Jeffrey BEAULIEU 1, Christopher L. LANT 2, Steven E. KRAFT 3
1 Associate Professor. Dept. of Agribusiness Economics. Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Carbondale, IL 62901-4410
2 Professor and Chair. Dept. of Geography. Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Carb ondale, IL 62901-4514 email@example.com 618-453-6465 (Fax) *Corresponding Author
3 Professor and Chair. Dept. of Agribusiness Economics. Southern Illinois University Carb ondale. Carbondale, IL 62901-4410
This paper has two purposes. The first is to demonstrate a generalizable framework for the spatial modeling of ecosystem service production in watersheds. The second is to examine the policy implications of the analysis conducted using this spatial decision support system (SDSS).
Analyses using the SDSS show that restrictions on soil loss to the tolerance level (T) do not cause overall farm income to decline so long as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is available to farmers as an income-generating alternative. However, the spatially variable response of farmers creates a complex pattern of winners and losers and a markedly different land use pattern and crop mix between the CRP with T restrictions and the no CRP, no soil loss regulation scenarios. These results point out that by shifting agricultural subsidies from price supports and other crop-based programs to the CRP and other ecosystem service-based subsidies, the decision environment of land and water managers in agricultural watersheds would be changed in a manner that would lead them to choose land use patterns that produce similar farm income, but fewer crops, more soil conservation, and less water pollution. In this way, public expenditures on agriculture would produce a valuable public benefit in the form of load reductions in a TMDL context, and an augmentation of ecosystem services now in decline in agricultural watersheds.