Skip to main content
  Cornell University

Managing Farm & Forest Landscapes

Integrating climate mitigation with healthy air, clean water, and vibrant economies

Publications

Recent News:

For the Soil Health Initiative, we created 3 different outreach materials with increasing depth of information.

Towards applying N balance as a sustainability indicator for the US cornbelt: realistic achievable targets, spatio-temporal variability and policy implications. Sela et al., Environmental Research Letters . 2019

ABSTRACT: Gains in nitrogen use efficiency in the production of corn (Zea mays L.) remain low due to management constraints and difficulties in accurately predicting the optimum fertilizer application rate. Retailers and consumers are looking for robust sustainability indicators to help drive the industry towards more sustainable food production, including the simple input-output based ‘N balance’ metric. Seven-year simulations for 25 locations across five US Corn Belt States (NE, IA, MN, IL, IN) were conducted using the biogeochemical Adapt-N® model to determine (i) realistically achievable N balance values when N rates are optimized, (ii) the effects of climate and soil type on achievable N balance values, and (iii) the relative importance of N application timing (fall, spring, split in-season) and formulation (+/− nitrapyrin) in reducing N balance. Split in-season applications reduced N rates by 39% and 22% over fall and spring applications and N balance by 36% and 22%, respectively. Adding nitrapyrin to fall or spring preplant applications modestly reduced N inputs by 9% and 4% and N balance by 18% and 12%. Split N management reduced N losses by 52% and 31% of total area-scaled N losses compared to fall and spring N applications and adding nitrapyrin by 13% and 10%, respectively. Benefits from improved timing and formulation were greater in the more humid eastern part of the region. Split in-season N management allows farmers to reach sustainable N balance levels in 88% of cases, with the remainder mostly affected by mid-season droughts. Economic assessment found partial profit to be enhanced with lower N balance, suggesting that N balance reductions may be achieved through voluntary approaches. The model simulations offered ranges of realistic N balance values that can be used to inform policy discussions. It appears that N balance is best applied when averaged over multiple seasons and threshold levels should be guided by characteristics of the production environment, including soil type and climate.

Maximizing social benefit from finite energy resource allocation. Energy, Sustainability and Society. Wightman & Woodbury. 2019 <https://rdcu.be/bMngf>

ABSTRACT: This paper presents a methodology for evaluating whole system effectiveness from a finite unit of biomass feedstock. By analyzing conversion of raw energy inputs into final energy services (FES) delivered in the form of transport or heat to society, we assess the FES returned on energy investment (ERoEIfes). Comparison of ERoEIfes across 11 different conversion pathways illustrates the relative delivered social benefit of each pathway derived from the same finite feedstock. We found previously that New York (NY) could sustainably produce 14.2 Tg/y of biomass feedstocks from agriculture and forestry (equivalent to 7% of NYs primary energy consumption of 3.9 EJ). We found that high value FES as a percentage of energy in the biomass feedstock ranged from 5 to 15% for transport and 12 to 71% for heat (residential or commercial). However, the FES provided for six pathways was more than 2-fold higher if co-products were used. This method (1) internalizes energetic processing and use losses (2) to compare pathways and systems (3) that maximize services and value derived from land-limited sustainably harvested resources (4) thus providing a holistic approach increasing the value of a unit of land to generate primary energy resources, sustainably. This case study provides a framework to assess a range of conversion pathways for any finite energy feedstock for society. Across all biomass types and conversion processes, the replicable ERoEIfes methodology provides a foundation for decision-makers to compare FES delivered and then develop policies that reap the most benefit per unit of finite feedstock, thus assisting in more effective transition away from fossil-based feedstocks.

Natural Climate Solutions for the United States, Fargione et al., Sci. Adv. 2018; 4 : 1869 16 November 2018

ABSTRACT: Limiting climate warming to <2°C requires increased mitigation efforts, including land stewardship, whose potential in the United States is poorly understood. We quantified the potential of natural climate solutions (NCSs)—21 conservation, restoration, and improved land management interventions on natural and agricultural lands—to increase carbon storage and avoid greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. We found a maximum potential of 1.3 (0.8 to 1.7) Pg CO2e year−1, the equivalent of 22% of current net annual emissions of the United States. At current carbon market prices (USD 10 per Mg CO2e), 299 Tg CO2e year−1 could be achieved. NCS would also provide air and water filtration, flood control, soil health, wildlife habitat, and climate resilience benefits.

