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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Contribution of Woody Vegetation to Organic Matter Content of Soils under Forest Plantations-Assessment for Bioenergy Production Project Number: 5030-11610-001-24
Project Type: General Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 11, 2012
End Date: Feb 08, 2014

The objectives of this project are: 1) use stable carbon isotope analysis to determine the soil carbon sequestration potential of tree planting on marginal or degraded agricultural soils across climatic gradients in the U.S. Great Plains and Russian Central Uplands; 2) quantify the bioenergy potential of the aboveground woody biomass of these plantings for direct combustion, cellulose to ethanol conversion, or pyrolysis to bio-oils; and 3) apply the results of 1) and 2) to estimate the carbon sequestration and bioenergy potential of these systems in both study regions through renovation of existing plantings or new plantings.

Sites will be identified in the U.S. Great Plains and Russian Central Uplands where trees have been planted on former agricultural lands. Soil samples will be collected in transects across the tree row and, with tree tissue samples and undisturbed soil samples from native vegetation, will be analyzed using stable carbon isotope analysis. This approach will quantify changes in soil carbon beneath the trees and identify what proportion of the carbon was derived from the trees. Tree height and diameter measurements will be used to estimate the energy equivalent of the standing woody biomass. Using GIS and modeling techniques, the results of the field studies will be extrapolated to the regional scale to estimate the bionergy and carbon sequestration potential of tree planting on marginal agricultural lands.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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