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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Regional Distribution and Abundance of Biofuel and Forage Species

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Project Number: 8070-21000-008-06
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 15, 2011
End Date: Sep 30, 2015

Objective:
Develop empirical statistical models of biofuel and forage species distribution and abundance using field trial data and incorporating edaphic, topographic, and climatic factors; 2) use those models to describe potential forage and biofuels production across the northeastern United States; 3) characterize the effects of past and potential land use change scenarios for grass-based agriculture in this region; and 4) extend the regionally-based understanding to a continental scale. The topo-climatic and edaphic data will contribute to development and testing of Forage Suitability Groups for the Northeast. Data provided by the ARS North Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, ND, will be used to test the generality of the methods and models developed.

Approach:
Empirical statistical models will be calibrated and tested using field trial data collected in the northeastern United States. Regions of similar climate and soils may also be included. Existing soils, climate, and elevation geographic information systems (GIS) data layers will be used to extrapolate those predictive models across the landscape for the Northeast and the northern Great Plains and will be extended to the continental United States using ARS and NRCS data. Scenario development will use current and historic land cover data and will address previous and future tensions between forage and biofuels uses, as well as development and abandonment of lands. The deliverable from this work will be landscape-scale mapping and prediction of potential biofuel and forage species distributions and abundances, to be incorporated into a management and planning tool.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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