Going Green

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another Advantage of Switchgrass

I find it interesting that researchers find that native plants play key roles in ecosystems. Somehow, to me that just seems to be common sense. The complex interactions of plants and animals that we call ecosystems evolved to their peak state for a reason -- everything fit together. Each species has/had its proper role or niche in the environment. Together they all work in the particular environment to which they evolved.

Human or other invasive activity typically disrupts that "fit" at some point or another. It would be great if we could learn enough about such complex systems that we could utilize those interactions to our benefit rather than disrupt them to the point that problems occur. I am by no means a preservationist. I am not one who says that nature would be better off without humans. I am saying that I believe that we could learn a lot from natural systems if we could unlock the various interactions that occur. Maybe the best term is to "integrate" into the system rather than to disrupt it with our activity. That will require radically new thinking in the way that we do things.

Switchgrass May Mean Better Soil

By Don Comis
July 17, 2008

Soils with native grasses such as switchgrass have higher levels of a key soil component called glomalin than soils planted to non-native grasses, according to a study by the Agricultural Research Service at two locations in Mandan, N.D.

Kristine Nichols, a microbiologist with the ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory in Mandan, conducted the study. Glomalin is a...(complete article here).

Maybe Switchgrass for cellulosic ethanol production would be a good rotation crop on stressed lands. Perhaps we could reclaim some marginal lands through its use.

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