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Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems

The current escalation of energy costs has emphasized the need to seek alternative sources of renewal energy. Development of biofuel from corn, soybeans and other non-grain annuals is one of the priorities for the agricultural industry. Due to increase in commodity prices, there is a major shift in conservation programs promoted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The preservation of soil and environmental resources can be managed through adaptation of specific soil and crop management practices that are suited for specific regions. The proposed project offers a systematic solution to provide decision support tools for short and long-term strategies that will benefit the end-users for resource management and conservation practices. This proposal addresses the goals of NASA Applied Sciences Program for Agriculture on “Impacts of biofuel development on carbon management and agricultural conservation”. This research builds on a Decision Support System (DSS) for soil carbon management built previously by the PI for the state of Iowa. The objective is to enhance the DSS to evaluate the effects of biofuel development on (1) management of carbon stocks and (2) study potential consequences on the environmental and conservation practices. The DSS will be used at the South Fork watershed in Iowa and extended to the rest of the state. The on-going Conservation Project in USDA has already acquired multiple years of data on crops, soils, water quality, management practices and environmental information that will be available for this project. NASA data and science results from current and future sensors will be adapted for local and regional assessment of impacts of biofuels development on conservation programs. The Conservation Reserve Program, which promotes soil conservation by removing marginal lands from crop production, will benefit greatly from these evaluations. Targeted end-users are the local farmers, private organizations and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Project PI: Paul Doraiswamy/U.S. Department of Agriculture

Email: pdoraisw@hydrolab.arsusda.gov 

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Started: Sep 27, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 16, 2010

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