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Environmental Management and Business InstituteEMBI

Faculty Research Highlights

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay provides an interdisciplinary, problem-focused educational experience that prepares students to think critically and address complex issues in a multicultural and evolving world. The University enriches the quality of life for students and the community by embracing the educational value of diversity, promoting environmental sustainability, encouraging engaged citizenship, and serving as an intellectual, cultural, and economic resource.

As an institute of UW – Green Bay, EMBI assists its faculty in focusing on academic, scholarly, and educational service outside the traditional degree structure by:

  • Encouraging interdisciplinary modes of inquiry and collaboration across department and college boundaries.
  • Providing laboratory support for student and faculty development.
  • Making available to faculty and students facilities and resources that could not be supported economically by a single academic unit.
  • Integrating the University with the community, fostering collaborations and partnerships with business and industry, community agencies, and governmental units.

Maximizing Ecological Services and Economic Returns by Targeted Establishment of Biomass Grasslands for Electricity and Heat Generation in Wisconsin

Faculty: M.E. Dornbush, K.J. Fermanich, J.R. Stoll
Staff: P.D. Baumgart
Graduate Students: A.M. Rieth, A.C. Von Haden

focus on energy.

Grass biomass production in NE Wisconsin has the potential to be more productive than row crop production. Our objective was 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 NE Wisconsin. We targeted poorly drained, marginal cropland because establishing grasslands in these areas will maximize carbon (C) sequestration, reduce nutrient and sediment loading into aquatic systems, and could benefit from shared interest and cost-sharing with existing conservation programs, as well as potential phosphorus (P) trading opportunities.

We quantified and compared harvestable aboveground grass biomass and crop-grain yield in established upland and lowland native-species grasslands and crop fields. We modeled changes in erosion and stream water quality resulting from conversion of upland and lowland crop fields to native-species grasslands in NE Wisconsin watersheds. We also created an economic analysis of the combined value of harvestable aboveground production (biomass or grain yield) and ecological services (e.g., C- and P-sequestration and water quality changes) associated with converting upland and lowland crop fields into native-species grasslands for the LFR watershed. This study provides information critical for an informed discussion of the economic benefits and challenges associated with the implementation of biomass based energy production within NE Wisconsin.

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