2016 journal article

Coupling aquaculture with forest plantations for food, energy, and water resiliency


co-author countries: United States of America 🇺🇸
author keywords: Bioenergy; Integrated aquaculture-managed forest plantation; Water quality; Groundwater infiltration; Ecosystem services; Food energy water nexus
MeSH headings : Agricultural Irrigation; Aquaculture; Biomass; Carbon / analysis; Carbon Sequestration; Chlorophyll / analysis; Chlorophyll A; Forestry; Forests; Groundwater / analysis; Nitrogen / analysis; North Carolina; Ponds / chemistry; Trees / physiology
Source: Web Of Science
Added: August 6, 2018

Freshwater aquaculture and forest bioenergy markets are expanding globally in areas concurrently experiencing human population growth, urbanization and water shortages. Coupling these agroecosystems can improve food, energy, and water resiliency by enhancing ecosystem services through fertilization, water-reuse, carbon storage, and bioenergy via biomass production. This study evaluated how a model aquaculture-managed forest plantation could (1) provision fish and woody biomass; (2) regulate carbon, groundwater infiltration, and groundwater quality; and (3) support nutrient cycling over a two-year period. A 0.5-hectare hardwood bioenergy plantation was established with 12 Populus spp. genotypes adjacent to a 0.6-hectare freshwater aquaculture operation (hybrid striped bass, Morone chrysops×M. saxatilis); pond waters were land-applied on the plantation for two years. The aquaculture operation produced ~3.5Mg of fish and trees yielded 5.9Mgha(-1)yr(-1) of oven-dry biomass, sequestered 2.9Mg carbon (C) ha(-1)yr(-1) and stored 0.028Mg nitrogen (N) ha(-1)yr(-1). Biomass productivity, carbon storage, and nitrogen storage differed significantly among the evaluated Populus genotypes. Land application of pond water increased groundwater infiltration by 60% relative to the previous year. The integrated system regulated chlorophyll a, total organic carbon, and nitrogen in groundwater at concentrations below regulatory limits. This study demonstrated that coupled agroecosystems could deliver productive yields of food and bioenergy as well as support water re-use while meeting water quality regulations. More research is needed to evaluated long-term sustainability and economic viability of this coupled system and other land management practices that seek to improve food, energy, and water resiliency.