Agricultural production and wetland habitat quality in a coastal prairie ecosystem: Simulated effects of alternative resource policies on land-use decisions

Laura R. Musacchio, William E. Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

We describe an integrated systems model of the coastal prairie ecosystem in Texas, USA to simulate the effect of alternative federal resource policy scenarios (crop subsidies) for rice (Oryza sativa) on land-use decisions of farmers and the subsequent impact on lesser snow goose (Anser caerulescens caerulescens) habitat. We evaluate the ability of the model to predict shifts in land use, agricultural production, economic viability of farms, and the resulting wetland habitat quality for geese, in view of the uncertainty concerning representation of farmers' land-use decision making processes (management styles). We then simulate shifts in land use, rice and cattle production, farm profitability, and level of wetland habitat use by geese that might result from three alternative federal resource policy scenarios and three alternative farmers' management styles. We found changes in land-use allocation, rice and cattle production, and farm profitability resulting from the policy scenarios affected habitat use by geese. Policy financial incentives, market price for rice, level of rice production, and farm size were important factors that affected wetland habitat use by geese. The management styles of farmers affected the quality of wetland habitat when policy scenarios required rice to be grown with conventional production methods. In this case, farmers, particularly those who were concerned about maintaining farming as a way of life, continued rice production and maintained wetland habitat for geese even when crop subsidies decreased over time. The public benefited from the decision making of these farmers because the important indirect use value (wildlife habitat and water quality) and existence value (biodiversity and cultural history) of rice agriculture was maintained as an agroecosystem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-43
Number of pages21
JournalEcological Modelling
Volume150
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2002

Keywords

  • Ecosystem management
  • Land use
  • Migratory waterfowl
  • Natural resource policy
  • Systems modeling
  • Wildlife habitat

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