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Title: Maximizing ecosystem services in the design of agroecosystems:implications of integrating field to watershed heterogeneity

item Davis, Richard
item Coffin, Alisa

Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/12/2015
Publication Date: 11/15/2015
Citation: Schmidt, J., Olson, D.M., Potter, T.L., Davis, R.F., Toews, M., Coffin, A.W. 2015. Maximizing ecosystem services in the design of agroecosystems:implications of integrating field to watershed heterogeneity[abstract]. Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Recently, biofuel crops, such as switch grass, energy cane, Miscanthus giganteus, and napier grass, have received much attention as a way to produce renewable sources of fuel. Miscanthus giganteus is an example of a robust and non-invasive “biofeedstock” plant that has already been shown to have high biomass production for producing fuel. Biofeedstocks have the potential to be integrated into production systems for other crops by planting them along the margins of productive fields, adjacent to non-crop areas, or in marginal areas within fields. The chief benefit of this scenario for growers is that, while conservation measures such as field buffers may remove some land from crop production, they still have a biofuel commodity in production that can be harvested to generate income. There are potentially many ecological benefits to using biofuel crops in combination with native plant border habitats that could enhance the ecosystem services offered by agricultural landscapes. This pilot project brings together a multidisciplinary team of university scientists and USDA researchers to address within field opportunities for practical applications of biofuel crops and native plants to enhance ecosystem services. Our initial primary goals will be to: 1) assemble a team of multidisciplinary scientists, 2) synthesize available data and produce a review paper that provides the foundation of our collaborative efforts, and pinpoints research questions and methods, 3) establish research protocols and plots for future study focused on the ecosystem services provided by Miscanthus biofuel production, 4) build a geospatial database that can be used to calibrate a predictive model linking biophysical properties of agricultural production systems to plant health and trophic interactions within a geographic information system (GIS), and 5) use the new network of researchers, initial funds from this grant and data acquired in application to a NIFA Foundational Program to promote sustained ongoing investment in research initiatives.