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A decision support tool for conservation planning in Iowa

Diversify farmland by integrating trees and/or prairie. There are many conservation & production practices based on trees or prairie cover. Plant trees for windbreaks and shelterbelts to minimize wind erosion and protect fields, buildings, and livestock. Or as forest buffers that minimize pollen drift or protect riparian areas from field runoff. Plant prairie for pollinator, game & non-game wildlife habitat, as well as other conservation goals.

Strategically located prairie strips on the contour & toeslope of crop fields  intercept & slow runoff, increase infield infiltration & water storage. The combined effect is significantly reduced field-level nutrient & soil loss all the while providing critical habitat (See the Iowa State University Prairie Strips research and outreach site).

Pollinator habitat

Prairie and Tree Planting Tool - PT^2 (1.0)

With the PT2 1.0: Prairie & Tree Planting Tool, locate your properties of interest in an online mapping tool. Explore areas to consider for tree or prairie cover by examining key data layers (aerial photos, digital elevation, soil & land rent maps). Utilize scaled dimensional drawing tools to measure & delineate areas of interest for planting trees and or prairie.

Select from drop down menus tree/shrub species or prairie seed mixes suitable for the soils present, and select basic long-term management options. PT2: 1.0 estimates total annualized costs for tree or prairie establishment, long-term management, & opportunity costs (based on area weighted soil rent), & factors in government cost-share programming.

PT2 (1.0) General Users Guide

PT2 (1.0) Documentation of data and methods

PT2 (1.0)  Seed mix examples: grass & forb species, mix ratios, site soil suitability

This is an open source application. We are interested in collaborations to expand planning capacity to other states. Please contact us to discuss opportunities.

Your data belongs to you. We are not collecting or otherwise archiving your data when you use this tool.


This project is funded by: Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research: Impact of Prairie on Reducing Interacting Stressors on Pollinator Health [Project #549025]; Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research: Prairie Strips for Healthy Soils and Thriving Farms [Project #]; USDA McIntire-Stennis Program [program numbers IOW5354, IOW5534]; and North Central Sun Grant-USDA North Central Regional Sun Grant Center/USDA-NIFA (Grant No. ID0EYKAE1454)

FFARUSDA Farm Service Agency Announcement | KVSHSun Grant