Integrating future scenario-based crop expansion and crop conditions to map switchgrass potential in eastern Nebraska, USA

Authors: Yingxin Gu*,
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Energy, Remote Sensing
Keywords: future land cover, switchgrass biofuel, satellite remote sensing, compound topographic index, land management
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Muses, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Switchgrass has been evaluated as one potential source for cellulosic biofuel feedstocks. In previous studies, we mapped high risk marginal croplands and highly erodible cropland buffers that are potentially suitable for switchgrass development, which would improve ecosystem services and minimally impact food production. In this study, we advance our previous study results and integrate future crop expansion information to develop a switchgrass biofuel potential ensemble map for current and future croplands in eastern Nebraska. The switchgrass biomass productivity and carbon benefits (i.e., NEP: net ecosystem production) for the identified biofuel potential ensemble areas were quantified. The future scenario-based (“A1B”) land use and land cover map for 2050, the USGS crop type and Compound Topographic Index (CTI) maps, and long-term (1981–2010) averaged annual precipitation data were used to identify future crop expansion regions that are suitable for switchgrass development. Results show that 2,528 km2 of future crop expansion regions (~3.6% of the study area) are potentially suitable for switchgrass development. The total estimated switchgrass potential ensemble area is 4,232 km2 (~6% of the study area), potentially producing 3.52 million metric tons of switchgrass biomass per year. Converting biofuel ensemble regions to switchgrass leads to potential carbon sinks (the total NEP for biofuel potential areas is 0.45 million metric tons C) and is environmentally sustainable. Results from this study improve our understanding of environmental conditions and ecosystem services of cropland systems in eastern Nebraska and provide useful information to land managers to make land use decisions regarding switchgrass developments.

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