Conservation Reserve Program (CRP): Example of Land Retirement

  • Mark Everard
Reference work entry


The US Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a nationwide land retirement program operating across the United States. Under the CRP, the US government offers incentives to landholders in areas of agricultural production, buffer areas, and wetlands across the United States, inducing them to enter into contracts to change land use on highly erodible and environmentally sensitive cropland and pasture. The CRP was instituted initially as a means to avert soil erosion in cropland, which was a significant problem in the USA in the 1970s when annual cropland soil erosion losses were estimated at 2–6.8 billion tons. Blowing soil also reduced visibility and air quality, most notably in Gaines County, Texas, as well as making land susceptible to wind erosion and reducing agricultural productivity. In a bid to resolve this problem, the US government formally established the CRP in 1985 following initial trials.


Erosion Ecosystem services Habitat creation Land retirement Environmental Benefit Index Reverse auction 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Water Security Network, University of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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