Habitat loss and fragmentation arguably pose the greatest threats to biological diversity. Agriculture is a dominant land use that, along with urban sprawl and residential development, can reduce the amount and connectedness of natural areas required by many native species. Unfortunately, progress has been slow in integrating nature and biodiversity protection into community planning in intensively farmed regions, especially in America 's heartland. Seldom do issues related to species conservation receive consideration during local planning activities. Lack of progress stems partly from scientific inadequacies in understanding the dynamics of complex landscapes, and from a lack of engagement of non-scientific stakeholders by scientists and modelers. The result of these shortcomings is a critical disconnect of conservation issues from the planning infrastructure. This book provides a blueprint for advancing conceptual understanding of conservation in agricultural regions. It accomplishes this with a two-pronged approach: first, by developing spatially structured models that acknowledge the link between socio-economic drivers of land-use change and the dynamics of species occupying agricultural landscapes with abrupt changes in land cover (i.e., sharp edges); and second, by providing guidelines and examples to enable scientists to effectively engage stakeholders in participatory learning and planning activities that integrate biodiversity with other, more traditional considerations. The structure of the book is truly interdisciplinary, linking the efforts of ecologists, economists, statisticians, mathematicians, and land-use specialists.
What do beer-swilling swine, predator-friendly sheep, and David Letterman have in common? They are all part of agriculture's first evolution in 10,000 years. As population growth levels off, production yields continue to grow and demands on agriculture change, the focus of agriculture is moving from just feeding a growing planet to feeding a planet with environmental concerns. Eco-entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the new business opportunities arising from these changes. Applying solutions from the creative to the mundane, they are greening both their pocketbooks and the vistas around them.In The Ecological Agrarian, J. Bishop Grewell and Clay Landry share stories of the numerous eco-entrepreneurs at work, the challenges they face, and the benefits they hope to reap. Beginning in 8500 B.C., Grewell and Landry provide a brief overview of how agriculture not only shaped history, but made written history and civilization even possible. From there, they explain how we are entering an unprecedented era where the race to feed the planet is no longer the lone driving force behind agriculture. That battle, they argue, has largely been won.A new age of agriculture presents new challenges and opportunities. Grewell and Landry document agriculture's response and then draw conclusions from successes and failures to determine what institutions best foster the entrepreneurs trailblazing agriculture's future.