reference : Cropland expansion outpaces agricultural and biofuel policies in the United States

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Bibliographic fields
reftype Journal Article
Abstract Cultivation of corn and soybeans in the United States reached record high levels following the biofuels boom of the late 2000s. Debate exists about whether the expansion of these crops caused conversion of grasslands and other carbon-rich ecosystems to cropland or instead replaced other crops on existing agricultural land. We tracked crop-specific expansion pathways across the conterminous US and identified the types, amount, and locations of all land converted to and from cropland, 2008–2012. We found that crop expansion resulted in substantial transformation of the landscape, including conversion of long-term unimproved grasslands and land that had not been previously used for agriculture (cropland or pasture) dating back to at least the early 1970s. Corn was the most common crop planted directly on new land, as well as the largest indirect contributor to change through its displacement of other crops. Cropland expansion occurred most rapidly on land that is less suitable for cultivation, raising concerns about adverse environmental and economic costs of conversion. Our results reveal opportunities to increase the efficacy of current federal policy conservation measures by modifying coverage of the 2014 US Farm Bill Sodsaver provision and improving enforcement of the US Renewable Fuels Standard.
Author Lark, Tyler J.; J. Meghan Salmon; Holly K. Gibbs
DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/10/4/044003
ISSN 1748-9326
Issue 4
Journal Environmental Research Letters
Pages 044003
Title Cropland expansion outpaces agricultural and biofuel policies in the United States
Volume 10
Year 2015
Bibliographic identifiers
_record_number 21593
_uuid cce74a97-3032-46a2-8799-cff387d7f587