Biologist Jason Hoeksema to discuss balancing wetland preservation with agricultural needs
Conservation in the Mississippi Delta is the topic for a hybrid Oxford Science Cafe featuring a University of Mississippi biology professor who is studying ways to square the need for agricultural land with the benefits of maintaining wetland habitats.
The program will be held in person Tuesday, April 19 at Heartbreak Coffee, 265 North Lamar Ave., Suite G, and hosted on Zoom beginning at 6 pm. Ole Miss biologist Jason Hoeksema plans to discuss “Science and conservation for birds and humans on working lands in the Mississippi Delta.”
“The Mississippi Delta was historically a vast wetland, covered with flooded woodlands, swamps and oxbow lakes,” Hoeksema said. “These wetland habitats provided essential ecosystem services, including flood control and wildlife habitat.
“Today, most of these wetlands have been drained or diverted for agriculture, which supplies food and represents a key economic base in our region.”
Questions to be addressed during Hoeksema’s 40-minute talk/webcast include whether we can conserve and restore the ecosystem services of wetlands while maintaining sustainable agricultural production.
“Delta Wind Birds is a conservation nonprofit based in Oxford, working to conserve existing wetlands and, especially, to create temporary wetlands on private lands in the Delta, including crop farms,” Hoeksema said. “Scientists from the University of Mississippi, the USDA-ARS and Mississippi State University are partnering with DWB to study how these temporary wetlands may benefit migratory water birds, conserve soil, reduce downstream nutrient pollution and improve crop yields.”
For more information about the Oxford Science Cafe program, visit https://www.phy.olemiss.edu/oxfordsciencecafe/.
By Edwin B. Smith