Place: 4274 Chamberlin (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Natalie Hunt, UW Department of Forest Ecology and Management
Abstract: The Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) set out in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act call for an increase in the use of renewable transportation fuels to 36 billion gallons per year by the year 2022. In order to meet these standards, there will be increased demand for cellulosic feedstocks such as agricultural residues and dedicated bioenergy crops. This could result in increased production intensity on existing cropland or expansion of production into environmentally sensitive lands, which will impact soil carbon and nutrient content of agricultural soils.
Some of the major questions surrounding biofuels feedstock production include what the long-term impacts of these changed production practices on soil fertility will be and whether or not farmers are willing to manage their land for bioenergy feedstocks. There is much uncertainty around the complex interactions among biophysical crop characteristics, agronomic practices, and the socioeconomic factors of the farmers who will manage the bioenergy feedstocks. The research of these system intersections will determine the role of biofuels in meeting our future energy demands.