POPULAR PRESS:

US Carbon Mapper
Natural climate solutions (or NCS) are proven ways of storing and reducing carbon emissions in the world’s forests, grasslands and wetlands.
Scientists Lay Out 20 Natural Solutions to Curb Climate Change, Newsweek, November 2017
ABSTRACT: “Natural climate solutions” could help the world reach the goals of the Paris climate agreement—which include keeping the world’s temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. There are 20 conservation, restoration and land management actions that could help, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. By increasing how much carbon the land can store through absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, these steps could provide 37 percent of carbon dioxide mitigation necessary through 2030.

PRESENTATIONS:

What is the potential for increased grazing, hay, forage, and livestock production on New York’s idle lands? Soil and Crop Sciences Seminar Series, 28 February, 2019, Cornell University, Woodbury PB, Baker M, Gabriel A
Soil Health and Climate Change. 18 July 2018. JL Wightman and PB Woodbury, Soil Health Summit, Albany NY.
Dairy Manure Storage – GHG mitigation and adaptation to build farm resiliency, 18 March 2018. JL Wightman and PB Woodbury,  audio file, proccedings of NE Climate Hub meeting, Rutgers University, NJ
Ecosystem service payments for switchgrass production could improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.  Woodbury PB, 14 March, 2017.
Counting Carbon in Bioenergy Systems: Opportunities and Challenges. Woodbury PB. Invited national presentation in the Clean Power Plan. 9 February, 2016.
Marginal Lands and Bioenergy. Richards B, Woodbury PB, Hansen J (all co-presenters). 11 November 2014.
Bioenergy Feedstock Production in the NE: Land Use, Yields, and Sustainability. 9 April 2013

 

EXTENSION/OUTREACH MATERIALS:

2019

Soil Health Policy Brief  (as it relates to climate change)
Soil Health and Greenhouse Gases Fact Sheet
Soil Health and Greenhouse Gases In Depth Information Sheet
New York Soil Health Roadmap. 40 p.Wolfe D, Albrecht G, Aller D, Benner R, Branton D, Courtens J-P, Grusenmeyer D, Hanchar J,  Henderson E, Mason C, Ristow A, Ryan M, Salon P, Suarez J, van Es H, Woodbury P, Bittner J, Bjorkman T, Czymmek K, DeGolyer D, Haight D, Ivy A, Joyce M, Kirby D, Knight L, Latessa S, Magos D, O’Neil K, Peck G, Porter R, Rangarajan A, Reiss E, van Almelo J, Wightman J, Williams J. 2019. New York Soil Health Initiative & Cornell University.

2018

Worksheets for Identifying Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Opportunities
These AEM Tier 2 GHG Mitigation Opportunity Worksheets are designed to be used in concert with the other relevant Tier 2 Assessment Worksheets (www.agriculture.ny.gov/SoilWater/aem/techtools.html) for educators and farmers to gauge management and encourage discussion across a range of resources, including water quality, GHGs, farm productivity, and adaptation. Please see Relevant Information Sheets just below.

2017

Introduction to Farm & Forest Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Opportunities
Soil Carbon Management & Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Opportunities
Nitrogen Fertilizer Management & Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Opportunities
Dairy Manure Storage & Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Opportunities
Planning for Quantitative Methane Capture & Destruction from Liquid Dairy Manure Storage
Forest Management & Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Opportunities
Energy Efficiency & Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Opportunities (by Deb Grantham)
Glossary of farm & forest GHG-related terms

2011

Carbon and Communities: Linking Carbon Science with Public Policy and Resource Management in the Northeastern United States

 

SCIENTIFIC REPORTS:

2014

2010

Renewable Fuels Roadmap and Sustainable Biomass Feedstock Supply for New York
Analysis of sustainable feedstock production potential in New York State_Appendix_E

2009

2008

Understanding Nutrient Cycling and Sediment Sources in the Upper Susquehanna River Basin

 

PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS:

2019

Sela S, Woodbury PB, Marjerison R, van Es HM. 2019. Towards applying N balance as a sustainability indicator for the US cornbelt: realistic achievable targets, spatio-temporal variability and policy implications. Environmental Research Letters 14:064015. <https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab1219>
Wightman JL, Woodbury PB. Maximizing social benefit from finite energy resource allocation. Energy, Sustainability and Society. 2019 <https://rdcu.be/bMngf>

