MPP student Greg Fogel co-authors National Wildlife Federation report on affect of corn ethanol expansion on wildlife

January 14, 2010

Greg Fogel, a joint MPP/MS student, co-authored a recent National Wildlife Federation study called "Corn Ethanol and Wildlife: How increases in corn plantings are affecting habitat and wildlife in the Prairie Pothole Region."

According to the report, government incentives (e.g. the 2005 Energy Bill and 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard) for corn ethanol are driving farmers to shift land into corn production, resulting in significant decreases in grassland bird populations throughout the fragile Prairie Pothole Region. The study analyzes the current and potential impacts of increased corn ethanol production on wildlife and habitat in the Prairie Pothole states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

"Our research shows that native grassland is being converted into cropland at an alarming rate throughout the Prairie Pothole Region," said Fogel. "As a result, populations of sensitive wildlife species are declining significantly in areas with high increases in corn plantings."