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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENHANCED MIDWESTERN CROPPING SYSTEMS FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY Title: Soil, water, and greenhouse-gas impacts of alternative biomass cropping systems

Authors
item Schulte Moore, L -
item Back, E -
item Cambardella, Cynthia
item Hargreaves, S -
item Helmers, M -
item Hofmockel, K -
item Isenhart, T -
item Kolka, R -
item Ontl, T -
item Walsh, W -
item Williams, R -

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 13, 2010
Publication Date: December 13, 2010
Citation: Schulte Moore, L., Back, E., Cambardella, C.A., Hargreaves, S., Helmers, M., Hofmockel, K., Isenhart, T., Kolka, R., Ontl, T., Walsh, W., Williams, R. 2010. Soil, water, and greenhouse-gas impacts of alternative biomass cropping systems [abstract]. American Geophysical Union. San Francisco, CA, December 13-17, 2010. Abstract B22D-04.

Technical Abstract: Through the 2008 Energy Independence and Security Act and other state and federal mandates, the U.S. is embarking on an aggressive agenda to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. While grain-derived ethanol will be used to largely meet initial renewable fuels targets, advanced biofuels derived from lignocellulosic materials are expected to comprise a growing proportion of the renewable energy portfolio and provide a more sustainable solution. As part of our interdisciplinary research, we are assessing the environmental impacts of four lignocellulosic biomass cropping systems and comparing them to a conventional corn cropping system. This comparison is conducted using a randomized, replicated experiment initiated in fall 2008, which compares the five cropping systems across a toposequence (i.e., floodplain, toeslope, backslope, shoulder, summit). In addition to assessing herbaceous and woody biomass yields, we are evaluating the environmental performance of these systems through changes in water quality, greenhouse-gas emissions, and carbon pools. Initial results document baseline soil parameters, including the capacity of the soils to sequester carbon across the toposequence, and the impacts of landscape heterogeneity and cropping system on soil moisture and nitrate-nitrogen levels in the vadose zone. Additional results on greenhouse-gas emissions and carbon dynamics are forthcoming from this year’s field research. The fuller understanding of the environmental performance of these systems will help inform federal and state policies seeking to incentivize the development of a sustainable bioenergy industry.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014