Bird communities in future bioenergy landscape of the upper Midwest

ABSTRACT. Mandates for biofuel? and renewable electricity are creating incentives for biomass? production in agricultural landscapes of the Upper Midwest. Different bioenergy? crops are expected to vary in their effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services?. Here, we use data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey to forecast the impact of potential bioenergy crops on avian species richness and the number of bird species of conservation concern in Midwestern landscapes. Our analysis suggests that expanded production of annual bioenergy crops (e.g., corn and soybeans) on marginal land will lead to declines in avian richness between 7% and 65% across 20% of the region, and will make managing at-risk species more challenging. In contrast, replacement of annual with diverse perennial bioenergy crops (e.g., mixed grasses? and forbs) is expected to bring increases in avian richness between 12% and 207% across 20% of the region, and possibly aid the recovery of several species of conservation concern.

Meehan, TD, AH Hurlbert and C Gratton. 2010. Bird communities in future bioenergy landscape of the upper Midwest. PNAS 107: 18533-18538.

Anerobic Digestion and Biogas

UW Extension have created seven modules focused on the use of anaerobic digestion technologies. Details of the process are introduced, as well as factors that influence start-up, operation and control of anaerobic digesters at different scales.

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Carol Williams
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Department of Agronomy
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University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

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Use of contour buffer strips in commodity crop systems in southwestern Wisconsin helps reduce soil loss and traps nutrients on slopes. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.