Navigation Links
To avoid carbon debt, CRP beats fields of corn, soybeans
Date:8/9/2011

221.10.254.64

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- Farmers and policymakers should wait before converting Conservation Reserve Program land to corn and soybean production, according to a Michigan State University study.

The study, which appears in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focuses on CRP land, a federal program encouraging farmers to grow natural vegetative cover rather than crops, and its role in the production of biofuels. A team of MSU researchers shows directly for the first time that the carbon costs of converting these lands to corn and soybeans is high even when care is taken to protect soil carbon from loss by using no-till cultivation practices.

Carbon debt results from carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released when land is converted from natural vegetation to agriculture. It's called debt because until a new biofuel crop creates enough renewable fuel to offset the lost CO2, the new biofuel crop has no climate benefit. In fact, it's the same as burning fossil fuel as far as the atmosphere is concerned, said Ilya Gelfand, MSU postdoctoral researcher who worked with the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.

"Conversion creates carbon debt, which must be paid off before the biofuel crop can provide climate mitigation benefits," he said. "No-till practices (planting without plowing) reduced by two-thirds the amount of debt created by the conversion, but still it would take 29 to 40 years for it to be repaid by growing corn and soybean for biofuel."

Alternatively, growing CRP grasses harvested for cellulosic ethanol would create no debt and provide immediate energy and climate mitigation benefits, he added.

"The conversion of CRP lands to corn and soybean production has a larger climate consequence than has been previously estimated," Gelfand said. "And much of the debt comes from the loss of soil carbon that would have been stored in CRP land in the future had it not been converted."

Nationally, more than 30 million acres are set aside as CRP land, and they provide significant climate, wildlife and other conservation benefits, said Phil Robertson, a co-author and MSU professor of crop and soil sciences.

"Growing CRP grasses rather than using the land for corn or corn-soybean production could maintain these benefits indefinitely while providing a valuable bioenergy feedstock," he said. "It could be a win-win for farmers and the environment once a market for cellulosic biofuel develops."

The GLBRC team also included MSU researchers Poonam Jasrotia and Stephen Hamilton as well as scientists from the University of Toledo. The study was performed at Michigan State's Kellogg Biological Station in partnership with MSU's Long-term Ecological Research program funded by the National Science Foundation.


'/>"/>

Contact: Layne Cameron
lscameron@ur.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. How yeast chromosomes avoid the bad breaks
2. How killer immune cells avoid killing themselves
3. Avoid risking childrens health during home energy retrofits, renovations, experts urge
4. Whale sharks do the math to avoid that sinking feeling
5. ISU researchers discover cause of immune system avoidance of certain pathogens
6. Gene that causes barnacles to avoid ship hulls identified
7. New armor developed to avoid infection from AIDS virus
8. Drinking tap water may help you avoid dentists drill
9. What should goldenrod do to avoid an insect attack? Duck
10. Avoiding dairy due to lactose intolerance is unnecessary in most cases
11. Forest deal at Copenhagen must avoid creating carbon refugees
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India ... part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... service provider, today announced a global partnership that ... convenient way to use mobile banking and payment services. ... Mobility is a key innovation area for financial services, but ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market ... the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is ... as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ...  report to their offering.  ,      ... gait biometrics market is expected to grow at ... Gait analysis generates multiple variables such ... compute factors that are not or cannot be ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... CereScan, ... the National Stroke Association during National Stroke Awareness Month in May. An ... pages throughout the month. CereScan will donate $1 up to a maximum ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... The Children’s Tumor Foundation announced its annual month-long ... grow on nerves throughout the body. It affects 1 in 3,000 people of all ... during the month of May, as well as online activities, Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month and ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... PUNE, India , May 3, 2016 ... Type (DNA Chip (Genomics, Drug Discovery, Gene ... Chips), End user (Academics Institutes, Diagnostics Centers), ... 2020" published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is ... 2020 from USD 7.63 Billion in 2015, ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Flagship Biosciences, the leader in tissue ... of Directors. Dr. Gillett recently retired from Charles River Laboratories (CRL), where, in ... Officer. A board-certified veterinary pathologist, Dr. Gillett joined Charles River in 1999 through ...
Breaking Biology Technology: