1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of the experiment is to observe and quantify the effects of land conversion from grassland or tilled agricultural land (wheat) to a cellulosic biofuel crop of switchgrass. This project will allow cooperation by multiple institutions and multiple disciplines to study feedstock production of cellulosic biofuels on the Southern Plains.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Two sites of Alamo switchgrass will be established: one on the Southern Plains Range Research Station in Woodward, Oklahoma and one at the Southern Plains Experimental Range near Ft. Supply, Oklahoma. The data harvested will be watershed carbon, water, and energy fluxes; soil carbon amount and quality, biomass production, water consumption and runoff, and soil erosion. The information gathered will be used to develop recommendations for efficient biofuels production that mitigate impacts on air and water quality.
Considerable progress has been made for the on-going study of carbon sequestration by pasture or cropland converted to switchgrass production for biofuels. The pasture was killed in the fall of FY2010 by spraying with herbicide, then was planted to switchgrass in April 2010. The cropland site, which had previously been in wheat production for 60+ years, was planted to switchgrass in April 2009. In FY2010 the cropland sited was sprayed with herbicides to control broadleaf weeds as the switchgrass was established. Eddy covariance towers have been placed on both sites and collected carbon flux data. These carbon flux data have been transferred to the cooperating laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for analysis. Biomass production estimates have been collected monthly during the growing season, along with total leaf area measurements. Water recharge in soils is now being monitored by electronic devices and has been transferred weekly to cooperator at Oklahoma State University.
ADODR corresponds weekly via emails with the cooperator to stay abreast of progress being made on the studies and data collections.