Landscape ecological planning process for wetland, waterfowl, and farmland conservation

Laura R. Musacchio, Robert N. Coulson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A landscape ecological planning process (LEP process) is described that addresses the issues of rice production and wetland habitat conservation on privately owned rice farms in Texas. The LEP process was used to evaluate proposed land-use management plans based on alternative policies for the next US Farm Bill, which would be in effect from 2003 to 2009. A system simulation model, geographic information systems (GIS) model based on expert knowledge, as well as expert opinion, were used to evaluate uncertainty about the effects of these plans and policies on different types of farms and the quality of winter habitat of lesser snow geese. The models simulated shifts in land-use, rice and cattle production, farm profitability, and use of habitat by geese. Simulation results suggested that the level of federal subsidies for all policies influenced the continuation of rice production from 2003 to 2009. In addition, the size of the farm influenced whether rice production continued until 2009. The smaller farms were more sensitive to decreases in federal subsidies than larger farms because smaller farms received less income from goose hunting leases. Winter habitat for lesser snow geese was reduced in terms of patch size and nearest neighbor distance when rice production was discontinued by 2009 for all policies. Agricultural policy experts, who were familiar with the study sites, selected the modified version of the conservation policy as the example that would most benefit farmers and geese. The experts emphasized that their policy would offer farmers more flexibility to manage their farms, to diversify their incomes, and to be good land stewards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-147
Number of pages23
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 15 2001


  • Agricultural policy
  • Geographic information systems
  • Land-use planning
  • Landscape ecology
  • Migratory waterfowl
  • Systems analysis
  • Wildlife habitat


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