Linking resilience theory and diffusion of innovations theory to understand the potential for perennials in the U.S. Corn Belt
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Ecology and Society. 14(1): 30.
In the last 200 yr, more than 80% of the land in the U.S. Corn Belt agro-ecosystem has been converted from natural perennial vegetation to intensive agricultural production of row crops. Despite research showing how re-integration of perennial vegetation, e.g., cover crops, pasture, riparian buffers, and restored wetlands, at strategic landscape positions can bolster declining regional ecosystem functions, the amount of land area devoted to row crop production in the Corn Belt continues to increase. As this region enters a time of fast-paced and uncertain reorganization driven by the emerging bioeconomy, changes in land use will continue to take place that will impact the resilience of the Corn Belt's linked social and ecological systems for years to come. Both resilience theory and the diffusion of innovations theory investigate how change is brought about in systems through the adaptation and innovation of social actors. In this paper, we integrate these two frameworks in the analysis of 33 in-depth interviews to improve our understanding of how rural Corn Belt stakeholders make conservation decisions in the midst of an uncertain future.
Keywordsadaptive co-management agriculture Iowa learning nonpoint source pollution restoration scale social-ecological systems row crops Corn Belt
Atwell, Ryan C.; Schulte, Lisa A.; Westphal, Lynne M. 2009. Linking resilience theory and diffusion of innovations theory to understand the potential for perennials in the U.S. Corn Belt. Ecology and Society. 14(1): 30.