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Title:Identifying targets for multifunctional perennial cropping systems implementation through a landowner adoption preferences survey and a spatial suitability analysis
Author(s):Mattia, Chloe Michelle
Advisor(s):Lovell, Sarah
Contributor(s):Davis, Adam; Fraterrigo, Jennifer
Department / Program:Crop Sciences
Discipline:Crop Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Adoption study
Landowner survey
Revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE)
Multifunctional agriculture
Sangamon River
Suitability analysis
Abstract:The demand to meet food security goals drives production of modern row-crop agriculture to areas of marginal land. Intensive management of marginal cropland accelerates instances of soil erosion and nutrient leaching. Multifunctional land use strategies are needed to mitigate environmental impacts and as well as information tools to facilitate their implementation. Considering both farmer motivations and rural development needs, one option is to transition marginal farmland to perennial crops. In this study, we considered the potential for Multifunctional Perennial Cropping Systems (MPCs) that would simultaneously provide production and conservation benefits. We examined adoption potential of MPCs on marginal farmland through an agricultural landowner survey in the Upper Sangamon River Watershed (USRW) in Illinois, USA. We identified adoption preferences among landowners in conjunction with socio-demographic characteristics that would facilitate targeted implementation. Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and discriminant analysis identified landowner categories and key factors affecting adoption potential. Landowner age, appreciation for plant diversity, and future farm management involvement were the strongest predictors of potential MPCs adoption. The landowner categories identified within the survey data, supplemented with focus group discussions, suggested a high adoption potential farmer profile as a young, educated landowner with known marginal land they would consider converting to MPCs for improved soil and water quality conservation. Additionally, we developed a suitability map for use as a management tool to target areas of marginal cropland for potential transition to perennial crop production. We deployed a rule-based model for MPCs implementation on agricultural land in Central Illinois. Model estimations were based on current marginal land definitions, soil erosion distribution, and landowner adoption preferences identified from the survey. Maps of soil erosion and landscape characteristics were spatially analyzed in a GIS and parameterized to encode the magnitude of each variable’s effect on MPCs suitability. In the application for the Upper Sangamon River Watershed (USRW), the model identified 267 km2 of high erosion zones, particularly in the Northeastern section of the watershed and land areas south of the Sangamon River. The spatial distribution of target areas was often where crop productivity was low, topographic potential for erosion was high, and edges of roads and waterways identified small fields. In a future scenario in which MPCs would be implemented on all identified target regions, soil erosion in the USRW was estimated to be reduced 56%. Based on research goals and current knowledge, this model provides a simple and effective management tool for identifying priority areas for MPCs implementation.
Issue Date:2017-04-28
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Chloe Mattia
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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