|Jakubowski, Andrew -|
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 19, 2012
Publication Date: December 22, 2013
Citation: Jakubowski, A., Casler, M.D. 2013. Regional gene pools for restoration, conservation, and genetic improvement of prairie grasses. In: McCann, M.C., et al., editors. Plants and Bioenergy. Advances in Plant Biology Volume 4. New York, New York: Springer. p. 67-80. Technical Abstract: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), and Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans) are native warm-season grasses that have been identified as potential cellulosic bioenergy feedstock crops due to their potential for high yields, perennial life habit, and nutrient use efficiency. This chapter outlines the role that improved cultivars and unimproved locally collected ecotypes can play in meeting agronomic and conservation goals. Improved cultivars grown for use as a bioenergy feedstock will be established in areas where introgression will occur with native populations. The concerns regarding the introgression of transgenes or non-adaptive alleles are outlined along with several avenues for mitigating these concerns. The agronomic and breeding history of each species is reviewed, as well as their importance in the conservation and restoration efforts of the prairie ecosystems of North America. We argue that both improved and locally collected ecotypes can coexist on the landscape and help to jumpstart the shift to a bioenergy based economy that provides sufficient biomass to meet cellulosic bioenergy goals, restore native ecosystems, and provide an array of regulating, cultural, and supporting ecosystem services while increasing the sustainability of agriculture.