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A7. Analysis of Land Use for Biomass Production

Program for Engineering, Agriculture, Environment, Planning, Hydrology, Science and other students

One of the general goals of Intelligentsia International is to propose an alternative, sustainable sugarcane farming system for the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) in Florida. This system should aim to provide multiple benefits, to balance various economic, social and ecological needs. EAA farms must be redesigned to take complex environmental and economic considerations into account by balancing food production with water storage, nutrient management, soil subsidence, energy efficiency, and habitat protection.

Land-use

Current EAA farming systems are simply a collection of Best Management Practices (BMPs) with marginal benefits to water, soils, and nutrients. The future ones require a fundamental reassessment of the land use and crop yield expectations. Valuations of ecosystem functions must be given equal weight in the land management designs. The State of Florida has purchased EAA lands with water storage and treatment in mind, so this affords opportunities to design new land use systems for sustainable food and energy production.

List of main tasks:

  • Research the background of land use systems typically used in EAA;
  • Document relationships between water storage, crop choices, soils subsidence and greenhouse gases effects in the traditional land use systems;
  • Summarize current and planned land use systems in reports and websites;
  • Consider the issues in complex manner and suggest alternate systems;
  • Investigate land use implications of biofuels under different land and water management scenarios;
  • Develop a set of arguments to support your approach and quantify the benefits;
  • Create and maintain related web sites and databases;
  • Develop public information and education campaigns;
  • Summarize all your findings in comprehensive reports.

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