The potential for bioenergy crop alternatives

What is the viability and sustainability of cellulosic bioenergy crops in the US? New research by AAE faculty Brad Barham and colleagues from other scientific fields at UW-Madison, Michigan State, and elsewhere explores the answer to this question in a recent article in the journal Science. The multidisciplinary team of authors integrated years of wide-ranging scientific experiments to show how climate mitigation, biodiversity, reactive nitrogen loss, land use, and crop water use can be addressed with appropriate crop, placement, and management choices. Their work shows that the anticipated land requirements for cellulosic bioenergy crops are substantial as is the potential for environmental harm if the trade-offs are not well understood. The best strategy would involve growing native perennial species on marginal lands not currently farmed, but survey evidence from farmers shows that achieving that goal in the current price and policy environment is not promising.

Read the full article from Science