The benefits of harvesting wetland invaders for cellulosic biofuel: an ecosystem services perspective

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The benefits of harvesting wetland invaders for cellulosic biofuel: an ecosystem services perspective

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Restoration Ecology, Volume 18, Number 6, p.789-795 (2010)

Keywords:

Plants, Sustainability

Abstract:

The emerging interest in cellulosic biofuel production has led the call for alternative cropping systems that 20 maximize production along with the accompanying regulating, supporting, and cultural ecosystem services. We 21 evaluate the potential for biomass harvested from invaded wetlands to achieve these goals. The ecosystem service 22 tradeoffs associated with a wetland invader harvest are evaluated followed by a case study estimating the energy 23 production and nutrient removal of harvesting Phalaris arundinacea from invaded wetlands in Wisconsin, USA. 24 Estimates for energy production from this single species harvest dwarf current renewable energy sources for the 25 state of Wisconsin and offer the potential to recapture approximately 50 to 200% of the excess nitrogen and 26 phosphorous annually applied as fertilizer. This restoration technique would not only generate income from 27 biomass sales to subsidize the cost of restoration, but has the potential to shift the system towards more desirable 28 environmental conditions by removing nutrients annually, reduce downstream eutrophication, and enhance the 29 ability of more desirable vegetation to establish by removing the litter layer created by the invasive species.