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Hongli Feng

America’s remaining grassland in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) is at risk of being lost to crop production. When crop prices are high, like the historically high corn prices that the U.S. experienced between 2008 and 2014, the risk of grassland conversion is even higher. Changing climate will add uncertainties to any efforts toward conservation of grassland in the PPR. Grassland conversion to cropland in the region would imperil nesting waterfowl among other species and further impair water quality in the Mississippi watershed. In this project, we sought to contribute to the understanding of land conversion in the PPR with the aim to better target the use of public and private funds allocated toward incentivizing...
Abstract (from IOP Science): Global agriculture is challenged to increase soil carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing products for an increasing population. Growing crop production could be achieved through higher yield per hectare (i.e. intensive farming) or more hectares (extensive farming), which however, have different ecological and environmental consequences. Multiple lines of evidence indicate that expanding cropland for additional production may lead to loss of vegetation and soil carbon, and threaten the survival of wildlife. New concerns about the impacts of extensive farming have been raised for the US Corn Belt, one of the world's most productive regions, as cropland...
Abstract (from http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/agsaaea16/235895.htm): We evaluate the regional-level agricultural impacts of climate change in the Northern Great Plains. We first estimate a non-linear yield-weather relationship for all major commodities in the area: corn, soybeans, spring wheat and alfalfa. We separately identify benevolent and harmful temperature thresholds for each commodity, and control for severe-to-extreme dry/wet conditions in our yield models. Analyzing all major commodities in a region extends the existing literature beyond just one crop, most typically corn yields. Alfalfa is particularly interesting since it is a legume-crop that is substitutable with grasses as animal feed and rotated...
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