U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Impact of Bioenergy Feedstocks on Agricultural Landscapes
Published: July 12, 2011
Posted: August 05, 2011

Simplification of the agricultural landscape due to expansive monocultures of individual crops reduces habitat diversity and has long been believed to increase insect pest pressure with a resulting need for more insecticides. This assumption seems logical, but has lacked supporting scientific evidence, evidence needed to establish a science-based land-use policy that includes dedicated bioenergy crops. Now, researchers at the DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) have reported an analysis of cropping systems across 562 counties in seven Midwestern states. They found a significant correlation between insecticide use and land simplification (i.e., less natural habitat). The results suggest that plantings of more minimally managed perennial bioenergy crops requiring less insecticide use may mitigate some of the negative effects associated with continued simplification. This study provides a scientific basis for understanding the impact that the greater demand for bioenergy feedstocks will have on the agricultural landscape.

Reference: Meehan, T. D., B. P. Werling, D. A. Landis, and C. Gratton. 2011. "Agricultural Landscape Simplification and Insecticide Use in the Midwestern United States," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108, 11500–505. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1100751108.

Contact: Cathy Ronning, SC-23.2, (301) 903-9549
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)