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Model Simulation of Soil Loss, Nutrient Loss and Soil Organic Carbon

Model Simulation of Soil Loss, Nutrient Loss and Soil Organic Carbon Associated with Crop Production

The purpose of this study is to identify areas of the country that have the highest potential for sediment and nutrient loss from farm fields, wind erosion, and soil quality degradation - areas of the country that would likely benefit the most from conservation practices. To accomplish this, the National Nutrient Loss and Soil Carbon (NNLSC) database was constructed using the 1997 NRI to represent cropland land use patterns and resource conditions. The modeling results reported in this study were obtained using a system of databases and models built by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Blackland Research Center, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station (TAES) during 2000 to 2004. The spatial distribution of the model outputs is shown in maps to identify areas of the country with the greatest potential for loss of soil and nutrients from farm fields and for changes in soil organic carbon as an indicator of the potential for deteriorating soil quality.

This report is the first in a series of reports on the Cropland National Assessment component of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). CEAP is a multi-agency effort initiated in 2003 by five USDA agencies (NRCS, ARS, NIFA (previously CSREES), FSA, and NASS) to estimate the environmental effects of conservation practices (Mausbach and Dedrick 2004 (PDF; 0.4 MB)). The purpose of the project is to quantify the benefits and effects of conservation practices. The project has three principal components: the watershed assessment studies component, designed primarily to measure the effects of conservation practices at the watershed scale, the national assessments, designed to provide estimates of the benefits of conservation practices for reporting at the national and regional levels, and literature syntheses and bibliographies.

Subsequent CEAP reports on cropland will expand and extend the results presented in this first report and conduct analyses for each major water resource region in the continental U.S. Significant refinements are currently underway in the models and modeling systems used to estimate effects. Results in these forthcoming CEAP reports are expected to differ somewhat from results reported in the present study, benefiting from improved model routines, better information on farming activities, and a fuller accounting of conservation practices.

This publication is available in Adobe Acrobat format.
The report may be downloaded in sections or as one large file.
Part 1. Table of Contents (PDF; 0.1 MB)
Part 2. Executive Summary (PDF; 1.4 MB)
Part 3. Introduction (PDF; 12 MB)
Part 4. Sediment Loss (PDF; 7 MB)
Part 5. Nitrogen Loss (PDF; 22 MB)
Part 6. Phosphorus Loss (PDF; 15 MB)
Part 7. Soil Organic Carbon (PDF; 11 MB)
Part 8. Conclusion and Appendicies (PDF; 7 MB)

Model Simulation of Soil Loss, Nutrient Loss and Soil Organic Carbon Associated with Crop Production Nutrients (full text, high resolution - PDF; 54 MB)
Model Simulation of Soil Loss, Nutrient Loss and Soil Organic Carbon Associated with Crop Production Nutrients (full text, low resolution - PDF; 10 MB)

APPENDIX: List of Maps

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