Northwoods Environmental Scholars Program
The Northwoods Environmental Scholars program recently graduated its 2012 scholars. This year’s program included the addition of three new partners and two new practical experiences – one that also increases Rhinelander’s sustainable operations.
Read more about our 2012 NES program (pdf) >>>
Ron Zalesny, NRS-13
Rick Hall, Iowa State University
JY Zhu, Forest Products Laboratory
Robert Froese, Michigan Technological University
Tom Isenhart, Iowa State University
Chris Swanston, NRS-06
Jesse Randall, Iowa State University
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 in Rhinelander 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. Our specific objectives are to: 1) evaluate soil carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) during establishment, 2) determine carbon sequestration in aboveground biomass during plantation development, and 3) identify 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.
Last Modified: 11/02/2012