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Large quantities of biofuel production are expected from bioenergy crops at a national scale to meet US biofuel goals. It is important to study biomass production of bioenergy crops and the impacts of these crops on water quantity and quality to identify environment-friendly and productive biofeedstock systems. SWAT2012 with a new tile drainage routine and improved perennial grass and tree growth simulation was used to model long-term annual biomass yields, streamflow, tile flow, sediment load, and nutrient losses under various bioenergy scenarios in an extensively agricultural watershed in the Midwestern US. Simulated results from bioenergy crop scenarios were compared with those from the baseline. The results showed that simulated annual crop yields were similar to observed county level values for corn and soybeans, and were reasonable for Miscanthus, switchgrass and hybrid poplar. Removal of 38% of corn stover (3.74Mg/ha/yr) with Miscanthus production on highly erodible areas and marginal land (17.49Mg/ha/yr) provided the highest biofeedstock production (279,000Mg/yr). Streamflow, tile flow, erosion and nutrient losses were reduced under bioenergy crop scenarios of bioenergy crops on highly erodible areas and marginal land. Corn stover removal did not result in significant water quality changes. The increase in sediment and nutrient losses under corn stover removal could be offset with the combination of other bioenergy crops. Potential areas for bioenergy crop production when meeting the criteria above were small (10.88km(2)), thus the ability to produce biomass and improve water quality was not substantial. The study showed that corn stover removal with bioenergy crops both on highly erodible areas and marginal land could provide more biofuel production relative to the baseline, and was beneficial to water quality at the watershed scale, providing guidance for further research on evaluation of bioenergy crop scenarios in a typical extensively tile-drained watershed in the Midwestern U.S.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
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The science and practice of preventing, minimizing, or eliminating damage to AGRICULTURAL CROPS by pest organisms, weeds, and disease-causing agents.
A group of phenotypically similar but genotypically distinct species (genomovars) in the genus BURKHOLDERIA. They are found in water, soil, and the rhizosphere of crop plants. They can act as opportunistic human pathogens and as plant growth promoting and biocontrol agents.
Studies determining the effectiveness or value of processes, personnel, and equipment, or the material on conducting such studies. For drugs and devices, CLINICAL TRIALS AS TOPIC; DRUG EVALUATION; and DRUG EVALUATION, PRECLINICAL are available.
A self-evaluation of health status.
Studies designed to assess the efficacy of programs. They may include the evaluation of cost-effectiveness, the extent to which objectives are met, or impact.
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