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Title: Productivity of biomass crops as influenced by landscape position

item Thelemann, Ryan
item Johnson, Gregg
item Sheaffer, Craig
item Jung, Hans Joachim
item Tschirner, Ulrike
item Wyse, Donald
item Current, Dean

Submitted to: Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2006
Publication Date: 10/14/2006
Citation: Thelemann, R., Johnson, G.A., Sheaffer, C.C., Jung, H.G., Tschirner, U., Wyse, D.L., Current, D.A. 2006. Productivity of biomass crops as influenced by landscape position. Association for the Advancement of Industrial Crops Conference Proceedings, October 14-18, 2006, San Diego, California. p. 83.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Biomass crops have the potential to produce a variety of products for use in the expanding bioeconomy. Numerous perennial plant species have been identified to serve as dedicated and custom-tailored feedstocks for the production of bioenergy and bioproducts, while also providing numerous positive environmental quality benefits. However, no single species is adapted to all of the diverse soil environments found within a typical production field. We propose a new strategy that optimizes the placement of energy crops on the landscape to promote economic growth, ecological and enterprise diversification, and improve environmental quality. The objective of this study is to determine differences in plant growth and development between a diverse set of plant species as a function of landscape position and to understand the relationship between plant growth and environment. Field experiments are being conducted at the Agricultural Ecology Research Farm (AERF) at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca, MN. Seven landscape positions were identified based on a detailed terrain analysis of the site. These seven landscape positions encompass a range of terrain features including depositional, summit, flat, and hillslope areas. Hillslope areas were further delineated based on slope and aspect. Eight industrial crops were established within each landscape position. Crops included alfalfa, willow, poplar, cottonwood, false indigo, switchgrass, corn, and a polyculture. Plant growth and development data were collected over time in each landscape position. Soil physical/chemical characteristics and weather data were also obtained. Preliminary results show significant differences in plant growth and development between species within a landscape position as well as differences in individual species growth between landscape positions. From this data, we can begin formulating a strategy for designing perennial-based cropping systems that optimize eco-industrial systems to produce renewable energy and biobased products.