Conservation Bridge has several videos related to conservation in agricultural lands. Some of the them have additional materials for teaching in pdf. “Farming for Wildlife” gets 5 stars and used in my Conservation in Agricultural Landscapes course this spring.
Check out a nice guide from Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada entitled “Shelterbelts – Design Guidelines for Farmyard, Field, Roadside, Livestock, Wildlife and Riparian Buffer Plantings on the Prairies.”
5 Aug 2010. The tool has been updated.
USDA has a new tool that lets you download soil and pasture rental rates (for CRP and other uses) in a variety of ways. Also has an EI caclulator.
Premonition of the Farm Bill’s conservation programs ?
“Most of what needs doing must be done by the farmer himself. There is no conceivable way by which the general public can legislate crabapples, or grape tangles, or plum thickets to grow up on these barren fencerows, roadsides, and slopes, nor will the resolutions or prayers of a city change the depth of next winter’s snow nor cause cornshocks to be left in the fields to feed the birds. All the non-farming public can do is to provide information and build incentives on which farmers may act. “
- Aldo Leopold, 1993 as cited by C. Meine in The Farmer as Conservationist: Leopold on Agriculture.
The U.S. NABCI Committee and the Intermountain West Joint Venture have produced a Field Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill for Fish and Wildlife Conservation.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service has a guide about Farmscaping for Biological Control. The report highlights the services provided by natural insect predators (beneficials) and how to design farm landscapes that maximize these services. The report describes Farm Bill programs that can be used to install conservation practices, lists species of plants that support specific groups of beneficial insects, and has detailed budget estimates for various management practices.
USDA has published a new 136-page corridor manual:
Bentrup, G. 2008. Conservation Buffers: Design Guidelines for Buffers, Corridors, and Greenways. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-109. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station.
This is the NEW best corridor manual in existence, a planning tool following up Conservation Corridor Planning at the Landscape Level (the “old” best corridor manual reviewed earlier by yours truly). This new manual is designed for use in the field. It is small and spiral bound. It has great diagrams, rules of thumb for the practical landowner, and it describes design guidelines for 7 major objectives – water quality, biodiversity, productive soils, economic opportunities, protection & safety, aesthetics & visual quality, and outdoor recreation. Importantly, it updates the science and includes recommendations for both urban and agricultural landscapes.
At www.bufferguidelines.net, you can also download the bibliography ( 1,400+ references!), case studies and slideshows that complement the guide. Available as a free downloadable pdf or order it as a spiral bound copy.
One caveat: This new manual does not make the “old” best corridor manual – Conservation Corridor Planning at the Landscape Level – obsolete. The old manual is a different type of publication – more like a textbook with more detailed explanations of the theories behind design principles and numerous detailed case studies. For classroom study or for designing comprehensive management plans, the first corridor manual is still “required reading.”
USDA’s Conservation Assessment Effects Project has just released two extensive reviews of the effects of agricultural conservation practices – like those used in CRP and other conservation programs (public announcement here). Part A addresses terrestrial habitats and Part B addresses aquatic habitats. Even better is the dynamic bibliography.