Applied Math Seminar
Title: Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystem Restoration: Modeling the Impact of the Conservation Reserve Program
Abstract: The tallgrass prairie ecosystem has been reduced to a fraction of its original extent, due to rapid conversion to other land use types, especially agricultural and urban. Restoration is a relatively new process to convert agricultural land back to communities dominated by native vegetation, including prairies. The most notable restoration project for prairies is the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency. We develop a compartmental model for the Midwestern tallgrass prairie ecosystem, incorporating the impact of human population on land use changes. Restoration via participation in CRP is included. Historical data is used to determine model parameter ranges. Local and global sensitivity analyses are performed. Our findings emphasize the importance of increasing incentives for CRP enrollment as a means to restoring the tallgrass prairie ecoregion.