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School of Natural Resources Research Seminar Series

Prioritizing Private Lands to Optimize Biodiversity Conservation

Date: Time: 3:30 pm–4:30 pm
Contact: Chris Chizinski, cchizinski2@unl.edu
Agriculture intensification in the Midwest has resulted in the simplification of agricultural systems (e.g., corn and soybean rotation compared to multi-crop diversity, cover crops, and/or integrated crop-livestock systems), increased field sizes, and removal of non-crop habitat to maximize production. Despite increased farm productivity, rural and urban residents are becoming increasingly affected by multiple emerging and continuing challenges including environmental concerns (e.g., climate variability, soil erosion, water pollution, etc.), economic uncertainties, and declines in rural community vitality. These challenges for increased food production, environmental protection, and economic uncertainties require innovative solutions to achieve resilient agricultural systems. To address these challenges, new local (or field) scale, precision technologies and strategic conservation planning frameworks have been developed to offer opportunities for agricultural producers to maximize whole-field profitability by strategically identifying marginal (or low yielding) acres for cropland diversification, while simultaneously reducing negative environmental impacts. These new precision
technologies and strategic conservation planning frameworks also offer natural resource agencies and organizations innovative ways to prioritize enrollment of private lands in conservation programs (e.g., State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement, Conservation Program 33-Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds) with the goal of increasing available wildlife habitat. Implementing these innovative precision technologies and strategic conservation planning frameworks throughout the Midwest will require a collaborative effort among farmers, farmland owners, industry, and local/state/federal/NGO partners to achieve resilient agricultural systems in the 21st century.

Biographical Sketch:
Dr. Andrew Little is an Assistant Professor of Landscape and Habitat Management, and Extension Wildlife Specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Dr. Little received his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from The Pennsylvania State University, M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from Mississippi State University, and Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Georgia. He is a wildlife spatial ecologist focused on creating innovative solutions to the growing wildlife conservation and management needs in multi-functional landscapes where there are competing interests for agricultural production, wildlife conservation, and ecosystem services.

https://unl.zoom.us/j/99860126162

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This event originated in School of Natural Resources.