Monday, January 11, 2010

Environmental Benefits of Biomass Energy to Control Invasive Plant Species

This week is National Invasive Species Awareness Week which brings up a key environmental benefit of biomass energy that is rarely, if ever, brought up. Through our efforts in Florida, we are restoring environmentally damaged marginal lands (from mining) that have been invaded by non-native plants (e.g., Brazilian Pepper) and weeds (e.g., cogongrass) to grow energy crops for biomass energy.

Hopefully, we are creating a "global template" for sustainable energy crop development relying heavily on soil carbon management (i.e., active and also stable soil carbon fractions like biochar).

In our opinion, a major obstruction in achieving energy crop development are the "Ivory Tower Environmentalists" who most often have an attitude of "their way or the highway". The problem here is that these "ivory tower types" have little, if any, practical agriculture science technical background or field training.

For example, no-till farming does not work (at least initially) in our efforts because of the primary invasive weed of cogongrass that we are trying to control/eliminate. Cogongrass primarily spreads through its rhizomes (root system) that tilling disrupts.



Anonymous said...

Hi , Enjoying your site. I am sure the information I am after is somewhere on your website, but I am unable to find it.
I would like to know what the figures are for Co2 absorbtion and oxygen production for trees v crops (especialy short rotation crops). Many years ago I read that rainforests produce about 1/4 ton of oxygen a year and crops produce about 16 tons per year.I know that is a very general statement to make as it would differ depending on the tree and crop type etc etc.
It is my thinking that the calls for banning tree/land clearing for cropping on the grounds that trees absorb Co2 ,could be flawed if crops actualy absorb more co2 than trees.I have been a grain farmer for 40 years and have been a big fan of "green manure" (ploughing in crops of beans etc to fertilize the soil) , do you think this would effectivly trap co2?
I know I have over simplifed this a bit , I would apreciate your comments and a link or 2 to the co2/oxgen figures for plants.

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