Girl Planting seeds

Sustainable bioenergy from native prairies on abandoned agricultural lands

In an ongoing effort to discover the ideal conditions to grow alternative biofuels that offer more environmental benefits, University of Minnesota scientists applied their research on native prairies in the Upper Midwest to understand marginal lands—particularly abandoned and degraded agricultural fields.  "Native, perennial grasses and abandoned fields have been proposed as a way to increase the environmental benefits of biofuels. First generation biofuels, such as corn ethanol, require intensive use of nitrogen fertilizers and take land away from food production. We wanted to see if prairie grasses might prove to be a better crop," said lead researcher David Tilman, professor in the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) and director of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.  Read more...



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