Carbon Implications of Poplar Energy Crops Throughout the Energy Supply Chain
Woody production systems and conversion technologies are needed to: maintain healthy forests and ecosystems, create high paying manufacturing jobs, and meet local/regional energy demands. Poplars are dedicated energy crops that can be strategically placed in the landscape to conserve soil and water, recycle nutrients, and sequester carbon. However, key environmental and economic uncertainties preclude broad-scale production of biofuels/bioproducts from poplar wood. Therefore, building on decades of research conducted at our Institute and throughout the region, we are evaluating the fate of carbon in soils and woody biomass, soil greenhouse gas emissions, and conversion efficiency barriers throughout the energy supply chain.
We are currently: 1) evaluating soil carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) during establishment, 2) determining carbon sequestration in aboveground biomass during plantation development, and 3) identifying poplar genotypes with high productivity and low recalcitrance for biochemical conversion. Overall, we seek to synthesize the results within the framework of the energy supply chain.
Our multidisciplinary partnership enhances long-standing collaborations among the Northern Research Station, Forest Products Laboratory, Iowa State University, and Michigan Technological University scientists and provides further internal FS R&D linkages between resource management (NRS) and utilization (FPL). Direct benefits include a better understanding of carbon stocks in soils and aboveground biomass, GHG emissions, and selection of favorable poplar genotypes for biochemical conversion. Researchers and resources managers will be able to make informed policy and management decisions, and private landowners will enhance conservation of their natural resources while moving closer to job creation via woody feedstock production.
Zalesny, R.S. Jr., Headlee, W.L., Hall, R.B., and Coyle, D.R. 2010. Carbon sequestration potential of poplar energy crops in the Midwest, USA. In: Fifth International Poplar Symposium: Poplars and Willows: From Research Models to Multipurpose Trees for a Biobased Society; September 20-25, 2010; Orvieto, Italy. p 185.
Zalesny, R.S. Jr., Headlee, W.L., Hall, R.B., Donner, D.M., and Coyle, D.R. 2010. Carbon in energy plantations and hardwood forests in the Midwest, USA. In: International Energy Agency Bioenergy Conference; Sustainability Across the Supply Chain of Land-based Biomass. June 1-4, 2010; Kamloops, BC, Canada.
- Ronald S. Zalesny Jr., US Forest Service Northern Research Station- Team Leader, Research Plant Geneticist
- Richard B. Hall, Iowa State University, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Ames, IA
- JY Zhu, US Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI
- Robert E. Froese, Michigan Technological University, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Houghton, MI
- Thomas M. Isenhart, Iowa State University, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Ames, IA
- Christopher W. Swanston, US Forest Service Northern Research Station- Research Ecologist
- Jesse A. Randall, Iowa State University, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Ames, IA
- Edmund O. Bauer, US Forest Service Northern Research Station- Technician Emeritus
- William L. Headlee, Iowa State University, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Ames, IA
- David R. Coyle, University of Georgia, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, Athens, GA
Last Modified: 04/09/2012