U.S. Agricultural Land Use

Agricultural land use change is a major driver of global biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions but also has the potential to part of the solutions to these grand challenges.  We study the use of land in the United States—a global agricultural hotspot—to identify opportunities and pathways to improve conservation, mitigate climate change, and continue to meet the needs of society for food, feed, fiber, and fuel.  Our research focuses on the characterization and prediction of historic, contemporary, and future changes in our landscapes, quantification of the associated environmental impacts, and evaluation of outcomes from related federal agricultural, energy, and conservation policies.

Lark, T. J., J. M. Salmon, and H. K. Gibbs. 2015. “Cropland expansion outpaces agricultural and biofuel policies in the United States.” Environmental Research Letters 10(4): 044003. [Abstract] [Link]
Lark, T.J., R. M. Mueller, D. M. Johnson, J. M. Salmon, and H. K. Gibbs. 2017. “Measuring land-use and land-cover change using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cropland Data Layer: Cautions and Recommendations.” International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. [Link]
Lark, T.J., I.H. Schelly, and H.K. Gibbs. 2021. “Accuracy, Bias, and Improvements in Mapping Crops and Cropland across the United States Using the USDA Cropland Data Layer.” Remote Sensing. [Abstract] [Link]
Lark, T.J., S.A. Spawn, M. Bougie, and H.K. Gibbs. 2020. “Cropland expansion in the United States produces marginal yields at high costs to wildlife.” Nature Communications.[Link] [UW Press Release]
Lark, T.J. 2020.”Protecting our prairies: Research and policy actions for conserving America’s grasslands.” Land Use Policy, Vol 93. [Link]
Lark, T.J., B. Larson, I. Schelly, S. Batish, and H. K. Gibbs. 2019. “Accelerated conversion of native prairie to cropland in Minnesota.” Environmental Conservation. [Link]
Chen P, Y Yuan, W Li, SD LeDuc, TJ Lark, X Zhang, CM Clark. 2021. Assessing the Impacts of Recent Crop Expansion on Water Quality in the Missouri River Basin Using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems. [Link]
Zhang X, TJ Lark, CM Clark, Y Yuan, SD LeDuc. 2021. Grassland-to-cropland conversion increased soil, nutrient, and carbon losses in the US Midwest between 2008 and 2016. Environmental Research Letters. [Link]
Pelton REO, SA Spawn-Lee, TJ Lark, T Kim, N Springer, P Hawthorne, DP Ray, Jennifer Schmitt. 2021. Land use leverage points to reduce GHG emissions in US agricultural supply chains. Environmental Research Letters. [Link]
Runge C, A Plantinga, A Larsen, D Naugle, K Helmstedt, S Polasky, P Donnelly, J Smith, TJ Lark, J Lawler, S Martinuzzi, J Fargione. 2018. Unintended habitat loss on private land from grazing restrictions on public lands. Journal of Applied Ecology. (2018 IF=5.8). [Link]