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Cellulosic Feedstock Production & Environmental Benefits From Agroforeset Systems Established On Marginal Lands

2009 DOT-RITA Integrated Award


PI: Dr. Matthew Pelkki (University of Arkansas-Monticello, School of Forest Resources)
Co-PI: Dr. Charles West (University of Arkansas)
Co-PI: Dr. Philip Tappe (University of Arkansas)
Co-PI: Dr. Hal Liechty (University of Arkansas)
Co-PI: Dr. Michael Blazier (Louisiana State University)
Co-PI: Dr. Montgomery Alison (Louisiana State University)

Funded: $350,000

Start Date: 7/1/2009

End Date: 6/30/2013


Expected Outcomes

The expected outcomes from this project include having reliable biomass productivity estimates from agroforest systems on marginal soils in the LMAV. Along with biomass production, we expect to understand the costs per ton of production and the energy balance of agroforest systems using cottonwood and switchgrass in combination. We will be able to compare financial returns and energy balances, and shifting of production inputs from agronomic production on low quality sites to biomass production.


The results will be applicable to the LMAV and allow us to determine the potential shifts in the region’s production from crops to biomass using agroforests on marginal lands. Because both switchgrass and trees have increasing production in the first years of development, the major project outcomes will not be realized until the third year. We expect to produce a variety of outputs, refereed journal articles, presentations at professional meetings, and through the Southern SARE grant, significant extension products, including landowner workshops, fact sheets, and a project website.


The major pitfall for this project is that long-term biomass production estimates from agroforest systems, will, rely on growth projections of the trees, and assume that year 3 switchgrass production figures are sustainable. Validation and adjustment of these estimates will come from continued monitoring and data collection of the agroforest sites beyond this project’s requested funding period.

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