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Invasive bioenergy.

IOWA Cultivation of specific crops for bioenergy production is gaining traction as a renewable fuel source. Giant miscanthus, a tall-growing perennial grass, is one such bioenergy crop. The University of Iowa is particularly interested in the crop as a solution to many of the state's power and agricultural supply woes. The grass produces abundant biomass and requires little in the way of maintenance, fertilizer or pesticide.

Coincidentally, these are also the traits of an invasive species. Although giant miscanthus spreads through rhizomes and is naturally sterile, researchers are developing seeded varieties as a less expensive alternative. An article published in January 2014 in Invasive Plant Science and Management examines field tests conducted in the US on escaped seedling establishment in seven habitats. The authors conclude that the potential of bioenergy crops to become invasive needs further study to understand the impact on sensitive habitats. Effective management of these crops is essential as cultivation becomes more widespread.

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Title Annotation:Research Digest
Publication:Alternatives Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U4IA
Date:May 1, 2014
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