2018

Chapter 4: Biological Solutions. In: Aines, R., [et al.], Building a new carbon economy — an innovation plan. Carbon.  Zelikova, J., Tim Filley, David Babson, Sian Mooney, Amy Swan, Jason Funk, Rory Jacobson, Giana Amador, Drew Bennett, Charlotte Levy, Peter B. Woodbury, Jessica L. McCarty, Matchett, K., 2018. 180, Oakland, CA, pp. 33-50.
Improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay using payments for ecosystem services for perennial biomass for bioenergy and biofuel production Woodbury PB, Kemanian AR, Jacobson M, Langholtz M. 2018.  Biomass and Bioenergy 114: 132-142.
Building a new carbon economy — an innovation plan. Zelikova, J., Tim Filley, David Babson, Sian Mooney, Amy Swan, Jason Funk, Rory Jacobson, Giana Amador, Drew Bennett, Charlotte Levy, Peter B. Woodbury, Jessica L. McCarty, Matchett, K., 2018. Chapter 4: Biological Solutions. In: Aines, R., [et al.], Building a new carbon economy — an innovation plan. Carbon180, Oakland, CA, pp. 33-50.
Natural Climate Solutions for the United States, Fargione et al., Sci. Adv. 2018; 4 : 1869 16 November 2018
Defining a best practice methodology for modeling the environmental performance of agriculture. Tonitto C, Woodbury PB, McLellan E. 2018. Environmental Science & Policy. 87: 64–73.
Dynamic model-based N management reduces surplus nitrogen and improves the environmental performance of corn production. Environmental Research Letters. 2018.
Agriculture can mitigate climate change at low cost to help meet Paris Agreement goalsBioScience June 2018.
The Nitrogen Balancing Act, Tracking the Environmental Performance of Food Production. February 2018.

2017

Natural climate solutions, PNAS, September 2017
Effects of Transgenic Crops on the Environment  [Chapter in Environmental Pest Management: Challenges for Agronomists, Ecologists, Economists and Policymakers (eds. E. Wajnberg & M. Coll). Wiley. ISBN: 9781119255550].
Assessing soil carbon vulnerability in the Western USA by geospatial modeling of pyrogenic and particulate carbon stocks

2016

New York Dairy Manure Management Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Mitigation Costs (1992–2022) New York Dairy Manure_SUPPLEMENT
Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agricultural and Forest Landscapes for Policy Development and Verification

2015

Assessing Sustainable Bioenergy Feedstock Production Potentialby Integrated Geospatial Analysis of Land Use and Land Quality
Assessing Sustainable Bioenergy Feedstock Production Potential_SUPPLEMENT
Land Quality and Management Practices Strongly Affect Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Bioenergy Feedstocks
Untapped Potential: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainable Bioenergy Production from Marginal Lands in the Northeast USA

2014

 Reporting on Marginal Lands for BioenergyFeedstock Production: a Modest Proposal

2013

 A watershed-scale goals approach to assessing and fundingwastewater infrastructure

2012

Bank Erosion in Fifteen Tributaries in the Glaciated Upper Susquehanna Basin of New York and Pennsylvania
Local-Scale Carbon Budgets and Mitigation Opportunities for the Northeastern United States

2010

Review of Methods for Developing Probabilistic Risk Assessments. Part 1: Modeling Fire
Review of Methods for Developing Regional Probabilistic Risk Assessments, Part 2: Modeling Invasive Plant, Insect, and Pathogen Species

2008

Australian climate–carbon cycle feedback reduced by soil black carbon
Australian climate–carbon cycle feedback SUPPLEMENT

2007

Effects of land use change on soil carbon cycling in the conterminous United States from 1900 to 2050
Carbon sequestration in the U.S. forest sector from 1990 to 2010
Land-Use Change and Stream Water Fluxes: Decadal Dynamics in Watershed Nitrate Exports
Variations in sediment sources and yields in the Finger Lakesand Catskills regions of New York

2006

Land Use Change Effects on Forest Carbon Cycling Throughout the Southern United States

2005

 Long-term nitrate export pattern from Hubbard Brook

2004

How to Estimate Forest Carbon for Large Areas from Inventory Data

2003

Do’s and dont’s of spatially explicit ecological risk assessment

2002

Using the ECLPSS software environment to build a spatially explicit component-based model of ozone effects on forest ecosystems

2000

 The Risks and Benefits of Genetically Modified Crops

<1999

Assessing potential climate change effects on loblolly pine growth
Gypsum application reduces selenium uptake by vegetation on coal ash landfill
Assessing trace element uptake by vegetation on a coal fly ash landfill
A review of selenium uptake, transformation, and accumulation by plants with particular reference to coal fly ash landfills
What materials should be composted
The Impact of Separation on Heavy Metal Contaminants in Municipal Solid Waste Composts
Chronic Ozone Exposure Increases the Susceptibility of Hybrid Populus to Disease Caused by Septoria Musiva
Trace elements in municipal solid waste composts
Skip to toolbar