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A New Lease on Life for Marginal Farmland: Convergence of Prairie Restoration with Biofuel Production

Borsari, Bruno and Onwueme, Inno (2008) A New Lease on Life for Marginal Farmland: Convergence of Prairie Restoration with Biofuel Production. Poster at: Cultivating the Future Based on Science: 2nd Conference of the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research ISOFAR, Modena, Italy, June 18-20, 2008.

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The prairie ecosystem that occupied most of the North American continent has been mostly converted into agricultural farmland. The looming global scarcity of fossil fuels has spurred interest in producing ethanol from corn (Zea mays) but legitimate objections remain to the idea of supporting this vision. The purpose of this study was to initiate a prairie restoration on marginal soil of a 16.2 ha. farm in southeastern Minnesota and to determine which restoration procedure (only native grass species versus a mixture of grasses and forbes) was most effective for the establishment of prairie on the land that may yield biomass for biofuels. We planted 11.4Kg./ha. of grasses on 4.7 ha. and 0.70Kg./ha. of forbs on 3.2 ha., in June 2007. An evaluation of species richness was conducted after 90 days in the 5 restored plots. The mean percent cover in the grass plots was 0.935, whereas the one in the grass-and-forbs plots was 0.944. A t-test with two independent samples complemented the computation of the diversity index and indicated that there was not a statistically significant difference in species diversity among the plots. This paper postulates a model of prairie rehabilitation in synergy with renewable energy production from native prairies. This could inspire agriculture in the Midwest of the U.S. to a vision of ecological restoration and sustainability.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Poster
Keywords:biofuels, biomass, organic agriculture, tallgrass prairie, sustainability.
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation:USA
International Conferences > 2008: IFOAM OWC: Research Track / ISOFAR > 6.3 Renewable energies
Deposited By: Borsari, Dr. Bruno
ID Code:11300
Deposited On:22 Sep 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:35
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:This paper is published in the conference proceedings:
Neuhoff, Daniel; Halberg, Niels; Alfldi, Thomas; Lockeretz, William; Thommen, Andreas; Rasmussen, Ilse A.; Hermansen, John; Vaarst, Mette; Lck, Lorna; Carporali, Fabio; Jensen, Henning Hgh; Migliorini, Paola and Willer, Helga, Eds. (2008) .Cultivating the Future Based on Science. Proceedings of the Second Scientific Conference of the International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR), held at the 16th IFOAM Organic World Congress in Cooperation with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and the Consorzio ModenaBio, 18 . 20 June 2008 in Modena, Italy.. International Society of Organic Agriculture Research (ISOFAR), c/o IOL, DE-Bonn, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, CH-Frick. https://orgprints.org/13672 and https://orgprints.org/13674

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