Navigating spatial and temporal complexity in developing a long-term land use database for an agricultural watershed

T. L. Veith, J. E. Richards, S. C. Goslee, A. S. Collick, R. B. Bryant, D. A. Miller, B. W. Bills, A. R. Buda, R. L. Sebring, P. J.A. Kleinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


No comprehensive protocols exist for the collection, standardization, and storage of agronomic management information into a database that preserves privacy, maintains data uncertainty, and translates everyday decisions into quantitative values. This paper describes the development of a relational database intended to meet the agronomic and ecosystem interests of potential users from a long-term experimental watershed located in Pennsylvania, United States' Ridge and Valley physiographic province. We discuss the type and complexity of the data, which has historically been documented in free-form surveys collected through discussion with farmers. We detail the development process of a spatially and temporally explicit land management database and discuss the challenges in standardizing, without generalizing, 13 years of historic free-form data for 13 farms and 315 fields. Finally, we provide examples at field, farm, and watershed scales of how this database serves as a foundation for other data sets and modeling efforts that support research aimed at helping farmers meet long-term production, land stewardship, and water quality goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-296
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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