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Is Geographical Targeting Cost-Effective? The Case of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in Illinois

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This paper uses economic, hydrologic, and GIS modeling to assess the effectiveness of the Illinois Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in the Lower Sangamon watershed. Our results show that for a representative five-year storm event, the acres currently enrolled in the program result in a 12% reduction in sediment loading, which is below the program goal of 20% and four times the least-cost solution. We also analyze the design of alternative rental payment instruments for improving the cost-effectiveness of geographical targeting for land retirement. Policy implications for the characteristics of the land parcels that should be targeted for enrollment in the program are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Wanhong Yang is assistant professor in the Department of Geography, University of Guelph. 2: Madhu Khanna and Hayri Önal are associate professors in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 3: Richard Farnsworth is associate professor in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University.

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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