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Title:Assessment of perennial bioenergy buffers within a row crop production system
Author(s):Zumpf, Colleen R.
Director of Research:Lee, DoKyoung; Negri, Maria C
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lee, DoKyoung
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Lovell, Sarah; Christianson, Laura
Department / Program:Crop Sciences
Discipline:Crop Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Bioenergy Buffers
Ecosystem Services
Abstract:Modern agricultural production systems face a major challenge today. While producing large amounts of food, energy, and bioproducts, these systems need to be managed to achieve long-term sustainability (e.g. crop productivity potential) and minimal downstream effects (e.g. externalities such as eutrophication and hypoxia). One approach to addressing these challenges is through the development and implementation of multifunctional landscape designs which can be used to achieve different, yet related goals, such as crop production and reduction of negative environmental impacts (e.g. water quality, biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and declining soil health). One component of multifunctional landscape design in annual row crop production is the integration of perennial bioenergy crops on marginal lands (buffers, filter strips, shelter belts, etc.) which has the potential to provide alternative crop revenues and increase environmental and societal benefits through the provision of ecosystem services. However, the benefits of perennial bioenergy crops may vary by crop types, cropping systems, management practices, and field landscapes; therefore, more field research is needed to understand the influence of these factors. The studies presented in this dissertation determined the impacts of crop management, crop type, and landscape design on ecosystem service potential and biomass productivity of perennial bioenergy crops produced on marginal agricultural lands in Illinois, USA. The first 9-year study (2011-present) evaluated the impacts of strategically placed short-rotation shrub willow (Salix miyabeana ‘SX61’) buffers in a corn-soybean field in central Illinois on nutrient loss reduction and recovery, greenhouse gas emissions, soil health, and biodiversity (invertebrate, plant, and soil microbial). Willows were found to significantly reduce nitrate-nitrogen loss from the neighboring grain cropping system, as well as reduce nitrous oxide emissions, increase soil organic matter, and provide habitat for unique microorganisms, plants and important invertebrate functional groups such as pollinators and predators. The position of the buffers within the agricultural field was also important for the provision of some of these services and for enhanced biomass production. The second study focuses on the impact of nitrogen fertility and harvest management on feedstock productivity of several perennial warm-season grass species and cultivars (switchgrass, Miscanthus x giganteus, and perennial grass mixtures) on a wet marginal land. The study found Miscanthus x giganteus produced the greatest amount of biomass of the feedstocks compared. However, harvest timing (summer versus after a killing frost) was found to be the largest factor influencing sustainable biomass production as compared to nitrogen (N) fertilizer application. Overall, the results of these studies show the potential benefits of producing perennial bioenergy crops on marginal land; however, they also highlight the importance of considering management, crop type, and landscape design in the production of perennial bioenergy crops as they can influence both crop productivity as well as the provision of ecosystem services.
Issue Date:2020-01-31
Rights Information:The second and fifth chapters are published, but they are both open access papers and do not require further permissions from the publishers
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-27
Date Deposited:2020-05

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