Evaluation of bioenergy crop growth and the impacts of bioenergy crops on streamflow, tile drain flow and nutrient losses in an extensively tile-drained watershed using SWAT

Tian Guo, Fnu Cibin Raj, Indrajeet Chaubey, Margaret Gitau, Jeffrey G. Arnold, Raghavan Srinivasan, James R. Kiniry, Bernard A. Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Large quantities of biofuel production are expected from bioenergy crops at a national scale to meet US biofuel goals. It is important to study biomass production of bioenergy crops and the impacts of these crops on water quantity and quality to identify environment-friendly and productive biofeedstock systems. SWAT2012 with a new tile drainage routine and improved perennial grass and tree growth simulation was used to model long-term annual biomass yields, streamflow, tile flow, sediment load, and nutrient losses under various bioenergy scenarios in an extensively agricultural watershed in the Midwestern US. Simulated results from bioenergy crop scenarios were compared with those from the baseline. The results showed that simulated annual crop yields were similar to observed county level values for corn and soybeans, and were reasonable for Miscanthus, switchgrass and hybrid poplar. Removal of 38% of corn stover (3.74 Mg/ha/yr) with Miscanthus production on highly erodible areas and marginal land (17.49 Mg/ha/yr) provided the highest biofeedstock production (279,000 Mg/yr). Streamflow, tile flow, erosion and nutrient losses were reduced under bioenergy crop scenarios of bioenergy crops on highly erodible areas and marginal land. Corn stover removal did not result in significant water quality changes. The increase in sediment and nutrient losses under corn stover removal could be offset with the combination of other bioenergy crops. Potential areas for bioenergy crop production when meeting the criteria above were small (10.88 km2), thus the ability to produce biomass and improve water quality was not substantial. The study showed that corn stover removal with bioenergy crops both on highly erodible areas and marginal land could provide more biofuel production relative to the baseline, and was beneficial to water quality at the watershed scale, providing guidance for further research on evaluation of bioenergy crop scenarios in a typical extensively tile-drained watershed in the Midwestern U.S.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-735
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume613-614
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Fingerprint

tile drain
nutrient loss
bioenergy
Tile
Watersheds
Nutrients
Crops
streamflow
watershed
crop
maize
Biofuels
biofuel
Water quality
Biomass
water quality
biomass
Sediments
soil and water assessment tool
evaluation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

Cite this

Guo, Tian ; Cibin Raj, Fnu ; Chaubey, Indrajeet ; Gitau, Margaret ; Arnold, Jeffrey G. ; Srinivasan, Raghavan ; Kiniry, James R. ; Engel, Bernard A. / Evaluation of bioenergy crop growth and the impacts of bioenergy crops on streamflow, tile drain flow and nutrient losses in an extensively tile-drained watershed using SWAT. In: Science of the Total Environment. 2018 ; Vol. 613-614. pp. 724-735.
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abstract = "Large quantities of biofuel production are expected from bioenergy crops at a national scale to meet US biofuel goals. It is important to study biomass production of bioenergy crops and the impacts of these crops on water quantity and quality to identify environment-friendly and productive biofeedstock systems. SWAT2012 with a new tile drainage routine and improved perennial grass and tree growth simulation was used to model long-term annual biomass yields, streamflow, tile flow, sediment load, and nutrient losses under various bioenergy scenarios in an extensively agricultural watershed in the Midwestern US. Simulated results from bioenergy crop scenarios were compared with those from the baseline. The results showed that simulated annual crop yields were similar to observed county level values for corn and soybeans, and were reasonable for Miscanthus, switchgrass and hybrid poplar. Removal of 38{\%} of corn stover (3.74 Mg/ha/yr) with Miscanthus production on highly erodible areas and marginal land (17.49 Mg/ha/yr) provided the highest biofeedstock production (279,000 Mg/yr). Streamflow, tile flow, erosion and nutrient losses were reduced under bioenergy crop scenarios of bioenergy crops on highly erodible areas and marginal land. Corn stover removal did not result in significant water quality changes. The increase in sediment and nutrient losses under corn stover removal could be offset with the combination of other bioenergy crops. Potential areas for bioenergy crop production when meeting the criteria above were small (10.88 km2), thus the ability to produce biomass and improve water quality was not substantial. The study showed that corn stover removal with bioenergy crops both on highly erodible areas and marginal land could provide more biofuel production relative to the baseline, and was beneficial to water quality at the watershed scale, providing guidance for further research on evaluation of bioenergy crop scenarios in a typical extensively tile-drained watershed in the Midwestern U.S.",
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Evaluation of bioenergy crop growth and the impacts of bioenergy crops on streamflow, tile drain flow and nutrient losses in an extensively tile-drained watershed using SWAT. / Guo, Tian; Cibin Raj, Fnu; Chaubey, Indrajeet; Gitau, Margaret; Arnold, Jeffrey G.; Srinivasan, Raghavan; Kiniry, James R.; Engel, Bernard A.

In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 613-614, 01.02.2018, p. 724-735.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Guo, Tian

AU - Cibin Raj, Fnu

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AU - Gitau, Margaret

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