CESP logo Sustainability in the Yaqui Valley
Sustainability in the Yaqui Valley
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The Center for Environmental Science and Policy (CESP) began research in the Valley in 1992 when Professor Pamela Matson, Dr. Rosamond Naylor, and Dr. Ivan Ortiz-Monasterio of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) initiated a study of fertilizer use in intensive wheat-based agriculture. Results of this study indicated that farmers use more fertilizer than required, and excess fertilizer N is lost in the atmosphere in the form of trace gases that cause air pollution and to water systems where it is carried to the Gulf. The researchers evaluated a number of alternative fertilizer managment options, and found that farmers could save money by using less fertilizer and still receive comparable yields from their crops.

Since this initial study, Stanford's research presence within the Valley has expanded to include different dimensions of agriculture and variability, the role of institutions and impact of national and international policies, water resource use and management, aquaculture development, the affect on estuaries of upland land use change, and the burgeoning role of the livestock sector. With the recent introduction of shrimp farming, researchers are looking at the dynamics of land use change along the southern Sonora coast and environmental, social and economics impacts of aquaculture.

In the agricultural sector, researchers have used a combination of historical remotely-sensed data, ground-based data, modeling and field surveys to evaluate the causes and consequences of agriculture intensification and to analyze the links between agriculture policy and productivity. Economists and water resource specialists have examined the links between water management decisions, crop yields and economic impacts on groundwater use through modeling and economic analysis.

During the past decade, research support has been provided for by USDA, NOAA, NASA, the Ford Foundation, the Bechtel Initiative, Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Packard Foundation.

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