System Performance & Sustainability
While use of beetle-kill trees in regional biofuels systems presents a potential ‘win-win’ for forest managers and mountain communities, a truly sustainable solution must have overall net environmental benefit, be socially acceptable, and be economically viable at both the operational and regional scales.
BANR addresses these issues through multiple avenues of research:
Field-scale environmental impacts analysis
Quantify and evaluate the ecological and environmental impacts of different beetle-killed tree harvesting techniques in dominant forest types throughout the Rockies
Impacts of biochar use on biofuel system sustainability
Determine physiochemical characteristics of biochar produced from different woody feedstocks and to examine the impacts of biochar amendments on plant productivity and GHG balance, in production systems within the region, in laboratory and field studies
Modeling and life cycle assessment (LCA)
A comprehensive analysis of environmental impacts of beetle-kill wood utilization
Evaluate the financial feasibility of using CPES system to convert beetle-kill and waste wood to biofuel and co-products
Socioeconomic and policy analysis
Analyze economic, social and policy constraints for utilization of beetle-kill/waste wood as biofuel feedstocks and develop potential solutions for overcoming or mitigating those barriers
Decision Support System
Develop and deploy a user-friendly web-based system to assess feedstock availability and GHG emissions & environmental footprints for beetle-kill feedstocks
- Foster EJ, Hansen N, Wallenstein M, Cotrufo MF (2016) Biochar and manure amendments impact soil nutrients and microbial enzymatic activities in a semi-arid irrigated maize cropping system. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 233, 404-414.
- Hood, P.R., K.N. Nelson, C.C. Rhoades, and D.B. Tinker. 2017. The effect of post-mountain pine beetle salvage treatments on fuel loads and fuel moisture dynamics in Colorado lodgepole pine forests. Forest Ecology and Management 390: 80-88.
- Pressler Y, Foster E., Cotrufo M.F., Moore J. (2017) Coupled biochar amendment and limited irrigation strategies do not affect a degraded soil food web in a maize agroecosystem, compared to the native grassland. Global Change Biology Bioenergy. doi: 10.1111/gcbb.12429
- Ramlow, M. and Cotrufo, M.F. (2017) Woody biochar's greenhouse gas mitigation potential across fertilized and unfertilized agricultural soils and soil moisture regimes. GCB Bioenergy. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12474
- Rhoades C.C., Hubbard R.M., Elder K. (2017) A Decade of Streamwater Nitrogen and Forest Dynamics after a Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak at the Fraser Experimental Forest, Colorado. Ecosystems 20:380-392. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-016-0027-6.
- Rhoades C.C., Minatre K.L., Pierson D.N., Fegel T.S., Cotrufo M.F., Kelly E.F. (2017) Examining the Potential of Forest Residue-Based Amendments for Post-Wildfire Rehabilitation in Colorado, USA. Scientifica 2017:10. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4758316.