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Title:Valuing critical zone services in intensively managed landscapes
Author(s):Richardson, Meredith L
Advisor(s):Kumar, Praveen
Department / Program:Civil & Environmental Eng
Discipline:Civil Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):critical zone services
bioethanol production
critical zone
Critical Zone Observatory
ecosystem services
climate change
energy efficiency
Life Cycle Assessment
carbon sequestration
biogeochemical cycling
bioenergy crops
Abstract:The critical zone (CZ) includes the range of biophysical processes occurring from the top of the vegetation canopy to the weathering zone below the groundwater table. CZ services provide a measure to value processes that support the goods and services from landscapes. In intensively managed landscapes (IML), the provisioning, supporting, and regulating services are altered through anthropogenic energy inputs so as to derive more agricultural productivity from these landscapes. Land use change and other alterations to the environment result in positive and/or negative net CZ services. Through studies in the Critical Zone Observatory for Intensively Managed Landscapes (IML-CZO), this research seeks to answer questions such as: Which production system provides the least negative environmental impacts - corn for feed or corn for fuel? How much extra products and services are obtained from the land for the energy and resources put in? Before the economic valuation of CZ services, these questions seemed abstract. However, with developments such as CZ services and Life Cycle Assessments (LCA's), they are becoming more concrete. To evaluate the trade-offs between positive and negative impacts, LCA's are used to create an inventory of all the energy inputs and outputs in a landscape management system. Total energy is computed by summing the mechanical energy used to construct tile drains, fertilizer, and other processes involved in IML and the chemical energy gained by the production of ethanol from corn. Multi-layer soil, canopy, and nutrient models are coupled to compute water, carbon, and nitrogen fluxes, which can be translated into CZ services. These values are then viewed alongside the energy inputs into the system to show the relationship between agricultural practices and their corresponding ecosystem and environmental impacts. The LCA and resulting CZ services for corn feed and corn-based ethanol developed in this study conclude that feed production systems are more energy efficient and less environmentally costly than ethanol production systems.
Issue Date:2016-04-28
Rights Information:2016 Meredith Lucy Richardson
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-07
Date Deposited:2016-05

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