The Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) is a multiagency scientific effort to quantify environmental outcomes of conservation practices applied to private agricultural lands of the United States. Society for Range Management members are familiar with the rangeland CEAP effort but may know little about the pastureland component. Principal goals of pastureland CEAP include (1) a detailed synthesis of the scientific conservation literature on pasturelands of the United States, (2) a national assessment of conservation effects on ecosystem services, and (3) detailed investigations of conservation practices at various scales. For Goal 1, a comprehensive literature synthesis revealed critical knowledge gaps including: (i) comprehensive assessments of effects of grazing management on a broad suite of environmental response variables; (ii) models to integrate and extend site-specific information to landscape- and watershed-scale assessments of the ecosystem services provided by pastureland; (iii) effects of grazing animals on nutrient cycling and distribution; (iv) data on cost-effectiveness of best management practices; (v) long-term research to monitor changes in biodiversity of pastureland; and (vi) a better understanding of landscape ecology and wildlife responses to pasture management. To improve implementation of conservation practices on pastureland, there is a need for comprehensive erosion, nutrient management, and conservation planning technologies. These technologies will improve predictions of nutrient losses, runoff, and erosion from pastureland and will enable more accurate comparisons of emerging conservation technologies and alternative management practices.
Quantifying ecosystem services from pastureland in the United States: The Conservation Effects Assessment Project.
Matt Sanderson --- USDA-ARS, Mandan, ND, USA