Bird-Friendly Farming: Using rice farms in conservation planning of temporary wetlands in the Pacific and Mississippi flyways

Authors: Danielle Lewis*, , Samantha Harvey, Chatham
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Sustainability Science, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: sustainability
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom B, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Bird species provide a wide array of ecosystem services that benefit the environment and humans alike. The conservation of birds is critical to keeping the environment healthy and productive. The major threats to bird populations are climate change and human interference with their natural environment. Rice farms provide a unique conservation opportunity. Birds often fly over areas dedicated to rice farming during their annual migrations. Rice farms, typically, are in close proximity to stable water sources and provide a place to rest during the birds’ long journey. Farmers grow rice in shallow, flooded fields to prevent weeds from interfering with crop growth. Currently in the Central Valley region of California, several programs are available to support farmers who choose to aid migratory bird populations. These programs are provided through several wildlife organizations that offer financial compensation to farmers who adhere to program regulations. Farmers are able to grow their crops as normal with minimal changes. These changes, however, make a noticeable difference to migratory bird populations. Unfortunately, in the Mississippi Delta region, there are no such conservation opportunities in place. Though rice farms are abundant in the region, farmers have no incentive to change their farming practices. This is an important issue because many of the same bird species fly over both geographic regions. In this study, we will review the process of making and funding programs that promote wildlife conservation, the benefits of bird conservation, and the overall benefits to farmers participating in conservation programs.

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