U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Published in Agron. J. 107: (2015) pp. 2363–2372 . doi:10.2134/agronj15.0152


U. S. government work.


A growing world population and climate change are expected to influence future agricultural productivity and land use. Th is study determined the impact of land-use change on soil sustainability and discussed the factors contributing to these changes. South Dakota was selected as a model system because corn (Zea mays L.) grain prices tripled between 2006 and 2012 and it is located in a climate and grassland/cropland transition zone. High resolution imagery was used to visually determine land uses (cropland, grassland, nonagricultural, habitat, and water) at 14,400 points in 2006 and 2012. At each point, land-use change and the USDA land capability class (LCC) were determined. Over the 6-yr study period, 6.87% of the grasslands (730,000 ha) were converted to cropland, with 93% occurring on lands generally considered suitable for crop production (LCC