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TitleEstimating Available Abandoned Cropland in the United States: Possibilities for Energy Crop Production
AbstractThis collection of data was used in the preparation of a study on abandoned cropland in the United States. Abandoned cropland (ACL) is often cited as a land resource upon which to produce energy crops while reducing the negative impacts of broad scale energy crop production; for example, carbon emissions from land-cover change and competition with food production. In contrast to marginal land which refers to a set of biophysical and economic criteria usually imposed by experts or policymakers, the designation of ACL refers to a land-use decision by a land owner. As such, ACL is argued to be a more appropriate indication of land availability for dedicated energy crop production. Prevailing estimates of ACL in the US vary widely due to inconsistent treatment of land-use conversions away from cropland and over-reliance on remote sensing methods which measure land cover, even though ACL is a category of land use. This study develops and applies a replicable and flexible methodology to estimate available abandoned cropland (AACL) at the county level in the United States, which accounts for conversion of ACL to forest cover, urban development or permanent pasture. Estimates of AACL are derived for two scenarios: 1) land abandoned between 1978 and 2012, which excludes lands with meaningful forest regrowth; and 2) land abandoned between 2007 and 2012, which corresponds to land-use constraints imposed by the Renewable Fuel Standard. Results show that 15 and 4.9 Mha of AACL exist in the United States in the two scenarios respectively, amounting to between only 3 and 8 percent of total light duty gasoline consumption in the US. Research conducted as part of the Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium (NEWBio). Datasets in this collection include a county boundaries GIS file, historical agricultural census data, switchgrass yields, cropland to urban land conversions, and National Land Cover Database (NLCD) data from 2001 and 2011. Sustainable Systems Data Thrust. When using this data, please cite the publication referenced below.
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Data DOIdoi:10.18113/D3NP4Q

Baxter, R. E.
Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment
Calvert, K. E.
University of Guelph

Data Access
GIS (Geodatabase)
GIS (Shapefile)

Additional Information

Ryan E. Baxter & Kirby E. Calvert, 2017. Estimating Available Abandoned Cropland in the United States: Possibilities for Energy Crop Production. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. Published online April 21, 2017. DOI:10.1080/24694452.2017.1298985