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BEE 6640 Untapped Potential: Sustainable Bioenergy Production on Marginal Lands of New York & the Northeast

Marginal agricultural lands are an oft-cited but largely untapped regional resource base for bioenergy crop production. They constitute the primary available land base for production of "second generation" bioenergy crops such as perennial grasses and short-rotation woody crops in New York and the Northeast. In this broadly multidisciplinary seminar series we will explore the challenges of and opportunities for using marginal lands from multiple viewpoints: researchers, agency personnel, and bioenergy advocates.


Class meets Wednesdays 2:30-3:20 pm Riley-Robb B-15 beginning January 21, 2015. Open to upper-level undergraduate and graduate students.

Contact Brian Richards for information. One credit hour (with optional second credit hour if sufficient interest).

Seminar goals

To expose participants to issues involved in the development of low-cost sustainable perennial bioenergy feedstock production based on marginal lands of New York and the Northeast. Participants will hear and interact with speakers representing a broad spectrum of disciplines and perspectives, ranging from academic researchers to practitioners to policy advocates.

Goals of second credit hour option

(if sufficient interest) To afford participants additional opportunities for extended discussion of seminar topics, exploration and critical review of relevant literature, research, and several local field trips to bioenergy research sites. Wednesdays 3:35-4:25 pm (may end slightly later for local field trips).

Speakers and topics include:

  • Opportunities & Challenges of Marginal Land Bioenergy (Brian Richards - BEE)
  • Marginal Land Resource Inventory (Peter Woodbury - CSS)
  • Hydrology of Marginal Lands (Larry Geohring - BEE)
  • Marginal Lands & Resource Conservation
  • Grasses for Bioenergy (Julie Hansen - Plant Breeding & Genetics)
  • Bioheat From Grasses (Jerry Cherney - CSS)
  • Short Rotation Woody Crops (Larry Smart - Horticulture/NYSAES)
  • Realities of Marginal Land Conversion & Production (Hilary Mayton)
  • Landowner & Grassroots Initiatives (Betsy Keokovsky - Danby Land Bank)
  • Bioenergy Advocacy (Alice Brumbach - NY Biomass Energy Alliance)
  • ... and more! Check out the 2015 schedule here