Defense Seminar - Emily Zimmerman

Friday, January 11, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Event Type: 

Emily Zimmerman will defend her Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Identifying opportunities for co-production of commodities and water quality improvements in agricultural landscapes in the US Cornbelt” on Friday, January 11, 2019 at 12:00 PM in 333 Science II. 

Brief Abstract:

One of the most striking features of the US Cornbelt is the degree to which it has been designed, constructed, and intricately managed by humans for the production of agricultural products – primarily row-crop corn and soybeans. The production of provisioning ecosystem services, such as row-crop corn and soybeans, often comes at a tradeoff to other ecosystem services, such as enhanced water quality for aquatic life, recreation, and human consumption. Best management practices (BMPs) are tools that landowners can implement and manage as a way to co-produce row-crop corn and soybeans and enhanced water quality in extensively managed agricultural landscapes. Yet, selecting how and where to locate BMPs to impact aggregate ecosystem service outcomes, such as enhanced water quality, is a complex decision-making process that often involves multiple stakeholders and objectives. This research evaluates opportunities to improve the efficiency of BMP placement and management within and among crop fields and within watersheds to co-produce provisioning and regulating ecosystem services, specifically row-crop corn and soybeans and enhanced water quality, in the US Cornbelt. This dissertation includes three distinct studies across three, nested scales (sub-field, field, and watershed) to examine environmental, economic, and social opportunities and tradeoffs associated with the implementation and management of BMPs designed to reduce nitrate-nitrogen loss to surface waters in central Iowa.