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From the Corn Belt to the Gulf: Societal and Environmental Implications of Alternative Agricultural Futures

Edited By: Joan Iverson Nassauer

Resources for the Future

Paperback | Jul 2007 | #168210 | ISBN-13: 9781933115481
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NHBS Price: £29.99 $39/€33 approx

About this book

Nutrients from farms in the Mississippi River Basin are the leading cause of the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, a 5,000- to 7,000-square mile region where declining oxygen levels threaten marine life.

This book explores ways to alleviate this problem and at the same time improve overall water quality, enhance biodiversity, improve the quality of life for the people who live and work in Corn Belt communities, and relieve downstream flooding. The book presents assessments of agricultural and ecological systems in the Mississippi River Basin along with studies of local Iowa farms and watersheds. The authors use the term "alternative futures" to describe how changes in agricultural landscapes and practices could improve the situation. 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, into global oceanic and atmospheric systems. The economic and social implications of agricultural policies similarly extend to national and international levels.

Pressing negotiations with America's trade partners, along with renewed interest in biofuels and increasing attention to environmental effects of current agricultural policy are creating momentum for change. "From the Corn Belt to the Gulf" provides ideas to inform this urgent debate.

This groundbreaking book analyzes alternative ways to manage Corn Belt farms for improved environmental outcomes - without pushing farmers from their lands. The authors address an array of possibilities for farm and conservation policies that could translate these alternative landscapes and broader public benefits into reality. - Sandra S. Batie, Michigan State University"


Preface: Corn Belt Agricultural Landscape Values: Learning in the Field Introduction 1. Policy insights from alternative futures and integrated assessments Section 1: Environmental and societal drivers of agricultural landscape futures 2. Corn Belt Landscapes and Hypoxia of the Gulf of Mexico 3. Changing Societal Expectations for Environmental Benefits from Agricultural Policy Section 2: Assessing the Effects of Alternative Corn Belt Landscape Futures in Iowa 4. Alternative Scenarios for Future Iowa Agricultural Landscapes 5. Economic Implications 6. Farmersi? Perceptions 7. Water Quality 8. Plant Diversity 9. Pollinator Responses 10. Amphibian Population Dynamics 11. Impacts on Mammal Communities: A Spatially Explicit Model 12. Impacts on Mammal Communities: Landscape Indices 13. Wildlife Habitat Section 3: Policy Implications across Scales: From Iowa Watersheds to the Mississippi River Basin 14. An Integrated Assessment of Alternative Futures for Iowa Watersheds 15. Improving Water Quality from the Corn Belt to the Gulf 16. Agricultural Policy Choices

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Joan Iverson Nassauer is a professor of landscape architecture in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. Mary V. Santelmann is the director of the Water Resources Graduate Program and a member of the Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University. Donald Scavia is a professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, where he is also director of both the Michigan Sea Grant Program and the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research.

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