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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
1) Improve current decision making capabilities on Hawaii Commercial and Sugarcane (HC&S) land by building robust data on current practices; 2) Create management plans to maximize yield and stability of feedstock production; 3) Maximize bioenergy biomass stability and yield while minimizing environmental impacts at watershed scale; and 4) Improve water resource management and optimize biomass production for other production areas in the Hawaiian Islands and Pacific Basin.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Collect and synthesize available topography, soils, climate and historical management data. Improve ALMANAC Soil Carbon modeling abilities with historical and contemporary. Initial ALMANAC runs with historical data (plant growth parameters, soils, precipitation, etc.) on three individual fields under current management. ALMANAC runs with current sugarcane as compared to other potential biomass crops on 3 individual fields. ALMANAC simulation changing agronomic management to achieve maximum yields on 3 individual fields. Install or identify fields/plots of sugarcane and other biofuel crops in Hawaii. Measure plant physiological and soil parameters over time, under changing climatic conditions. With improved model, simulate alternative agronomic management of additional fields, including changing feedstocks, and nutrient and water management. Conduct a biomass production assessment for potential agricultural production areas of the islands using ALMANAC. Develop and analyze Island-wide scenarios, as defined by local stakeholders, related to the impact of bioenergy feedstock development on annual production risk, water resources, potential carbon sequestration, and displacement of other agricultural and natural systems. Explore applicability of the models on other islands and countries in the Pacific Basin.

3. Progress Report:
The overarching goal of this research is to develop a unified modeling framework for assessing the dependability of biomass supplies for use in the production of biofuels for the Navy. These tools are being developed for use across Pacific Basin volcanic islands, and globally for the production of priority biomass crops in other growing environments across the United States. Excellent progress has been made in gathering parameterization data for the four key databases (weather, soils, crop parameters, and management) needed to run the ALMANAC (Agricultural Land Management Alternatives with Numerical Assessment Criteria) model to evaluate best management practices (BMPs) that maximize biomass feedstock yields and associated environmental impacts.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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