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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #251710

Title: High Yields for Enhanced Sustainable Feedstock Production

item Karlen, Douglas

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/18/2010
Publication Date: 3/31/2010
Citation: Karlen, D.L. 2010. High Yields for Enhanced Sustainable Feedstock Production. In: Exploring Pathways Toward a Sustainable, Domestic Bioindustry, Biomass, March 30-31, 2010, Arlington, VA. p. 54.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Globally, humankind is in the midst of one of the greatest technological, environmental, and social transitions since the industrial revolution as we strive to replace fossil energy with renewable sources. The Billion Ton Report established a target for U.S. bioenergy feedstock production and through subsequent research and data evaluation the importance of achieving high crop yields in a sustainable manner has become more and more evident as being crucial for achieving those goals and establishing sustainable bioenergy feedstock enterprises. As part of Breakout Session III, this presentation will examine the environmental implications of achieving high-yield feedstock scenarios. High yields are important not only for ensuring ample bioenergy feedstock supplies, but also for simultaneously meeting the ever-increasing food, feed, and fiber needs associated with an increasing global population. Furthermore, all of these demands must be achieved without having unintended negative effects on our soil, water, or air resources. To help accomplish these challenges, a landscape vision will be used to show that high yields are not only important for increasing the amount of crop residue that is available after basic needs for soil protection and carbon balance are met, but also to allow each portion of the landscape to be used in an optimum manner that simultaneously addresses multiple environmental problems. No single material will meet all requirements for a sustainable feedstock supply, but by utilizing a systems approach that capitalizes on landscape diversity, develops and provides technical guidance, and utilizes appropriate incentives, agriculture can have a major role in helping to achieve energy security. A systems approach that encompasses high yields, while also protecting water quality, sequestering carbon, enhancing wildlife food and habitat supplies, creating entrepreneurial opportunities, and promoting rural development will be shown as interconnected components required to achieve these goals in an economically, environmentally, and socially acceptable manner.