Bioenergy crop production and carbon sequestration potential under changing climate and land use - A case study in the upper River Taw catchment in southwest England

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Dixit, P. N., Richter, G. M., Coleman, K. and Collins, A. L. 2023. Bioenergy crop production and carbon sequestration potential under changing climate and land use - A case study in the upper River Taw catchment in southwest England. Science of the Total Environment. 900 (20 Nov), p. 166390. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.166390

AuthorsDixit, P. N., Richter, G. M., Coleman, K. and Collins, A. L.
Abstract

Reductions in CO2 emissions are essential to support the UK in achieving its net zero policy objective by around mid-century. Both changing climate and land use change (LUC) offer an opportunity to deploy suitable bioenergy crops strategically to enhance energy production and C sequestration to help deliver net zero through capturing atmospheric CO2. Against this background, we applied process-based models to evaluate the extent of net primary productivity (NPP) losses/gains associated with perennial bioenergy crops and to assess their C sequestration potential under changing climate in the upper River Taw observatory catchment in southwest England. In so doing, we also determined whether LUC from permanent grassland to perennial bioenergy crops, considered in this study, can increase the production and C sequestration potential in the study area. The results show that a warming climate positively impacts the production of all crops considered (permanent grassland,
Miscanthus and two cultivars of short rotation coppice (SRC) willow). Overall, Miscanthus provides higher aboveground biomass for energy compared to willow and grassland whereas the broadleaf willow cultivar ‘Endurance’ is best suited, among all crops considered, for C sequestration in this environment, and more so in the changing climate. In warmer lowlands, LUC from permanent grassland to Miscanthus and in
cooler uplands from permanent grassland to ‘Endurance’, enhances NPP. Colder areas are predicted to benefit more from changing climate in terms of above and belowground biomass for both Miscanthus and willow. The study shows that above
LUC can help augment non-fossil energy production and increase C sequestration potential if C losses from land conversion do not exceed the benefits from LUC. In the
wake of a changing climate, aboveground biomass for bioenergy and belowground biomass to enhance carbon sequestration can be managed by the careful selection of bioenergy crops and targeted deployment within certain climatic zones.

KeywordsNet zero; Miscanthus; Willow; Climate change; Carbon; Land conversion
Year of Publication2023
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Journal citation900 (20 Nov), p. 166390
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.166390
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
Resilient Farming Futures
Publisher's version
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online17 Aug 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted16 Aug 2023
PublisherElsevier Science Bv
ISSN0048-9697

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