On RFD-TV: Craig Allen
Craig Allen, director of the Center for Resilience in Agricultural Working Landscapes, appears live on RFD-TV on Dec. 15, 2020. He talks about the new initiative to study the growing field of resilience.
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[00:00:00.210]The University of Nebraska-Lincoln
[00:00:01.640]is working to strengthen agricultural ecosystems,
[00:00:04.190]through with Center for Resilience
[00:00:05.740]in Ag Working Landscapes.
[00:00:08.090]Center Director, Craig Allen, joins us now for an update.
[00:00:11.500]And Craig, thanks for your time here this morning.
[00:00:13.530]First of all, just begin simply
[00:00:15.410]by defining resilience, if you would.
[00:00:19.190]Well, thank you very much, Janet.
[00:00:21.660]Yeah, resilience has come to have two meanings.
[00:00:24.900]The first and the most common definition of resilience
[00:00:28.410]is the ability of a system to recover following disturbance.
[00:00:32.910]We call this bounce back,
[00:00:34.660]and think of a disturbance such as flood.
[00:00:37.400]There's another kind of resilience.
[00:00:38.870]Ecological resilience, that is broader
[00:00:42.310]than the term bounce back.
[00:00:44.170]And it includes bounce back,
[00:00:45.640]but it's more interested in what happens
[00:00:47.690]when a system or landscape
[00:00:50.200]is pushed past a threshold and actually collapses.
[00:00:54.740]It's pushed beyond its ability to bounce back.
[00:00:59.240]In this case resilience is simply a measure
[00:01:01.352]of the amount of disturbances a system can take
[00:01:03.210]before it collapses.
[00:01:04.660]Could you provide an example
[00:01:05.960]of maybe an unanticipated problem
[00:01:07.960]as a result of that kind of management decision?
[00:01:12.270]Yeah. I can give you an example
[00:01:13.720]of perhaps from the Sand Hills and rangelands.
[00:01:16.386]Rangeland managers have known for a long time
[00:01:18.980]that rangelands, grasslands are our tipping points.
[00:01:21.590]They're fairly fragile systems.
[00:01:23.520]And in the Sand Hills of Nebraska,
[00:01:25.270]we've been concerned with blowouts.
[00:01:27.100]They've managed to weigh from these threshold
[00:01:29.670]of blowouts to avoid an open dune sand system
[00:01:32.930]which would be very poor for livestock production.
[00:01:37.280]However, while we've had our backs turned, so to speak,
[00:01:41.120]another tipping point has snuck up on us,
[00:01:43.710]and that's of invasive trees.
[00:01:45.500]And spread of trees in the Sand Hill
[00:01:48.420]is partially due to planting of the windbreaks
[00:01:51.930]which do have local and very good benefits for folks,
[00:01:55.340]but without managing seed sources
[00:01:57.680]those windbreaks have then become sources
[00:01:59.840]for seeds leading to the collapse
[00:02:02.970]of grasslands across the Great Plains.
[00:02:05.610]And we lose about 40,000 acres a year
[00:02:09.090]of grassland to cedar invasion in Nebraska.
[00:02:12.140]Wow. Now of course, you mentioned the Sand Hills.
[00:02:14.340]Is the Sand Hills the reason
[00:02:15.810]why the Center for Resilience in Ag Working Landscapes
[00:02:18.550]is based in the Husker State?
[00:02:21.460]Well, the Sand Hills are really important,
[00:02:23.700]but of course, as you know,
[00:02:24.590]we have two kinds of croplands,
[00:02:26.650]primarily rag production systems in Nebraska.
[00:02:29.250]Cropland and rangeland, and both have had collapses
[00:02:32.870]that are both local and global,
[00:02:35.700]and recent and historic.
[00:02:38.760]So, both these types of agricultural system
[00:02:41.240]are vulnerable to the loss of resilience and collapse.
[00:02:44.850]So, we're concerned about both of them.
[00:02:48.970]I put resilience like this in Ag systems.
[00:02:51.300]Resilience seeks to guarantee output
[00:02:53.790]under a broad range of conditions,
[00:02:56.090]versus optimization approaches
[00:02:58.330]that seek maximize output
[00:03:00.740]under rarely seen ideal conditions.
[00:03:04.560]All right, well, thank you very much
[00:03:05.810]for joining us this morning.
[00:03:06.810]We appreciate your insight.
[00:03:08.010]Craig Allen, he's with the university
[00:03:09.440]of Nebraska-Lincoln, of course connecting with us
[00:03:13.558]through the technologies we have available today.
[00:03:15.530]Now, you can of course find more information
[00:03:17.330]on the system online @unl.edu.
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