Mathew Dornbush, UW – Green Bay: Maximizing Ecological Services and Economic Returns from Targeted Establishment of Biomass Grasslands for Electricity and Heat Generation in Wisconsin.

dornbush_portrait.jpgMathew Dornbush, a University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB) professor, focuses his research on understanding the mechanisms by which dominant species arise and subsequently affect ecosystems processes. Broadly speaking, he is interested in understanding the ecological basis for, and subsequent effects of, restoring diverse native plant communities. In his approach to ecology he uses a systems-based perspective.

With colleagues at UWGB, and funding from a Focus On Energy Grant, he is leading an effort to evaluate the economic and environmental outcomes of converting poorly drained, marginal agricultural areas into perennial, biomass? yielding grasslands? for electricity and heat generation in Wisconsin.

The team is interested in poorly drained marginal lands for three main reasons: 1) seasonal (spring) soil saturation is expected to maximize warm season grass production by providing ideal moisture availability in summer; 2) wetter conditions and finer textured soils characterizing low-lying areas should maximize C-sequestration rates; and 3) establishing perennial grasslands in the low-lying areas juxtapositioned between agricultural uplands and aquatic systems will reduce nutrient and sediment loading into aquatic systems, thereby providing an additional ecological service for the same conversion costs. In combination, we argue that the establishment of biomass production systems should be targeted at low-lying locations to maximize profitability, C-sequestration, and water quality benefits.

The study area lies within the Fox-Wolf basin of northeast Wisconsin.


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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.

Contact Us:


Carol Williams
(608) 890-3858 (office)
(515) 520-7494 (mobile)
Department of Agronomy
1575 Linden Dr.
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.