Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Risk Assessment of Prairies to Agriculture Conversion

Funded by The Nature Conservancy

The natural prairies in the northern Plains States are at risk of conversion to cropland due to an anticipated expansion from increased biofuel demand. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is working collaboratively with Pijanowski’s Human-Environment Modeling and Analysis Lab to develop a spatially-explicit projection of at-risk prairies located all across the Plains States. These projections will help TNC identify areas at-risk to conversion so that they might be protected in the future.

Pijanowski’s GIS and neural network based Land Transformation Model (LTM) is being reconfigured to estimate the risk to agriculture expansion across the Plains States. An economic forecast model with biofuel demand is being coupled to the LTM to generate a map of high risk of prairie conversion in years 2010 through 2040. The project is also compiling massive amounts of GIS data, including SSURGO soils, MLRC and NASS land use, NWI wetlands, digital elevation models, hydrography and transportation layers for modeling and analysis.


Bryan Pijanowski, Department of Forestry & Natural Resources

Contact Information

Purdue University
203 S. Martin Jischke Drive
MANN 105
West Lafayette, IN 47907