Improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay using payments for ecosystem services for perennial biomass for bioenergy and biofuel production, 2018. Biomass and Bioenergy 114: 132-142.
Replacing row crops with perennial bioenergy crops may reduce nitrogen (N) loading to surface waters. We estimated the benefits, costs, and potential for replacing maize with switchgrass to meet required N loading reduction targets for the Chesapeake Bay (CB) of 26.9 Gg y−1. After subtracting the potential reduction in N loading due to improved N fertilizer practices for maize, a further 22.8 Gg y−1 reduction is required. Replacing maize with fertilized switchgrass could reduce N loading to the CB by 18 kg ha−1 y−1, meeting 31% of the N reduction target. The break-even price of fertilized switchgrass to provide the same profit as maize in the CB is 111 $ Mg−1 (oven-dry basis throughout). Growers replacing maize with switchgrass could receive an ecosystem service payment of 148 $ ha−1 based on the price paid in Maryland for planting a rye cover crop. For our estimated average switchgrass yield of 9.9 Mg ha−1, and the greater N loading reduction of switchgrass compared to a cover crop, this equates to 24 $ Mg−1. The annual cost of this ecosystem service payment to induce switchgrass planting is 13.29 $ kg−1 of N. Using the POLYSYS model to account for competition among food, feed, and biomass markets, we found that with the ecosystem service payment for switchgrass of 25 $ Mg−1 added to a farm-gate price of 111 $ Mg−1, 11% of the N loading reduction target could be met while also producing 1.3 Tg of switchgrass, potentially yielding 420 dam3 y−1 of ethanol.
Natural Climate Solutions for the United States, Fargione et al., Sci. Adv. 2018; 4 : 1869 16 November 2018
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.
Defining a best practice methodology for modeling the environmental performance of agriculture. Environmental Science & Policy September 2018
ABSTRACT: Robust quantification of the environmental performance of agricultural management practices is critical both for ensuring regulatory compliance and for creating accountability in voluntary environmental markets and corporate sustainability commitments. Because environmental impacts cannot be measured under all conditions and on all farms, models are required. However, models must be used appropriately if predictions of environmental performance are to be reliable. To assist policymakers and stakeholders, we define a 7-step process for model selection and use, and present a case study applying this 7-step process to greenhouse gas emissions from corn (Zea mays L.) fields in the USA. Based on this case study and other examples from the literature, we suggest that all models are limited by the data available to validate them for different combinations of cropping systems, management practices, site conditions, and types of environmental performance. Additionally, both statistical and process models are much more reliable for making predictions of environmental performance for multiple fields and years than for predictions of a single location and year. We suggest that using this 7-step process will help improve predictions of environmental performance for regulatory and voluntary purposes at local, state, and national scales.
US Carbon Mapper, http://crsite.s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/
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.
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.
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.
Carbon and Communities: Linking Carbon Science with Public Policy and Resource Management in the Northeastern United States