in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is at risk of being lost to crop production. When crop prices are high, like the historically high corn prices that the U.S. experienced between 2008 and 2014, the risk of grassland conversion is even higher. Changing climate will add uncertainties to any efforts toward conservation of grassland in the PPR. Grassland conversion to cropland in the region would imperil nesting waterfowl among other species and further impair water quality in the Mississippi watershed. In this project, we sought to contribute to the understanding of land conversion in the PPR with the aim to better target the use of public and private funds allocated toward incentivizing...
Abstract (from http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/agsaaea16/235895.htm): We evaluate the regional-level agricultural impacts of climate change in the Northern Great Plains. We first estimate a non-linear yield-weather relationship for all major commodities in the area: corn, soybeans, spring wheat and alfalfa. We separately identify benevolent and harmful temperature thresholds for each commodity, and control for severe-to-extreme dry/wet conditions in our yield models. Analyzing all major commodities in a region extends the existing literature beyond just one crop, most typically corn yields. Alfalfa is particularly interesting since it is a legume-crop that is substitutable with grasses as animal feed and rotated...
This paper examines the impact of production network economies on designing cost-effective conservation targeting strategies. We first develop a theoretical model to study the decision to convert land from an extensive (or biodiversity-friendly) use to an intensive use (e.g., crop agriculture) in the presence of network economies in land use returns. The model supports the possibility of multiple land use equilibria due to network economies and identifies policy outcomes that increase welfare. Bandwagon effects can occur whereby spatial production spillovers from lands under intensive use can prompt further conversions on proximate lands under extensive use. Conversely, conservation sites can be placed strategically...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
An increase in land conversion from grassland to cropland in the United States has attracted attention in recent years. According to Claassen et al. (2011a), grassland to cropland conversion is concentrated in the Northern Plains, including Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, which encompasses only 18% of U.S. rangeland but accounted for 57 percent of U.S. rangeland to cropland conversion during the study period of 1997 to 2007. Focusing on land cover data in the Western Corn Belt, Wright and Wimberly (2013) also pointed out that grassland conversion was mostly concentrated in the Dakotas, east of the Missouri River and between 2006 and 2011.
We develop an analytical framework to examine an agency's optimal grassland easement acquisition while accounting for landowners’ optimal decisions under uncertainty in both conversion and conservation returns. We derive the value of “wait and see” (i.e., neither convert nor ease grassland) for landowners and find that grassland-to-cropland conversion probability and easement value vary in opposing directions when “wait and see” is preferred, indicating that a larger conversion probability does not necessarily imply a higher easement value. Our analysis shows that when conservation funds can be flexibly allocated across periods then the agency's optimal acquisition can be readily achieved by sorting land tracts...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation