Location: Rangeland and Pasture Research
Title: Carbon and Water cycling in Southern Great Plains ecosystems converted to switchgrass production Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 6, 2009
Publication Date: September 21, 2009
Citation: Billesbach, D.P., Torn, M.S., Bradford, J.A., Gunter, S.A., Fischer, M.L., Zou, C. 2009. Carbon and Water cycling in Southern Great Plains ecosystems converted to switchgrass production. Ameriflux Annual Principle Investigators Workshop. Washington, DC. September 21-23, 2009. (Abstract) Technical Abstract: We report here the initiation of a multi-disciplinary, integrative program to investigate the effects of conversion of traditional southern Great Plains pasture and wheat systems to switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) production. The project is based at the USDA-ARS Southern Plains Range Research Station in Woodward, OK and involves two production-scale plots. The first plot was an established grassland pasture that had a light grazing history. The second plot is located about 15 miles to the northwest at Ft. Supply, OK and was a marginally producing wheat field. The goals of the project are to observe components of the water and carbon cycles throughout the conversion to and establishment of switchgrass production. Switchgrass is a candidate crop for the production of cellulosic ethanol. It is a perennial grass that is adapted to semi-arid climates and requires minimal external inputs such as fertilizer, water, or herbicides once established. The project includes comprehensive measurements of atmospheric carbon, water, and energy exchange, soil and hydrological properties, and plant biometrics. We are also tracking changes in soil C stocks and aggregation. Our suite of measurements will allow us to evaluate the apparent water use efficiency (NEE/ET) of the crop and to observe the evolution of the annual carbon budget as the fields undergo the initial crop conversion and stand establishment. Through our hydrological measurements, we hope to understand the effects that switchgrass production may have on streamflow and groundwater recharge.