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Biofuel on the Plains: The Potential Area of Switchgrass for Biofuel Production in South Dakota

Authors: Logan Megard*, South Dakota State University, Darrel Napton, South Dakota State University
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Energy, Sustainability Science
Keywords: Biofuel, South Dakota, Land Cover, Renewable, Switchgrass
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Energies are mainly fossil fuels which create greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Creating more renewable energy is a way to reduce climate change. A variety of energy sources are produced by renewable energy systems. Biofuel is a type of fuel created from biomass materials. Switchgrass is a native tallgrass to South Dakota that can be used to create biofuel in a sustainable way. The eastern half of the state can support switchgrass in a sustainable way. Switchgrass also provides other benefits of erosion control, livestock feed, and habitat for native species.
The national land cover data from 2016 created by USGS shows the land cover across South Dakota at 30 by 30m scale. This data is limited by the type of land cover by removing areas that cannot be used such as urban areas or open water. This limits land to shrubland, herbaceous, pasture/hay, and cultivated crops. These land covers are limited by environmental conditions of rainfall and ecoregion. Last, the remaining land cover with correct environmental conditions will have protected areas removed. This leaves the available area that can grow Switchgrass.
Switchgrass can benefit farmers allowing biofuel production and creating habitat for native species. It has much potential to be sustainable in South Dakota. The human impact on the environment is large but Switchgrass can have less impact than cultivated crops with fewer inputs and more ecosystem services. Biofuel is one renewable energy source that can help mitigate climate change and anthropogenic land changes around the globe.

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