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Title:Ecorestoration of riparian forests for nonpoint source pollution control: Policy and ecological considerations in Illinois agroecosystem watersheds
Author(s):Dickson, Bruce Cameron
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hopkins, Lewis D.
Department / Program:Urban and Regional Planning
Discipline:Urban Planning
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Agriculture, General
Economics, Agricultural
Environmental Sciences
Engineering, Environmental
Urban and Regional Planning
Abstract:The Central Corn Belt Plains Ecoregion of Central and Northern Illinois has a significant nonpoint source water quality problem that is not being successfully addressed by current agroenvironmental policy. Trend analysis showed that concentrations of nitrate, dissolved phosphorus, and total phosphorus were not reduced in thirteen watersheds between 1986 and 1992 despite implementation of the CRP program. Average stream nitrate concentration between 1977 and 1992 (7.2 mg/L) was well above levels expected for unimpacted prairie streams and frequently exceeded 10 mg/L. Regression analysis showed that average stream nitrate concentration was strongly related to land loadings of nitrogen fertilizer.
A notable reduction of nonpoint source pollutants to streams could be realized through new agroenvironmental policies based on the ecorestoration of riparian forests. Spatial analysis showed a low percentage of riparian forest coverage in the thirteen watersheds indicating a severely fragmented riparian ecosystem having significant restoration potential. Two ecorestoration policies based on ecosystem functional goals and specific criteria were characterized and compared. Riparian forest restoration has the potential to lower average nitrate concentration by nearly half if 55 percent of all eligible riparian acres currently in production were restored to a width of 25 m. However, the 25 m wide riparian forest would not develop into self-sustaining forest patches but function primarily as edge habitats. A 75 m riparian forest restoration would produce self-sustaining forest patches and supply greater ecological benefits than the 25 m width. Both policy options produce substantial benefits over costs but on a per acre basis the 25 m option is superior. Over a range of land rental rates ($90, \$120, $150/acre) modest benefits are realized on the average farm without including timber value and ecological benefits. Lastly, agroenvironmental policy can be based on ecosystem-level management strategies linked to specific ecosystem functional criteria.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Dickson, Bruce Cameron
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9522103
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9522103

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