51-30 Loblolly Pine-Switchgrass Intercropping for Sustainable Timber and Biofuels Production.

Poster Number 30

See more from this Division: Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change: Transformational Advancements in Research, Education and Extension
See more from this Session: Project Director Meeting for Agriculture and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change
Monday, October 22, 2012
Duke Energy Convention Center, Junior Ballroom D, Level 3
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John King1, Zakiya Leggett2, Eric Sucre2, Kurt Johnsen3, Chris Maier3, Jean-Christophe Domec1, Jose Stape4, John Seiler5, Brian Strahm6, Thomas Fox6 and Janine Albaugh1, (1)Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
(2)Southern Timberlands Technology, Weyerhaeuser NR Company, Vanceboro, NC
(3)Southern Research Station, USDA-ARS Forest Service, RTP, NC
(4)North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
(5)Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA
(6)Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Dependence on fossil fuel energy creates risks associated with climate change, economic instability, and national security.  Our goal is to investigate aspects of a loblolly pine-switchgrass [DAM1] bioenergy production system for the southeastern U.S. based on regionally appropriate crops and indigenous biomass production practices that will benefit economic development and the environment.  We hypothesize that the asynchronous physiology and growth of C3 trees and C4 grass along with different soil layers exploited by these respective root systems will allow for greater nutrient retention and more efficient water use.  We also hypothesize that the additional soil volume exploited by switchgrass roots and increased plant litter inputs will increase soil organic C, thus increasing C sequestration of the system. This work is being conducted at a 28 hectare replicated field experiment installed and managed in the Lower Coastal Plain of North Carolina by Catchlight Energy LLC, a joint venture between Chevron and Weyerhaeuser Company.  Ecosystem-level carbon and water cycling are being studied by a multidisciplinary team of scientists from academia, industry, and government to evaluate sustainability, multi-functionality, and ecosystem services inherent to this novel forest intercropping system.  Loblolly pine trees and switchgrass were planted in 2009 and results on plant and soil C stocks and site water balance after two years of growth will be presented.  Support from USDA NIFA Sustainable Bioenergy program allows us to quantify productivity, ecological sustainability, and C implications of this multifunctional vegetation management system. This long-term, ecosystem-level study is made possible by the substantial in-kind support from Catchlight Energy to operationally maintain the field experiment for ecologically and economically relevant time scales.