Default header image

Switchgrass Carbon and Water Budget

Interest in biofuels produced from perennial crops like switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) has increased over the past decades. It has been suggested that perennial biofuel crops have additional climate benefits compared to annual crops, such as carbon sequestration, albedo increase, and water use efficiency. We conducted a 3 year study using eddy covariance and albedo measurements over a mature switchgrass field at a commercial farm in Southwestern Ontario funded by the NSERC-Discovery Grants program.  We found that: 1) mature switchgrass can be a carbon sink but was carbon neutral over 3 years, 2) mature switchgrass had low water requirements, 3) mature switchgrass had more climate benefits than corn.


Journal articles

Eichelmann, E., C. Wagner-Riddle, J. Warland, B. Deen, and P. Voroney. 2016. Comparison of Carbon Budget, Evapotranspiration, and Albedo Effect between the Biofuel Crops Switchgrass and Corn. 2016. Agric. Ecosyst. Env. 231:271–282

Eichelmann, E., C. Wagner-Riddle, J. Warland, B. Deen, and P. Voroney. 2016. Evapotranspiration, Water Use Efficiency, and Energy Partitioning of a Mature Switchgrass Stand. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 217: 108-119.

Eichelmann, E., C.Wagner-Riddle, J. Warland, B. Deen, and P. Voroney. 2015. Carbon Dioxide Exchange Dynamics over a Mature Switchgrass Stand. Global Change Biology – Bioenergy 8: 428–442. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12259.


Eichelmann E.2015. Evaluation of the Carbon and Water Cycles and Climate Benefits of Mature Switchgrass (Panicum Virgatum L.). PhD Thesis, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada