Faculty Seed Grant Projects
Climate mitigation from biofuels: Is loblolly or switchgrass more beneficial in the southeast?
- Dr. Quinn Thomas, Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
- Dr. John E. Barrett, Biological Sciences
- Dr. Thomas O’Halloran, Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
Ecosystems provide climate regulation services by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and altering the energy balance of the Earth. Therefore, decisions to plant a forest or clear land for agriculture can influence climate in ways that are currently uncertain. Our study uses high frequency, state-of-the-art, measurement techniques to study the carbon and energy cycling in two ecosystems commonly used for bioenergy (loblolly pines forests and switchgrass fields).
This Global Change Center seed grant supports the development of a research site that measures carbon and energy in a switchgrass field. By pairing with an existing loblolly pine plantation research site, we can now better understand the implications of land management decisions on local, region, and global climate. Our research is at the interface of ecosystem science and climate science, as reflected by our cross-discplinary team of biogeochemistists, meteorologists, ecosystem modelers, and remote sensing scientists at Virginia Tech.
The project is a collaboration with Sweet Briar College, an undergraduate, women-only, institution in Virginia.
UPDATE: April 25, 2016- The Switchgrass tower at Sweet Briar has a new Phenocam!