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CALS scientists help write guidelines for sustainable biomass production

CALS experts in agronomy, soil science, and wildlife ecology are part of a state/industry collaboration that published the Wisconsin Sustainable Planting and Harvest Guidelines for Nonforest Biomass(download pdf). The effort includes the state Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the UW-Madison and the Bioenergy Council. The Guidelines will ensure that Wisconsin’s agricultural and natural resources are both protected and enhanced while aiding in the development of the bioenergy industry.

The new guidelines are the first in the nation to address multiple crop types and scales in one place, and at the state level. The UW-Madison experts contributed their expertise to help ensure that the harvesting and cropping practices are sustainable and promote environmental benefits.

“Our primary goal was to produce a set of straight-forward, science-based guidelines applicable to a variety of biomass types, and while taking into consideration the complexities of decision-making face by producers, land owners and land managers,” says Carol Williams, research scientist in the agronomy department at UW-Madison. “Not only were we interested in providing guidance to decision-making at the farm or field level, we also wanted to emphasize the potential benefits and impacts of biomass production at the level of landscapes. For people interested in growing and harvesting biomass, the Guidelines offer valuable information in deciding what crops and management practices work best for them and their sustainability goals.”