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Assessing the effects of USDA conservation programs on ecosystem services provided by wetlands

Smith, Loren M., Effland, William R., Behrman, Katherine D., Johnson, Mari-Vaughn V.
National wetlands newsletter 2015 v.37 no.5 pp. 10-13
Conservation Effects Assessment Project, USDA, agricultural land, agroecology, conservation practices, decision support systems, ecosystem services, funding, models, sustainable agriculture, wetlands, United States
The Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) is led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in an effort to quantify the environmental effects of conservation programs and practices on privately owned agricultural landscapes across the United States. CEAP’s approach includes application of both field research and modeling. CEAP has four significant impacts. First, the research contributes to the body of knowledge in agroecology and conservation. Second, the results are used to inform conservation program and practice improvements in order to maximize environmental benefits while promoting sustainable agriculture. Third, the results serve to inform the general public and policymakers about the impacts of current conservation practices and programs. Finally, these findings provide a decision support tool for congressionally mandated reviews and agency-level policy- makers to direct future funding and conservation program and practice development toward outstanding conservation needs—increasing conservation benefits in the most effective and economical ways.