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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Research Project #428636

Research Project: Carbon and Nutrient Dynamics of a Bioenergy Agroforestry System

Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Project Number: 5030-11610-005-48-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2015
End Date: Oct 31, 2018

1) Measure aboveground biomass and soil organic carbon accumulation with nitrogen fertilizer, nitrogen with macronutrient fertilizer, or poultry litter application to trees and grasses; 2) Quantify the energy production potential of annual woody and grass biomass; 3) Quantify the nutrient removal in biomass harvested for bioenergy production.

Perennial grasses for bioenergy production will be established between tree rows within a 15 yr-old agroforestry plantation. Once established, fertilizer treatments will be initiated in a randomized complete block design for the grasses (switchgrass and big bluestem/indiangrass binary mixture) and the 5 tree species (oak, sycamore, cottonwood, pine, and pecan). Deep soil cores will be taken before the first fertilizer treatments to provide background soil properties. Annual growth of the grasses and trees will be measured and/or estimated in addition to the energy production potential of the biomass. Additional site management will include thinning of trees to optimize growth and for development of biomass estimation techniques. After 5 years, soil cores will be collected again to assess changes in soil organic carbon and nutrient content.