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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Agroecosystem Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344227

Research Project: Management and Soil Resource Evaluation to Enhance Agricultural System Resilience and Sustainability

Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Title: Next steps in determining the overall sustainability of perennial bioenergy crops

item Schmer, Marty

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/8/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Perennial bioenergy crops are being developed and evaluated in the United States to partially offset petroleum transport fuels. Accurate accounting of upstream and downstream greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is necessary to measure the overall carbon intensity of new biofuel feedstocks. For example, changes in direct soil organic carbon (SOC) can have a major impact on estimating overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from biofuels when using life-cycle assessment (LCA). Estimating changes in SOC, when accounted for in a LCA, is largely derived from near-surface soil depths, typically to a depth of 30 cm or less. From a LCA perspective, determining SOC stock changes at sub-surface depths would be a logical step to accurately quantify biofuel GHG emissions especially in bioenergy cropping systems with high potential for soil C storage. Further refinements related to nitrous oxide emissions, long-term yield trends, and biofuel potential related to cell wall characteristics have improved our understanding of overall sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions. Presentation objectives will look at developing linkages and determining research needs from field-based SOC changes to modeling and looking at future landscapes with increased bioenergy feedstocks.