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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2017, Vol. 16 Issue (06): 1211-1226    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(16)61587-3
Section 2: Switchgrass in the Loess Plateau Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Switchgrass as a bioenergy crop in the Loess Plateau, China: Potential lignocellulosic feedstock production and environmental conservation
Danielle Cooney1, Hyemi Kim1, Lauren Quinn1, Moon-Sub Lee1, Jia Guo1, CHEN Shao-lin2, 3, XU Bing-cheng2, 4, D. K. Lee1

1 Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana 61801, USA

2 Biomass Energy Center for Arid and Semi-arid Lands, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, P.R.China

3 College of Life Sciences, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, P.R.China

4 State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, P.R.China

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Abstract  A large portion of the Loess Plateau of China is characterized as “marginal” with serious land degradation and desertification problems.  Consequently, two policies, Grain for Green and Western Development Action were established by the Chinese government in response to the demand for ecological protection and economic development in the Loess Plateau.  These policies are designed to increase forest cover, expand farmlands, and enhance soil and water conservation, while creating sustainable vegetation restoration.  Perennial grasses have gained attention as bioenergy feedstocks due to their high biomass yields, low inputs, and greater ecosystem services compared to annual crops.  Moreover, perennial grasses limit nutrient runoff and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and soil losses while sequestering carbon.  Additionally, perennial grasses can generate economic returns for local farmers through producing bioenergy feedstock or forage on marginal lands.  Here, we suggest a United States model energy crop, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) as a model crop to minimize land degradation and desertification and to generate biomass for energy on the Loess Plateau.
Keywords:  sustainability      bioenergy crop      soil erosion      Loess Plateau      switchgrass  
Received: 21 November 2016   Accepted:

This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch Project (1001878).

Corresponding Authors:  D. K. Lee, Tel: +1-217-33367736, E-mail:    

Cite this article: 

Danielle Cooney, Hyemi Kim, Lauren Quinn, Moon-Sub Lee, Jia Guo, CHEN Shao-lin, XU Bing-cheng, D. K. Lee. 2017. Switchgrass as a bioenergy crop in the Loess Plateau, China: Potential lignocellulosic feedstock production and environmental conservation. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 16(06): 1211-1226.

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