1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop empirical statistical models of biofuel and forage species distribution and abundance using field trial data and incorporating edaphic, topographic, and climatic factors; 2) use those models to describe potential forage and biofuels production across the northeastern United States; and 3) characterize the effects of past and potential land use change scenarios for grass-based agriculture in this region.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Empirical statistical models will be calibrated and tested using field trial data collected in the northeastern United States. Regions of similar climate and soils may also be included. Existing soils, climate, and elevation geographic information systems (GIS) data layers will be used to extrapolate those predictive models across the landscape. Scenario development will use current and historic land cover data and will address previous and future tensions between forage and biofuels uses, as well as development and abandonment of lands.
3. Progress Report:
The post-doctoral researcher position funded by this agreement was advertised, but had to be closed unfilled due to changes in USDA hiring policies. The position has just been re-advertised, and will be filled by the end of FY2012. ARS and university scientists held frequent meetings to evaluate candidates for the first terminated search, and will resume meeting after the current application period closes.