Logging and mill residues are currently the largest sources of woody biomass for bioenergy in the US, but short-rotation woody crops (SRWCs) are expected to become a larger contributor to biomass production, primarily on lands marginal for food production. However, there are very few studies on the environmental effects of SRWCs, and most have been conducted at stand rather than at watershed scales.
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The objective of this research project was to assess whether standard forestry best management practices (BMPs) are sufficient to protect stream water quality from intensive silviculture associated with short-rotation woody crop (SRWC) production for bioenergy. Forestry BMPs are designed to prevent the movement of deleterious quantities of nutrients, herbicides, sediments, and thermal energy (sunlight hitting stream channels) from clear-cuts and plantations to surface waters.
For analyzing sustainability of algal biofuels, we identify 16 environmental indicators that fall into six categories: soil quality, water quality and quantity, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, and productivity. Indicators are selected to be practical, widely applicable, predictable in response, anticipatory of future changes, independent of scale, and responsive to management.
Understanding the development of the biofuels industry in the United States is important to policymakers and industry. The Biomass Scenario Model (BSM) is a system dynamics model of the biomass-to-biofuels system that can be used to explore policy effects on biofuels development. Because of the complexity of the model, as well as the wide range of possible future conditions that affect biofuels industry development, we have not developed a single reference case but instead developed a set of specific scenarios that provide various contexts for our analyses.
The Biomass Scenario Model (BSM) is a system dynamics model that represents the entire biomass-to-biofuels supply chain, from feedstock to fuel use. The BSM is a complex model that has been used for extensive analyses; the model and its results can be better understood if input data used for initialization and calibration are well-characterized. It has been carefully validated and calibrated against the available data, with data gaps filled in using expert opinion and internally consistent assumed values.