Strategic Use of Native Species on Environmental Gradients Increases Diversity and Biomass Relative to Switchgrass Monocultures
Biofuel, Biodiversity, Prairie, Conservation, Sculpted Seeding
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) monocultures are a leading feedstock choice for producing cellulosic biofuels. However, in natural stands, switchgrass is only dominant in a narrow ecological niche of the Tallgrass Prairie. This suggests that strategically selected monocultures or binary mixtures of species, adapted to particular ecological niches, might outyield switchgrass monocultures while increasing biodiversity at the field and landscape scales. To test this hypothesis, we planted monocultures of switchgrass and three alternative species at each of three landscape positions (shoulderslope, midslope, and footslope). Alternative species were also mixed with switchgrass such that they composed 33 or 67% of the total number of plants in each plot. Alternative species at each position included a C3 grass, a C4 grass, and a forb. Biomass data were collected in autumn during each of the two consecutive years following the establishment year. (see more in article)
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
DOI of Published Version
Zilverberg, Cody; Teoh, Kwan; Boe, Arvid; Johnson, W.Carter; and Owens, Vance, "Strategic Use of Native Species on Environmental Gradients Increases Diversity and Biomass Relative to Switchgrass Monocultures" (2015). Natural Resource Management Faculty Publications. 246.