Rural landscapes are largely dominated by agriculture; providing important services such as food and fiber. However due to expansion and intensification, agriculture also contributes to environmental disservices such as water and air pollution and soil erosion. A recent resurgence in a more natural, ecosystem-based approach to agriculture includes the idea of perennial grains. Perennial grains have the potential to produce marketable grain, used for feed or milled as flour, and also provide forage for animals. In agricultural terms, perennial grains represent the combined benefit of an annual grain crop as well as a perennial forage crop. Unlike conventionally managed annual crops, perennial cropping systems have the ability to reduce nitrate leaching, enhance soil organic matter, and improve water use (in part due to their deep root systems). Additionally, perennial plants in urban and peri-urban landscapes provide ecosystem services that annual plants in the same landscape are not capable of providing, such as persistent habitat, carbon storage, and soil stabilization. The goal of this workshop is to explore costs and benefits of perenniality across a generalized regional and landscape gradient defined as: urban, peri-urban, and rural, and discuss any potential services or disservices perennial plant ecosystems may provide. The discussion will be devoted to identifying various ecosystem services or disservices that may occur across these gradients due to perennialization.
Number of 2 hour sessions requested:1
Longs Peak - Diamond West (125)