Landscape Configurations: a New Approach to Manage Invasion by Biofuel Crops
Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1: To measure key parameters of bioenergy crop demography and dispersal in several ecosystem types (arable land, old-field, and floodplain forest).
Objective 2: To integrate results from objective 1 to develop a spatially-explicit simulation model that identifies landscape-scale risk factors associated with bioenergy feedstock production.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
We will characterize key parameters of invasive bioenergy crop (IBC) dispersal and population growth in several different IBC species and cultivars, in two regions. We will also estimate probability of establishment and further spread in key ‘receptor’ sites in which invasion may disrupt ecosystem services (e.g, biodiversity habitat, riparian buffers) and estimate effects of IBC on key attributes of these sites. Using a range of methods, we will extend our preliminary data for Miscanthus giganteus and sinensis (basic demographic rates and dispersal kernels in production field environments and rates and impact estimates for one year in ‘receptor’ areas) and estimate these demographic, dispersal and impact parameters for switchgrass and Miscanthus ‘Amuri’ (seed-producing Miscanthus giganteus). We will assess local and regional variation in selected dispersal/invasion parameters and elucidate effects of biophysical and land-use/ management heterogeneity on spatio-temporal ‘invasion windows’ in landscapes. Secondly, we will integrate empirical findings by constructing and analyzing a spatially-explicit landscape-scale IBC invasion/impact model. The model will elucidate the management value of particular landscape configurations, across various IBC attributes and regional factors. We will apply our model to analyze a range of spatially-explicit landscape configuration scenarios developed by a multi-stakeholder landscape design project, currently underway.
We have completed a third field season of community impact studies of Miscanthus bioenergy crops in controlled invasions in natural areas in central Illinois. We have identified light as a major driving variable of Miscanthus establishment, and are now attempting to link light thresholds for seedling establishment with canopy gap size. The spatial population dynamics model for Miscanthus, which will be used to drive the landscape model, has been completed, and we are now working on establishing the rules for modeling landscape level spread and establishment.