|Lucas, Tom - USDA-NRCS-RC&D|
Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2008
Publication Date: October 22, 2008
Citation: Venuto, B.C., Daniel, J.A., Starks, P.J., Lucas, T. 2008. Estimating bioenergy feedstock potential of red cedar in western Oklahoma. Soil and Water Conservation Society Proceedings, Farming with Grass: Achieving Sustainable Mixed Agricultural Landscapes, October 20-22, 2008, Oklahoma City, OK. Available on-line: http://www.swcs.org/en/publications/farming_with_grass/ Interpretive Summary: Abstract only.
Technical Abstract: Red cedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) is an invasive species that seriously degrades tallgrass prairie and adjacent landscapes in the southern plains region of the US with an estimated 8 million acres impacted in the state of Oklahoma alone. This study is part of a larger project to improve grassland landscapes by red cedar removal, thereby enhancing farm level economic productivity of these grasslands, and to investigate the use of the removed red cedar as a biofuel source for rural economic development. The primary objective of this study was to develop a methodology for quickly estimating available red cedar biomass and associated fuel value. Four replicated areas at two sites in western Oklahoma were selected for red cedar harvest. Trees were cut at ground level and basal bole diameter and tree height were recorded. Maximum tree canopy area and commensurate area of impacted grassland was determined. All trees were weighed and percent moisture determined. A section of bole was used to determine tree age. Average tree density varied within and between locations but ranged from and average of 170 trees per hectare to greater than 640 trees per hectare. Area of impacted grassland ranged from an average of 16 to over 75 percent at the two study sites. Total mean dry biomass ranged from 13,192 kg ha-1 to more than 26,880 kg ha-1. Correlation between maximum tree canopy area and dry weight was significant (r2 = 0.95; P < 0.0001). With this level of correlation it should be possible to rapidly inventory available red cedar biomass within a community or region. This information can then be used to determine economic feasibility of developing alternative use industries with red cedar, such as development of a community energy plant that utilizes red cedar as the primary biofuel source.