Landscape Conversion to Bioenergy Crops

This section presents information on sustainable management and landscape diversity issues surrounding utilization of biomass for bioenergy production. It includes discussion on converting CRP lands to crop production, with state-specific references provided.

Sustainable Management

There are environmental benefits and challenges associated with the utilization of biomass for energy and other bio-based products. For example, while the responsible use of biomass for energy can help moderate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, protect soil, water and air quality, and enhance wildlife habitat for targeted species, improper practices can reduce or even put these benefits at risk. Recognizing these concerns, various strategies, generally labeled as best management practices (BMPs) or guidelines, have been developed to mitigate negative impacts. The fact sheet, Sustainable Management for Biomass Removals: Environmental Concerns and Mitigation Strategies, reviews environmental concerns and mitigation strategies associated with the management and harvesting of biomass on soil productivity, water quality and quantity, and biodiversity and wildlife.

Reading:
Zamora, D. & Blinn, C. (2011) Sustainable Management for Biomass Removals: Environmental Concerns and Mitigation Strategies

Landscape Diversity

The fact sheet, Landscape Diversity, highlights emerging concerns about converting traditional crops to bioenergy crops. New possibilities in terms of feedstocks, such as the use of high-diversity plantings of native tallgrass prairie species, have reinvigorated debate over diversity and productivity relationships and how well experimental results scale up to operational levels. The choice of feedstock, species mix and landscape diversity, as well as context and configuration will likely have cascading effects on wildlife populations and ecosystem dynamics.

Reading:
Werling, B. & Landis, D. A. (2011) Landscape Diversity

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