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The Benefits of Harvesting Wetland Invaders for Cellulosic Biofuel: An Ecosystem Services Perspective

Authors

  • Andrew R. Jakubowski,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1575 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706, U.S.A.
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  • Michael D. Casler,

    1. USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, 1925 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706, U.S.A.
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  • Randall D. Jackson

    1. Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1575 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706, U.S.A.
    2. DOE-Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1630 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706, U.S.A.
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A. R. Jakubowski, email Jakubowski@wisc.edu

Abstract

The emerging interest in cellulosic biofuel production has led the call for alternative cropping systems that maximize production along with the accompanying regulating, supporting, and cultural ecosystem services. We evaluate the potential for biomass harvested from invaded wetlands to achieve these goals. The ecosystem service trade-offs associated with a wetland invader harvest are evaluated followed by a case study estimating the energy production and nutrient removal of harvesting Phalaris arundinacea from invaded wetlands in Wisconsin, United States. Estimates for energy production from this single species harvest dwarf current renewable energy sources for the state of Wisconsin and offer the potential to recapture approximately 50–200% of the excess nitrogen and phosphorus annually applied as fertilizer. This restoration technique would not only generate income from biomass sales to subsidize the cost of restoration, but also has the potential to shift the system toward more desirable environmental conditions by removing nutrients annually, reducing downstream eutrophication, and enhancing the ability of more desirable vegetation to establish by removing the litter layer created by the invasive species.

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