This proposal allows for the North Carolina Sentinel Landscape Program Partnership (SLPP) to continue its effort to ensure that readiness, training viability, cost-effective policies, and the US Marine Corps mission are facilitated through sustained use of working lands and natural resources. The SLPP have been working for more than six years, providing for the programmatic institutionalization and enhancement of compatible natural resource use in support of military readiness and at the same time enhancing the maintenance and improvement of natural resources, including agriculture and forestry lands (i.e., working lands). The SLPP continues to collaborate onÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â a forward-looking, proactive program to sustain the landscape needed for a healthy economy, a healthy environment, a healthy military, and healthy communities in eastern North Carolina and beyond.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The SLPP works in the public interest to advance national defense, conservation and working lands in North Carolina simultaneously to ensure that development or use of land, water, and/or air resources remains compatible with military missions. With around 90% of the land in North Carolina privately owned, the SLPP realizes that they cannot succeed unless it offers options and incentives thatÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â link the interests of the rural, private landowner with the national defense mission and conservation goals.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The Partnership understands that landowners need and deserve to have additional economic opportunities for the good they do to advance societyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s long-term well-being by supporting national defense and conservation.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
Producing feedstocks for bioenergy remains a national long-term priority. The congressionally-mandated Renewable Fuel Standard remains in effect and targets will increase with time. Many states have Renewable Portfolio Standards while the European Union increasingly is relying on the U.S. for feedstocks to support their energy and carbon policies. With low feedstock prices and high costs of establishment and production for purpose-grown energy crops, few landowners will engage in production until the enterprise is more profitable. We believe that using a modified short-rotation woody crops (SRWC) system, a high-value Populus veneer can be co-produced with energy feedstocks in North Carolina with little yield loss for feedstocks by growing high biomass-yield clones selected for the specific site based on our research with clones selected for veneer. Columbia Forest Products Inc. has expressed great interest in using Populus logs for veneer production following the outcome of processing Populus logs for veneer at their Old Fort facility in North Carolina. We propose to evaluate the efficacy of the hybrid feedstock/veneer SRWC system and evaluate the potential landowner incomes and investment quality using our established plantations, the enterprise budget and decision tool already developed, and the Populus productivity model (3PG) under development for North Carolina. We will screen and evaluate available clones for biomass yield and potential for veneer, determine optimum spacing and rotation regimes for the modified SRWC system to maximized economic returns and conduct investment quality analyses of such projects for North Carolina.
Woody feedstocks are expected to play a major role in the future sustainable renewable energy production. Economically viable short rotation woody crop (SRWC) production is particularly significant in North Carolina due to prominent wood pellet exports to Europe and evolving bioenergy markets. Extrapolating field-scale studies to state-scale assessment of feedstock productivity for North Carolina is a necessary tool to facilitate stakeholder decision making for SRWC procurement and for recommending best management practices to landowners. Our on-going studies have demonstrated that Populus can be grown productively throughout North Carolina, yet individual landowners will need to assess the merit of growing SRWCs on their own land based on their specific site conditions. Potential industrial users of wood feedstocks also need regional assessments of regional-scale potential for sustainable provision of adequate feedstocks before investing in new facilities. We will refine and validate an existing forest productivity model (3-PG model) for SRWCs including poplar, sweetgum, green ash, sycamore, and loblolly pine depending on their productivity performances at our sites. We will also perform plantation-level and regional-scale economic analyses based on the productivity predictions. Data from existing plantations in the coastal plain, piedmont, and mountain regions of North Carolina will be used for model validation.
There is enormous potential for a robust bioeconomy in western North Carolina (NC). Short-rotation woody crops (SRWCs) can be a major regionally grown feedstock if they can be profitable for landowners. Ongoing NCDA-funded projects have shown that weed control cost is a key factor that determines whether SRWCs can be profitable. Denser plantings typically reach canopy closure sooner thus reducing weed control costs. Nutrient availability is critical to SRWC productivity, but it enhances weed growth and control costs. Determining what combinations of weed control treatments and fertilization will maximize SRWC productivity, profitability and viability is needed for a robust bioeconomy in Western NC. We propose to: (1) establish a large-scale planting of Populus, high intensity pine, and sycamore for public demonstration in Western NC; (2) establish an adjacent randomized trial to demonstrate responses of three best-performing Populus clones to different combinations of spacing, chemical and mechanical weed control methods, and fertilization; and (3) coppice part of our existing Populus stands in western NC to compare four-year production with and without coppicing. With data from these and existing trials, we will calibrate a productivity model for Populus and complete an enterprise budget for public dissemination and use specific to Western NC.
