By Norman J. Rosenberg
The North American nice Plains is a tremendous worldwide breadbasket yet its agriculture is under pressure through drought, warmth, destructive winds, soil erosion and declining flooring water assets. Biomass construction and processing at the Plains could partly fix a perennial vegetative disguise and create employment possibilities. This publication explores the prospect that the ecology and economic system of the Plains sector, and comparable areas, would get advantages from the creation of perennial biomass crops.
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Extra resources for A Biomass Future for the North American Great Plains: Toward Sustainable Land Use and Mitigation of Greenhouse Warming (Advances in Global Change Research)
There are times, of course, when rain and early snowfall make harvesting very difficult, but generally the harvest progresses easily. Humidity decreases from the east to the west across the USA to the Great Plains and decreases with distance from the Gulf. The low humidity is not conducive to many types of plant fungal diseases that are common in the east. The potato crop in western Nebraska, for example, is more easily protected against “late-blight” (the fungal disease that devastated Ireland’s crop in the mid-19th century) than it is in more easterly locations.
May to October account for between 75 and 81% of the average annual pan evaporation at all four locations. Interannual variability, represented by the standard deviation of the annual evaporation totals, is greatest at Mead; in fact, double that at any of the other three locations. Evaporation from the Class A pan, while imperfect as a measure of the amount of water that evaporates from lake and reservoir surfaces and definitely different but nonetheless indicative of ET from farmed fields, provides a uniform, standardized way of establishing how the evaporative regime differs from region to region.
Drought is not new to the Plains. Through dendrochronological studies (treering measurement and interpretation) on specimens of red cedar and ponderosa pine, Weakly (1943, 1963) identified short periods of dry years and, less frequently, droughts lasting for more than five years. Weakly found tree-ring patterns that indicated the occurrence of one drought period of 38 years duration between 1,276 and 1,313 and others of more than 20 years duration. Long-term records of annual precipitation virtually anywhere in the Plains show extreme year to year variability.
A Biomass Future for the North American Great Plains: Toward Sustainable Land Use and Mitigation of Greenhouse Warming (Advances in Global Change Research) by Norman J. Rosenberg