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Research Project: Identifying New Market Opportunities and Enhanced Carbon Sequestration Through Wood-Based Economic Resilience and Forest Management Practices

Location: Agroclimate and Hydraulics Research

Project Number: 3070-11130-007-003-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Mar 15, 2019
End Date: Aug 30, 2022

There is increasing interest in developing new and innovative methods to strengthen and diversify energy production systems, particularly in response to the projected impacts of future climate change. One such example is the use of wood-based energy systems, such as biochar, that leverage forestry resources for energy while promoting economic resilience through the creation of new and expanded markets. There is also a need to develop management practices that increase carbon sequestration and carbon residence time in forests and woodlands. In the Southern Great Plains states of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, biochars can serve a useful role in greenhouse gas reduction, such as via the processing of manure and poultry litter, in addition to their energy production benefits. Although wood-based energy holds promise for both economic resiliency and climate change mitigation, there are a number of outstanding research and applications questions, particularly at regional scales, that need to be addressed before its adoption becomes more widespread. Similarly, there is a need to identify climate-resilient, long-lived tree species and management practices that enhance the magnitude and residence time of carbon in the live biomass and soils of Southern Great Plains forests and woodlands.

This project will develop science and management recommendations for the use and demonstration of biochar-based energy technologies, and science and management practices to enhance carbon storage in the forests and woodlands of the Southern Great Plains, within the context of climate change projections and impacts. In doing so, the project will draw upon the perspectives of forest managers, working landowners, conservation, technology, and industry interests, and local and state officials. A regional science and applications management workshop will be convened, using a model similar to that of the successful Resilient Southern Plains Agriculture and Forestry in a Changing Climate conference in 2017. The conference will be structured around both scientific and stakeholder perspectives, and will incorporate the use of targeted breakout sessions and geographic cross-cuts.