Preserving and Utilizing Our Forest Resources

Research on America's Great Renewable Resource

Increasing Agroforestry Based Ecosystem Services Through Intercropping of Loblolly Pine and Switchgrass

Evaluating the Opportunity of Forest-based Woody Biomass in Tennessee

An Approach to Manage and Mitigate Stormwater in Metropolitan Nashville/Davidson County, TN

Mapping and Monitoring of Southern Yellow Pine Forest Types in Tennessee


 Increasing Agroforestry Based Ecosystem Services Through Intercropping of Loblolly Pine and Switchgrass
Dr. Solomon Haile
Small farms and timber operations are significant drivers of the economy in Tennessee and the southeastern region. These small-scale operations have natural resource management problems that are caused by various environmental changes. A real challenge and opportunity also lies in how agricultural and forestry efforts can sustainably meet the future renewable energy targets facing the United States and the world. Agroforestry intercropping--the combination of agricultural and forestry technologies to create integrated, diverse, and productive land use systems-- can be a source of a multiple-use biofuel crop. Agroforestry intercropping plants of divergent growth habit and architecture produce greater yields of both on a per unit basis than plants grown in monoculture. Biological synergism results from improved ecosystem services through the sharing of space, soil and water resources, mutual protection from pests, and greater nutrient availability through enhanced biodiversity of soil microbes, insects and animals. A limited number of studies have shown the benefits of agroforestry intercropping of perennial woody species and annual crops to maximize production. Studies that are focused on evaluating the change or improvement in ecosystem services from the agroforestry intercropping of woody and perennial herbaceous (grass) crops, however, are rare. The proposed research will further document benefits to ecosystem services of provisioning (productivity), Supporting ( nutrient cycling) and regulating (C-sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions), and expand the study to evaluate supporting ecosystem services of soil nutrient and water resources. To quantify the improvement in ecosystem services, a field project will be conducted on our current site on Cheatham Educational and Research Center of Tennessee State University.

Evaluating the Opportunity of Forest-based Woody Biomass in Tennessee
Dr. Bharat Pokharel
Woody biomass has garnered worldwide interest as an energy source because of its potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, improve national energy security and enhance local economic development. Its success as an alternative to fossil fuels depends entirely on its long-term availability, its spatial proximity from the processing plant and the ecological sustainability of managing the forest ecosystem for the feedstock production. This research project aims to address some of the broader questions, such as: how much biomass is out there at user specified proximity from a potential processing plant/facility?, how much nutrients would it remove if intensive harvesting option is chosen as an option to meet the ever-growing demand of biomass from the forest ecosystem?; and what is the best practice for biomass utilization to maintain forest productivity while supporting good and ecological services such as provisioning (continuous supply of timber, fiber and biomass) and supporting (maintaining and enhancing carbon and nutrient stock) in a forest ecosystem? Landsat images and airborne LiDAR data from three counties--Sequatchie, Van Buren and Scott--in Tennessee and Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data will be used to develop an interactive biomass mapping in ArcGIS environment. To make biomass a viable long-term energy strategy in Tennessee, a nutrient removal analysis will be conducted to prescribe a biomass harvesting system that balances a continuous supply of forest products to the society while leaving sufficient biomass on the harvest site to maintain the carbon and nutrient stock in a forest ecosystem. 

An Approach to Manage and Mitigate Stormwater in Metropolitan Nashville/Davidson County, TN
Dr. De'Etra Young
This project seeks to build an integration of research and extension utilizing multiple stakeholders to mitigate and manage stormwater in Davidson County, TN with particular emphasis on bioretention basins. The project will take a multiple-phased approach to examine stormwater quality by examining BMPs, developing hydrological and water quality models for urban forestry and water quality. Findings from our integrated research will build a blueprint for local municipalities to follow.

Mapping and Monitoring of Southern Yellow Pine Forest Types in Tennessee
Dr. Clement Akumu
Southern yellow pine species such as loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), virginia pine (Pinus virginiana) and shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) contribute significantly to the economy and wellbeing of the citizens of Tennessee. However, there is limited knowledge of the spatio-temporal distribution of these species stands in Tennessee. Furthermore, there is a desire to explore new mapping and classification techniques that can improve the mapping accuracies of these softwood species. The objectives of these study are: a) to map and monitor the spatial distribution of southern yellow pine (loblolly, virginia and shortleaf) stands in middle Tennessee using Landsat satellite data in the past 40 years that Landsat satellite was launched; b) to examine the classification accuracies of traditional whole pixel classification vs sub-pixel classification techniques in mapping softwood species (southern yellow pine species); and c) to explore the potential of improving classification and mapping accuracies of southern yellow pine stands by incorporating plant stress/drought monitoring indices with satellite reflectance images. Remote sensing mapping techniques will be used to delineate these softwood species stands and Geographic Information System (GIS) will provide the framework for analysis. This study will generate southern yellow pine stands distribution maps that will be used to improve forest management and planning by local governments, landowners, contractors and private companies.  Furthermore new mapping techniques will be developed in order to enhance classification and mapping accuracies of these softwood species. 


 






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