Coordinating farm management to expand provision of ecosystem services

Harris, L.M. and S.M. Swinton

Presented at the All Scientist Meeting (2012-03-15 to 2012-03-16 )

Cooperative land management can cost-effectively enhance ecosystem services (ES) provided by agriculture. When appropriate physical, social, and economic characteristics align in a landscape, farmers can collectively manage for ES such as pollination, biological pest control, and hydrological services (e.g. water purification and flood mitigation). These services are greatly affected by the connectivity, area, shape, and composition of agricultural land, thus requiring that landowners work together to increase natural supply of ES. Ultimately, the success of collective ES provision depends on the willingness of farmers to cooperate, yet few studies have explored the social and economic drivers of participation in coordinated land management programs. Our research presents a framework to identify agricultural settings where collective ES provision is likely to be feasible.

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