Integrating Short Rotation Woody Crops into Conventional Agricultural Practices in the Southeastern United States: A Review
[Review of ]. LAND, 12(1).
One of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal’s (SDGs) aims is to enhance access to clean energy. In addition, other SDGs are directly related to the restoration of degraded soils to improve on-farm productivity and land management. Integrating Short Rotation Woody Crops (SRWC) for bioenergy into conventional agriculture provides opportunities for sustainable domestic energy production, rural economic development/diversification, and restoration of soil health and biodiversity. Extensive research efforts have been carried out on the development of SRWC for bioenergy, biofuels, and bioproducts. Recently, broader objectives that include multiple ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, and land mine reclamation are being explored. Yet, limited research is available on the benefits of establishing SRWC on degraded agricultural lands in the southeastern U.S. thereby contributing to environmental goals. This paper presents a literature review to (1) synthesize the patterns and trends in SWRC bioenergy production; (2) highlight the benefits of integrating short rotation woody crops into row crop agriculture; and (3) identify emerging technologies for efficiently managing the integrated system, while identifying research gaps. Our findings show that integrating SRWC into agricultural systems can potentially improve the climate of agricultural landscapes and enhance regional and national carbon stocks in terrestrial systems.