A Biomass Future for the North American Great Plains: Toward by Norman J. Rosenberg

By Norman J. Rosenberg

The North American nice Plains is a tremendous international breadbasket yet its agriculture is under pressure through drought, warmth, destructive winds, soil erosion and declining floor water assets. Biomass creation and processing at the Plains might partly restoration a perennial vegetative hide and create employment possibilities. This publication explores the chance that the ecology and economic system of the Plains quarter, and comparable areas, would get advantages from the advent of perennial biomass crops.

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Extra info for A Biomass Future for the North American Great Plains: Toward Sustainable Land Use and Mitigation of Greenhouse Warming (Advances in Global Change Research)

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The catalog of climate problems includes extremes of temperature, a growing season limited in portions of the region by low temperatures and/or by dryness, recurrent droughts, strong and persistent winds, and severe storms sometimes accompanied by damaging hail—not to mention tornadoes. 1. Extreme temperatures The frequency with which very hot days occur in all parts of the Plains is considerably greater than it is at the same latitudes in the eastern portion of the USA. Forty days a year of temperatures higher than 32°C (90°F) occur at Lincoln, Nebraska.

Small grains (wheat, barley) and sorghum are grown in the drier regions; corn and soybeans are grown in the warmer, more humid zones. A mollisol profile is shown in Figure 2-7. Alfisols are scattered through central Texas and Oklahoma and the Panhandle regions of these states, as well as in northeastern New Mexico and southeastern Colorado with a scattering of these soils in western South Dakota as well. In the Great Plains most of these soils support cropping or grazing. Entisols are prominent in a cluster on the eastern plains of Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, western South Dakota, and north to south-central Nebraska.

3. Groundwater The High Plains or Ogallala Aquifer underlies a large portion of the Great Plains and is its major source of groundwater. Small portions of southern South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico are underlain by the aquifer as is most of Nebraska, much of western Kansas, and the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles. (Figure 2-8). , McGuire 2004) indicate that extensive use of ground-water from this aquifer for irrigation began in the 1930s and 1940s and increased rapidly from 1940 to 1980.

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