U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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A. Monti (ed.), Switchgrass, Green Energy and Technology; DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4471-2903-5_6.


In this chapter, we review major environmental impacts of growing switchgrass as a bioenergy crop, including effects on carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, nutrient leaching, and runoff. Information from life cycle analyses, including the effects of indirect land use change (iLUC), is examined to quantify the full impact of migration to bioenergy cropping systems on both managed and natural ecosystems. Information on the environmental impacts of switchgrass cultivation is scarce and there exists a critical need for additional research. What limited information there is suggests that switchgrass provides multiple environmental benefits compared to annual crop cultivation. However, benefits generally appear to be similar to other perennial crops.