Navigation Links
Biofuel grasslands better for birds than ethanol staple corn, researchers find
Date:1/6/2011

EAST LANSING, Mich. Developing biofuel from native perennials instead of corn in the Midwest's rolling grasslands would better protect threatened bird populations, Michigan State University research suggests.

Federal mandates and market forces both are expected to promote rising biofuel production, MSU biologist Bruce Robertson says, but the environmental consequences of turning more acreage over to row crops for fuel are a serious concern.

Ethanol in America is chiefly made from corn, but research is focusing on how to cost-effectively process cellulosic sources such as wood, corn stalks and grasses. Perennial grasses promise low cost and energy inputs planting, fertilizing, watering and the new study quantifies substantial environmental benefits.

"Native perennial grasses might provide an opportunity to produce biomass in ways that are compatible with the conservation of biodiversity and important ecosystem services such as pest control," Robertson said. "This work demonstrates that next-generation biofuel crops have potential to provide a new source of habitat for a threatened group of birds."

With its rich variety of ecosystems, including historic prairie, southern Michigan provided a convenient place to compare bird populations in 20 sites of varying size for each of the three fuel feedstocks. Grassland birds are of special concern, Robertson said, having suffered more dramatic population losses than any other group of North American birds.

In the first such empirical comparison and the first to simultaneously study grassland bird communities across habitat scales, Robertson and colleagues found that bugs and the birds that feed on them thrive more in mixed prairie grasses than in corn. Almost twice as many species made their homes in grasses, while plots of switchgrass, a federally designated model fuel crop, fell between the two in their ability to sustain biodiversity.

The larger the plot of any type, researchers found, the greater the concentration of birds supported. But if grasslands offer conservation and biofuel opportunities, Robertson said, the biodiversity benefits could decrease as biofuel grass feedstocks are bred and cultivated for commercial uniformity.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Fellows
mark.fellows@ur.msu.edu
517-884-0166
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Team overcomes major obstacles to cellulosic biofuel production
2. New Miscanthus hybrid discovery in Japan could open doors for biofuel industry
3. Seaweed as biofuel? Metabolic engineering makes it a viable option
4. Green genes in yeast may boost biofuel production by increasing stress tolerance
5. Directed self-assembly of vertical nanotubes for biosensors, logic, nano-biofuel cells
6. Can engineered bugs help generate biofuels? Study holds promise
7. Biofuels production has unintended consequences on water quality and quantity in Mississippi
8. Gene find could lead to healthier food, better biofuel production
9. Growing sorghum for biofuel
10. Pennycress could go from nuisance weed to new source of biofuel
11. Algae for biofuels: Moving from promise to reality, but how fast?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Biofuel grasslands better for birds than ethanol staple corn, researchers find
(Date:2/1/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 1, 2016  Today, ... Heart Association (AHA) announced plans to develop a first ... cognitive computing power of IBM Watson. In the first ... disease, AHA, IBM (NYSE: IBM ), and Welltok ... metrics and health assessments with cognitive analytics, delivered on ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... --  Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today announced the ... Airport, New York City , to help ... enter the United States using passports that ... testing of the system at Dulles last year. The system ... January 2016. --> pilot testing of the system ...
(Date:1/21/2016)... 2016 --> ... research report "Emotion Detection and Recognition Market by Technology (Bio-Sensors, ... Expression, Voice Recognition and Others), Services, Application Areas, ... 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global Emotion Detection ... 22.65 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Benchmark Research, a ... promotion of two long-standing principal investigators (PI) to the roles of Chief Medical ... Development. , Dr. Laurence Chu, a Benchmark Research PI in the Austin office, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 10, 2016 , ... SonaCare Medical, LLC reports the introduction ... remote monitoring. The inaugural launch of this new technology occurred over the course ... Peretsman to a HIFU technical expert at SonaCare Medical headquarters. , Sonalink ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Global Stem ... agreement with Singapore-based Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) and its affiliate Global ... in the latest adipose and bone marrow therapies. , Through the new ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... With a presidential election in November and ... Conference will bring together over 500 top healthcare leaders for a night and day ... conference, organized by MBA students of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, will be ...
Breaking Biology Technology: