Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases

Growing sustainable energy crops without increasing greenhouse gas emissions, may be possible on seasonally wet, environmentally sensitive landscapes, according to researchers who conducted a study on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land.Debasish Saha, postdoctoral scholar in plant sciences, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, and colleagues measured the amount of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, emanating from plots of biofuels-producing switchgrass — a native perennial grass — and miscanthus — a non-native grass species — growing in an experimental area in eastern central Pennsylvania and compared it to emissions from adjacent, undisturbed CRP acres. The experiment took place in a long-term monitoring site managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.
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