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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENHANCED MODELS AND CONSERVATION PRACTICES FOR WATERSHED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND ASSESSMENT

Location: Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Title: The role of simulation models in monitoring soil organic carbon storage and greenhouse gas mitigation potential in bioenergy cropping systems

Authors
item Meki, Manyowa -
item Kiniry, James
item Behrman, Kathrine
item Pawlowski, Meghan -
item Crow, Susan -

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2014
Publication Date: March 12, 2014
Citation: Meki, M.N., Kiniry, J.R., Behrman, K.D., Pawlowski, M.N., Crow, S.E. 2014. The role of simulation models in monitoring soil organic carbon storage and greenhouse gas mitigation potential in bioenergy cropping systems. In: Rosario Vaz Morgado, C. and Esteves, V., editors. CO2 Sequestration and Valorization. InTech. Chapter 9. DOI: 10.5772/57177. Available: http://www.intechopen.com/books/co2-sequestration-and-valorization/the-role-of-simulation-models-in-monitoring-soil-organic-carbon-storage-and-greenhouse-gas-mitigatio.

Interpretive Summary: With increased demand on agricultural systems to provide food, fiber, and feedstock for the emerging bioenergy industry, there are concerns about the associated impacts of such intensification on the environment. Of the many ecosystem services that could be impacted by the large-scale production of bioenergy feedstocks, soil organic carbon (SOC) plays a pivotal role in maintaining and enhancing the natural soil resource base and the GHG emission balance. In this chapter we discuss and examine the potential application of computer simulation models in monitoring SOC and its GHG mitigation potential. Soil organic carbon plays an important function in the growth of plants through maintenance and improvement of soil properties. In the US average yields of selected highly productive perennial warm-season grasses (WSGs) ranged from 4.0 to 14.0 Mg ha-1 yr-l. Growing WSGs offers promise to displace fossil fuels and reduce net CO2 emissions through SOC. The amount of SOC sequestered by WSGs is a function of site-specific factors. Computer simulation models can complement and extend the applicability of information collected in field trials. The amount of SOC in a given soil can increase or decrease depending on numerous factors. The potential for bioenergy landscapes under WSGs and short rotation woody crops (SRWCs) to sequester soil C and mitigate GHG emissions is indisputable. The functions and benefits of SOC in the maintenance of soil quality, productivity and sustainability of cropping systems are well documented. It is imperative to monitor the SOC integrity of bioenergy crops through the establishment of stringent SOC measurement and quantification methodologies.

Technical Abstract: There is an increased demand on agricultural systems worldwide to provide food, fiber, and feedstock for the emerging bioenergy industry, raising legitimate concerns on the associated impacts of such intensification on the environment. Of the many ecosystem services that could be impacted by the large-scale production of bioenergy feedstocks, soil organic carbon (SOC) plays a pivotal role in maintaining and enhancing the natural soil resource base and the GHG emission balance. In this chapter we discuss and examine the potential application of process-based simulation models in monitoring SOC and its GHG mitigation potential. Soil organic carbon plays a very important function in the growth of plants through maintenance as well as improvement of many soil properties. Organic matter is a source of energy for many soil biota. In the US average yields of selected highly productive perennial warm-season grasses (WSGs) ranged from 4.0 to 14.0 Mg ha-1 yr-l. Growing WSGs offers promise to displace fossil fuels and reduce net CO2 emissions through SOC. The amount of SOC sequestered by WSGs is a function of site-specific factors; soil texture, management practices, initial SOC levels, and climate. Computer simulation models can complement and extend the applicability of information collected in field trials. The amount of SOC in a given soil can increase or decrease depending on numerous factors including climate, vegetation type, nutrient availability, disturbance, land use, and management practice. The potential for bioenergy landscapes under WSGs and short rotation woody crops (SRWCs) to sequester soil C and mitigate GHG emissions is indisputable. The functions and benefits of SOC in the maintenance of soil quality, productivity and sustainability of cropping systems are well documented. It is imperative to monitor the SOC integrity of bioenergy crops through the establishment of stringent SOC measurement and quantification methodologies.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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