|ANDREWS, SUSAN - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, USDA)|
Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/22/2010
Publication Date: 7/1/2010
Citation: Johnson, J.M., Karlen, D.L., Andrews, S.S. 2010. Conservation Considerations for Sustainable Bioenergy Feedstock Production: If, What, Where, and How Much? Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Society. 65(4):88A-91A.
Technical Abstract: Increased awareness of the need to achieve energy independence and security has resulted in many questions regarding the use of agricultural products as feedstock for bioenergy production. Initial efforts with grain crops, though successful, raised many more questions regarding sustainability and potential food-versus-fuel conflicts. Second-generation biofuel is to be based on cellulosic material such as corn stover, straw, and dedicated perennials that can be used as feedstock for biochemical ethanol production or in thermochemical platforms as a substitute for coal and/or natural gas. From a conservation standpoint, it is important to determine if non-grain biomass should be harvested; if yes, then from where within a landscape and at what rate? The answer to achieving sustainable, bioenergy-feedstock production is contingent upon conservation of soil and water resources. In those areas where biomass harvest is reasonable, implementing compensatory soil conservation practices will facilitate biomass harvest. This feature article lists several factors that need to be considered to ensure harvesting crop residues as a bioenergy feedstock will be sustainable. We conclude that implementing soil conservation practices is a prerequisite to sustain the soil-resource capacity to provide the food, feed, fiber and fuel for generations to come. [REAP Publication]