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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Title: Landscape management for sustainable feedstock supplies and enhanced soil quality

item Karlen, Douglas - Doug
item Muth, David

Submitted to: Agrociencia
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2012
Publication Date: 9/24/2012
Citation: Karlen, D.L., Muth, D.J. 2012. Landscape management for sustainable feedstock supplies and enhanced soil quality. In: Ernst, O., Perez, M.T., Barbazan M., editors. Proceedings of the 19th Triennial ISTRO Conference, September 24-28, 2012, Montevideo, Uruguay. p. 98-106.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Agriculture has tremendous potential to help solve global energy challenges provided we do not compromise our soil, water and air resources in doing so. Furthermore, International Soil and Tillage Research Organization (ISTRO) members are well poised to help lead these endeavors because of our integrated understanding of soil, water, agricultural and bio-systems engineering processes. This keynote presentation will examine landscape management as an approach for integrating various potential feedstock sources including biomass residuals into current crop production systems that are already pushed to help meet ever-increasing global food, feed, and fiber demands. Starting with the goals of the 2005 Billion Ton Study, research and technology transfer activities leading to the 2011 Revised Billion Ton Study and most recently landscape management strategies will be reviewed. Multi-location research results associated with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Renewable Energy Assessment Project (REAP) and on-going partnerships between public and private sector groups will be shared to show the development of landscape management strategies. These strategies emphasize the importance of nature’s diversity which must be maintained because of the multiple ecosystem services that are influenced by landscape management decisions. Soil quality impacts of harvesting crop residues will be presented to show how careful, comprehensive monitoring of soil, water and air resources must be an integral part of bioenergy systems. For example, recent studies by REAP scientists have shown that if corn (Zea mays L.) yields are less than 10 Mg ha-1, total organic carbon input may not be sufficient to sustain soil aggregation, soil organic matter and other critical soil quality indicators, especially if tillage intensities are not reduced. This presentation will challenge all ISTRO scientists to critically examine how your research can contribute to developing improved soil and crop management systems that can address the complexity associated with sustainable bioenergy production.

Last Modified: 09/24/2017
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