Read the full story from North Carolina State University.
The NC Department of Agriculture funds research and development of second-generation bioenergy crops through the NC Bioenergy Initiative. While biomass crops like corn, sugarcane, and grasses offer NC growers an attractive renewable energy option, agricultural and environmental concerns suggest that biomass crop production could cannibalize commodity crop acreage or environmentally sensitive forests and wetlands. Biomass crops are typically designated for ‘marginal’ agricultural land, but there has been no explicit agreement on the term’s definition.
In the first stage of an ongoing bioenergy research project, NC State Professor of Soil Physics and Hydrology, Josh Heitman, and his research team sought to establish practical criteria to identify marginal agricultural land in North Carolina.