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SANTELMANN, M., J. SIFNEOS, D. WHITE, AND K. FREEMARK LINDSAY. PLANT DIVERSITY. Chapter 8, Nassauer, Joan Iverson, Mary V. Santelmann, Donald Scavaia (ed.), From the Corn Belt to the Gulf: Societal and Environmental Implications of Alternative Agricultural Future. Resources for the Future, Washington, DC, DC, , 91-101, (2007).
Habitat change statistics and species-area curves were used to estimate the effects of alternative future scenarios for agriculture on plant diversity in Iowa farmlands.
Habitat change statistics and species-area curves were used to estimate the effects of alternative future scenarios for agriculture on plant diversity in Iowa farmlands. Study areas were two watersheds in central Iowa of about 50 and 90 square kilometers, respectively. Future scenarios were oriented to production agriculture, water quality improvements, and biodiversity protection, respectively. A scenario representing estimated land cover at the time of Euro-American settlement was also evaluated. The biodiversity scenario had a greater increase in native plant diversity compared with the current landscape than the water quality scenario, however the estimates for the pre-settlement scenario were even greater. The production scenario had a decrease in native plant diversity. Monte Carlo simulations of errors in assignment of plant species to habitats produced one standard deviation error estimates that were generally less than three percentage points. Rates of increase of accumulated numbers of species with accumulated size of prairie and wetland sites, and the species-area curve for other preserves in Iowa, suggest that more and larger areas of native plant conservation could result in noticeably greater numbers of native species being preserved. Future changes in agricultural practices in the Corn Belt could result in either increasing or decreasing native plant diversity, depending upon the choice of practices.