Additional Economic and Environmental Interest Drivers for Growing Hardwood Energy Crops
In addition to economic returns, growing hybrid poplars can provide other benefits, such as removing contaminants from the soil and providing habitat and other ecosystem services. Our goal is to look beyond the economic factors and identify additional benefits landowners, communities, and the region will receive when adopting hybrid poplar as a biofuel feedstock.
Understanding both the environmental and economic benefits of growing hybrid poplar as a biofuel feedstock will help growers and communities make informed decisions. For example, poplar cultivation may improve soil erosion conditions on some agricultural land or improve water quality problems.
We are meeting with stakeholders active in agricultural communities around the region to learn about key issues faced by potential growers. Identifying these issues gives us a better understanding of the expectations farmers and the surrounding communities have of the land. Potential benefits that we are exploring include: the potential of agroforestry systems, restoring degraded habitat while keeping farmland in production, phytoremediation (use of living plants to clean soil, air, and/or water), climate change mitigation, and storm-water runoff control.