Mitigate and adapt agriculture to variations in climate
Research to ensure future agricultural production
Web-based evapotranspiration, biomass, and air quality remote-sensing tool
Dr. J. Wang
Spatial parameters (evapotranspiration, biomass growth, and particulate matters) cannot be obtained accurately by traditional ground-point measurements. Although remote sensing can accurately map spatial information, the process of downloading and processing satellite and weather data for remote sensing models is complicated and time consuming for the common user. The objective of this project is to create an online, user-friendly remote-sensing tool that can produce daily maps of evapotranspiration, biomass growth, PM 2.5 and PM10 (Particulate matter diameter smaller than or equal to 2.5/10 um) with a 1km resolution for Tennessee and other states. An online remote-sensing model will be developed and validated to automatically download and process satellite and weather data covering the whole US. The input and output interfaces will be shown on GoogleEarth maps, i.e., the user inputs the dates and locations of interest and the model will generate the results (map and ACSII data file). The accuracy of the tool will be evaluated using measured data from different locations in the US. Once completed, this online tool could be used by natural resources managers, farmers, researchers, and the general public to provide plant water use, biomass growth and air quality information.
Effects of land use change and forest carbon trading on small forest landowners income
Dr. S. Haile
To quantify the additional carbon benefits derived from forested land requires the development of baseline data. At present, Tennessee State University, the Tennessee Department of Agricultural Division of Forestry and the USDA - Robertson County Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District are working together to establish these data at an 87.5 acre forest ecosystem. This forest was used as cropland nearly 30 years ago; 37.5 acres of the land was left to regenerate and developed into natural forests. Species composition in this forest include Black walnut, Sugar maple, Sweetgum, Green ash, Blackgum, Mockernut hickory, Southern red oak, and Black oak and many other tree species. Efforts to reforest an open area of about 8 acres with Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) and other mixed hardwoods since 1999 has shown poor growth, suggesting a need for regeneration studies in the abandoned croplands. The need to establish a baseline data for monitoring carbon offsets in the permanent forest demonstration plot at Cedar Hill is important to understand more about carbon sequestered in different tree species. Small farmers need to be educated about carbon credits before they join and register their forested land for carbon trading. Results of this project will give us more information on sequestered carbon on similar tree species on farmers' forests.
Tree-based soil carbon research and outreach in middle Tennessee
Dr. S. Haile, Dr. F. Tegegne
Small-scale production agroecosystem and timber operations constitute a significant sector of the rural economy in Tennessee. The people inhabiting and managing these ecosystems are challenged with natural resource management and sustainability problems that require a new approach. Integrated land management that provides economic and environmental advantages of diversified production of mixed systems, are potentially appropriate solution in this scenario. This project seeks to enhance soil carbon sequestration in limited resource small Agroforestry and forest wood land owners through applied research, demonstration and educational programs. The project goals are (1) Identify verifiable approaches for soil carbon sequestration in managed ecosystems of limited resource land owners in Tennessee, (2) Help develop verification protocols for measuring change in soil carbon pools and fluxes, (3) Promote public awareness through education and outreach on the potentials of sequestering soil carbon in Tennessee small farms and forest woodland and to positively affect global climate change, and (4) Contribute to the development of a viable market for soil carbon sequestration as an ecosystem service. Research results and best management practices are shared with land owners, practitioners, resource managers, funding agencies and the general public through education and outreach activities such as demonstrations, fact sheets, field days, and peer reviewed journal articles, workshops and conferences. The project anticipates that a rise in public awareness and opportunities that will likely be available to bundle payments for ecosystem level services and remunerate small farmers and forest/woodland owners.