Wood from forests is a major supplier of renewable energy; however, gleaning woody biomass for renewable energy could degrade wildlife habitat. Our objectives are to: 1) examine relationships between wildlife abundance and fine-scale measurements of downed woody debris and vegetation structure and composition following timber harvests in western North Carolina; 2) facilitate development of practical guidelines that ensure the sustainability of woody biomass harvests; and 3) inform stakeholders (e.g., loggers, natural resource professionals, environmental organizations, policy makers, landowners) about the sustainability of woody biomass harvests in the region. We will sample wildlife (e.g., small rodents, birds, reptiles and amphibians, and ground-dwelling invertebrates) in ~10 recent harvests (clearcut and partial) that vary in the volume of residual logging debris. We will use linear regression statistics to identify: 1) significant relationships between wildlife response and volume of residual logging residue; and 2) potential thresholds in debris volume below which wildlife populations are affected negatively. Based on results, we will provide stakeholders with information on potential wildlife response to woody biomass harvests in western North Carolina. Also, the results of our study will be used to guide the development of appropriate science-based, sustainability guidelines.
The North Carolina Sentinel Landscape Partnership (NCSLP) is in its sixth year of operation and this proposal is seeking financial support for the continued efforts of the NCSLP now that 33 counties in North Carolina have achieved the designation of Sentinel Landscape, a program of the US Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Interior . The NCSLP is working to protect military mission, working lands, and natural resources by minimizing the impact of encroachment and incompatible land uses. By fully implementing the Sentinel Landscape program in North Carolina the NCSLP will be able to achieve multiple benefits that allow North Carolina to be more effective in * meeting Military mission objectives * leveraging resources at federal, state, and local levels to provide support to a greater number of landowners * leveraging dedicated DoD funding to help the military meet their mission * reaching landowners so the landowner can be more willing to participate in compatible land use practices that will protect the Military mission The financial support will allow us to operate and sustain a minimum sentinel landscape program in North Carolina, maintain a coalition of partners, to include all services so that we can maximize program benefits, and to create mutually beneficial projects.
The goal of this (3) year proposal is to develop manufacturing capacity and innovative wood based energy markets that 1) promote forest ecosystem restoration and reduce hazardous fuels, 2) improve forest health on both private and public forest lands, and 3) promote economic and environmental health of communities. This proposal will look at the economics of energy markets for the Appalachian region by analyzing the impacts of a theoretically operating domestic pellet mill, identifying facilities and sectors that would benefit from using wood energy in the form of cost savings, and gathering data from harvesting sites to develop a business case for logging companies considering investing in equipment necessary to supply wood energy markets. We expect to develop wood supply markets for low value wood through education and outreach and technical assistance. To accomplish this, production forestry- landowners (both private and public), loggers, and industry- along with policy and decision makers must have appropriate information concerning the value added potential of these materials as well as a clear understanding of the benefits brought by expanding the sustainable management and utilization strategies practiced on our forest lands. This project will assess what woody biomass markets are feasible for a challenging political and geographic region where supply chains and harvesting methods differ greatly from the Coastal and Piedmont Plains in the Southeastern U.S.
This bid will identify superior hybrid poplar clones and cottonwood varieties for biofuel feedstock in North Carolina. We will propogate current hybrid poplar clones and cottonwood varieties at five different sites across North Carolina using vegetative stock from an established nursery at the Biofuels Center of NC in Oxford, NC. The project will determine survival, growth, wood quality, and disease/predation incidence for trees over a five-year growth period. Our five sites provide irrigated and non-irrigated comparisons for the Piedmont, SandHills, and Coastal Plain, and will use results to evaluate the economic potential of these trees as a liquid transportation fuel for NC.
The goal for this partnership is to plant, develop and document the information and tools needed to demonstrate the sustainable production of biomass for bioenergy across the Southern US. Specifically, this program will develop and demonstrate sustainable, flexible, integrated biomass production solutions that create innovative deployment scenarios to reliably produce and supply biomass feedstocks that are optimized for performance in leading conversion technologies. Research and development activities will target specific barriers in each step of the supply chain that are identified as critical to regional economic and/or environmental sustainability. Education, extension and outreach activities will be integrated so that the results of this work will reach target audiences with appropriate real-world examples.
The rapid development of bioenergy industries in eastern NC will be generating large demand for woody biomass that may exceed the ability of conventional forestry to sustainably supply them. Fast-growing, purpose-grown tree plantations, or short rotation woody crops (SRWCs), are one of the more promising methods to meet future woody biomass demands. We currently have five SRWC establishment trials in eastern NC (NCDA&CS supported) to determine which trees survive and grow best. Growing market demand and potential regulatory constraints of traditional forest materials suggest an important need to maximize early-growth productivity of SRWCs, particularly Populus, within two to five years. Because Populus productivity can vary with planting density and fertilization, we will select 10 top-performing clones from current trials to evaluate productivity response to two planting densities (2,032 trees per acre and 1,016 trees per acre) and to three fertilization treatments using a randomized split plot block design replicated at the Horticultural Crops Research Station of Clinton and Williamsdale Biofuels Research Farm. A third site already established this spring 2014 at Tidewater Research Station (8,000 trees/acre) will be evaluated as well although all trees will receive the same fertilizer treatment. We will quantify biomass yields at two and five years and compare clonal performance for biomass yields between treatments and sites to better develop guidelines and recommendations for growers to implement Populus plantations for future bioenergy needs.