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Biomass production for biofuels using agroforestry: potential for the North Central Region of the United States

Holzmueller, Eric J., Jose, Shibu
Agroforestry systems 2012 v.85 no.2 pp. 305-314
aesthetics, alley cropping, biofuels, biomass production, carbon sequestration, energy, energy crops, food production, landowners, market structure, prices, production technology, riparian buffers, shelterbelts, water quality, wildlife habitats, Midwestern United States
As demand for energy increases in the United States, alternative energy sources are being sought both domestically and abroad. Biofuels have been promoted as a major source of alternative energy, but sustainable supply of biomass still remains a major challenge. Agroforestry offers a potential way to integrate perennial woody bioenergy crops with traditional agricultural crops to satisfy energy demands without sacrificing food production in the North Central Region of the United States. We suggest shelterbelts, alley cropping and working riparian buffer strips as ideal candidates for biomass production in agroforestry settings in this region. In addition to satisfying domestic energy demands, these systems could also potentially increase water quality, sequester carbon, improve aesthetics, and provide critical wildlife habitat. However, obstacles to implementing agroforestry systems for biomass production, such as a competitive price structure and stable markets, must be overcome before large-scale adoption by landowners.