Prairie and Tree Planting Tool - PT^2 (1.0): A conservation decision support tool for Iowa, USA.

Submitted by jtyndall on Mon, 11/08/2021 - 12:20

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Agroforestry Systems, Volume 109 (2021)


This article overviews the prairie and tree planting tool or PT^2 (1.0), an online GIS-based decision support tool for landowners interested in exploring opportunities to plant prairie or trees in and around their farm fields for conservation or production purposes. PT^2 1.0 can be found online at: With the PT^2 (1.0) users locate farm fields of interest in an online aerial photograph and mapping geographic information system (GIS). Users explore areas they are considering for prairie or tree cover by examining different data layers: soil maps, 2-foot contour topography maps, LiDAR hillshade maps, and a map of current land values based on estimated land rent. Users then utilize scaled dimensional drawing tools to measure and delineate areas of interest for planting trees and or prairie. Once an area is delineated, users select from drop-down menus prairie seed mixes or woody species that are suitable for the soils present, and users can select basic long-term management options. PT^2 (1.0) estimates total annualized costs for tree or prairie establishment, long-term management, and opportunity costs (based on area weighted expected soil rent), and factors in the potential benefit of utilizing government cost-share programming, e.g., Environmental Quality Incentive Program or the Conservation Reserve Program. Key data layers are currently functional in Iowa, likewise the financial data underlying the cost analysis are specific to Iowa. PT^2 (1.0) is, however, open source and open code and guidance is provided regarding how to access and adapt the data for use in other states.