Major Uses of Land in the United States, 2007 from ERS (Click on image below).
By Cynthia Nickerson, Robert Ebel, Allison Borchers, and Fernando Carriazo
Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-89) 67 pp, December 2011
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.
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.
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 has a new tool where you can map online (and download the raw data) county level data for Farm Program acreage including: program acres (production flexibility contract acres under the 1996 Farm Act, by commodity; base acres designated under the 2002 Farm Act, by commodity; and base acres updated to 1998-2001 plantings under the 2002 Farm Act, by commodity) and planted acreage from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
The Comprehensive Review of Farm Bill Benefits to Wildlife reviews the impacts of USDA Conservation Programs on wildlife habitat and populations from 1885-2000. Much of the document focuses on grassland birds because the vast majority of the enrolled acres are in grass practices, and most of the available research is on birds. There are chapters specifically on waterfowl & CRP, grassland birds & CRP, and grassland birds & buffer practices. The Southeast and Midwest each get their own chapter. There are chapters on Swampbuster, WRP, WHIP and EQUIP. The list of authors is impressive – Pete Heard, Douglas Johnson, Louis Best, just to name a few. The highlight of the document is an extensive annotated bibliography. Fifteen years of ag-wildlife research in one volume. The individual chapters are available HERE. The chapters by Burger, Ryan, and Best are central texts in my Ag-Wildlife course.
In 2005, the NRCS in conjunction with the Wildlife Society produced two additional reviews.
The first one – Fish & Wildlife Benefits of Farm Bill Conservation Programs – covers the first half of this decade. Some chapters from the 1985-2000 document are present in revised form (e.g., Johnson, Grassland Bird Use of CRP in the Great Plains; Burger, The CRP in the Southeast; Reynolds, The CRP and Duck Production in the US Prairie Pothole region). There are also several new chapters on the CREP, the Grassland Reserve Program, and the Conservation Security Program. This update lacks the annotated bibliography of the first document. Individual chapters are available HERE. Hard copy can be be purchased from the Wildlife Society.
The second one – Fish & Wildlife Benefits of Farm Bill Conservation Practices – organizes the reviews by particular types of conservation practices, which can be useful from an objective-oriented planning perspective. Chapters include ones on cropland conservation practices, grassland establishment, agricultural buffers, grassland conservation practices, wetland establishment practices, and effects of conservation practices on aquatic habitats and fauna. The final chapter summarizes ways of “Using Adaptive Management to Meet Conservation Goals.” Individual chapters are available HERE. Hard copy can be be purchased from the Wildlife Society.
Get Windbreaks for Conservation from USDA National Agroforestry Center. It is an excellent guide to design considerations for conservation windbreaks. You may have to supplement regional woody plant species information to select the appropriate trees & shrubs for your region. They have additional windbreak publications including Windbreaks for Wildlife, How Windbreaks Work, & many other more detailed aspects of windbreak design, establishment and management.