Managing Grassland Biofuel Cropping Systems for Plant Diversity and Productivity
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With the rapid depletion of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, the future of the US fuel supply may depend on alternative energies such as biofuels. However the most commonly implemented biofuel today, corn ethanol, is taking away from the current food supply. An alternative to grain based biofuel are cellulosic biofuels. Cellulosic biofuels are derived from cellulose in plants, and many grassland plant species are currently being studied as a viable fuel source. In this experiment three variables were tested relating to biofuel productivity: the level of species diversity, fertilization, and multiple harvests. The goal of the experiment is to determine what management strategies will provide the most productivity for fuel while still maintaining sustainability. While all three variables may not have had significant results in this experiment, important trends about cellulosic biofuel plant species and how to manage them were seen. This study also suggests what to focus on in the future when determining how to best manage cellulosic biofuel cropping systems.