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Jointly Promoting Environmental and Economic Benefits in Corn Belt Agriculture through Spatial Optimization

April 19 @ 12:05 pm - 12:55 pm CDT

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Presenter: Ellen Audia, GIS certificate candidate, natural resource ecology and management
Advisors: Lisa Schulte Moore, professor, natural resource ecology and management, and John Tyndall, associate professor, natural resource ecology and management


Shifts in U.S. agriculture from small, diverse farms to large, high-input monocultures have contributed to food security and economic growth, but also to environmental impairments such as nutrient and sediment loading and biodiversity loss. In response, many conservationists are spatially targeting best management practices (BMPs) across agricultural landscapes to more efficiently focus time and resources.

In this analysis, Audia developed a multi-objective spatial optimization model to target BMPs across East Big Creek watershed of central Iowa. She used the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF), the ACPF Financial Tool and the Healthy Farm Index (HFI) to inform the optimal placement of contour buffer strips, riparian buffers and nutrient retention wetlands across the watershed so that water quality and biodiversity were maximized subject to a range of cost constraints.

Both the methodology and the output landscapes from this analysis can help inform land-use planning in East Big Creek and other watersheds.

The seminar starts promptly at 12:05 p.m. and ends at 12:55 p.m. This spring 2021 series will be using an online format. Hosted by the Department of Community and Regional Planning, the GIS Seminar Series is open to the public. If you are interested in attending a presentation, please send an email to Monica Haddad ( at least one day in advance, and she will send you a link with Webex information to attend.


April 19
12:05 pm - 12:55 pm CDT
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