Marginal land is considered promising for biomass production. However, understanding on biomass crop growth and total biofuel production from this land type is very limited. This study evaluated potential production of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and Miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus) on marginal lands in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. A soil and water assessment tool model with detailed representation of marginal lands and their suitability for growth of the 2 grasses was setup. Marginal land was defined as cropland and grassland with land capability class from 3 to 8. All marginal lands were included as new land covers in the land use map and were preserved when HRUs were defined. The soil and water assessment tool model was calibrated for flow at 13 sites within the Upper Mississippi River Basin region at monthly scale. The predicted biomass by growing switchgrass and Miscanthus on marginal lands in the study area can produce up to 37% of the 132 × 109 L biofuel goal set by the 2010 Energy Independence and Security Act in the USA. The simulated flow was lower when marginal lands were converted to grow perennial bioenergy crops. The results from this study improved our understanding on growth of perennial crops on marginal land and their contributions to biofuel development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Environmental Science(all)
- Soil Science