See more from this Session: Sustainable Agriculture and Ecosystem Services: Role of Conservation Tillage, Crop Rotation, and Nutrient Management: II
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
This project addresses the sustainability of producing cellulosic bioenergy crops on calcareous sodic soils. While utilizing saline lands using marginal quality water for cellulosic bioenergy crops is attractive, it is important to understand the long-term effects on soil properties for sustainable production. Past studies indicate that fibrous root system of grasses can have ameliorative effects on calcareous sodic soils typically found in arid regions of the world including El Paso region. Potential cellulosic bioenergy crops such as sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), miscanthus (Miscanthus spp.) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) may have positive ameliorating effects on soil properties; however, there is limited information available on their effects on soil salinity. A greenhouse experiment is being conducted over two years to evaluate effects of cellulosic bioenergy crops on soil salinity and sodicity. Salinity tolerance of sorghum, switchgrass, miscanthus cultivar(s) will be evaluated and most tolerant cultivar will be grown on calcareous sodic soils collected from a representative agriculture field under greenhouse conditions. Changes in salinity and sodicity of soils will be monitored at the end of each year to evaluate effects of cellulosic biofuel crops. The results of his experiment can help in understanding ameliorative effects of cellulosic bioenergy projects on soil salinity and developing appropriate salinity management practices for sustainable bioenergy crop production on calcareous sodic soils.