From its humble beginning in the late 19th century―when Henry Ford’s first car was designed to run on ethanol―biofuel production has been on the rise with more than 26 billion liters produced in the U.S. in 2007. Ethanol made from biomass (rather than grains) holds great promise, including numerous economic and environmental benefits. However, the adverse interactions of energy, climate, food, and soil quality cannot be ignored.
In eight concise chapters, Soil Quality and Biofuel Production presents a state-of-the-knowledge review of soil properties and processes negatively impacted by crop residue removal. It outlines the ecological consequences of biofuels and evaluates land use in the production of raw material for biofuel. The book then spotlights pressing issues related to corn and cellulosic ethanol and also soil erosion. It offers advice for achieving economic balance in the competition for arable land between food and biofuel along with residue harvest management techniques. A thought-provoking discussion of the opportunities and challenges that biofuel presents rounds out the book’s coverage.
The logistics of producing biomass in a sustainable manner remain a major challenge and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Serious questions linger concerning viable sources of biofuel feedstock, competition for resources needed to produce biomass, and energy output/input ratios. Soil Quality and Biofuel Production provides environmental scientists and agricultural engineers with the knowledge they need to address them.
Table of Contents
Soil Processes and Residue Harvest Management
Jane M.F. Johnson, Sharon K. Papiernik, Maysoon M. Mikha,Kurt A. Spokas, Mark D. Tomer, and Sharon L. Weyers
Soil Quality Impacts of Residue Removal for Biofuel Feedstock
Richard M. Cruse, M.J. Cruse, and D.C. Reicosky
Ecological Consequences of Biofuels
W.E.H. Blum, M.H. Gerzabek, K. Hacklander, R. Horn, F. Reimoser, W. Winiwarter, S. Zechmeister-Boltenstern, and F. Zehetner
Land Use in Production of Raw Materials for Biofuels
Leidivan Almeida Frazao, Karina Cenciani, Marilia Barbosa Chiavegato, Carlos Clemente Cerri, Brigitte Josefine Feigl, and Carlos Eduardo P. Cerri
Corn and Cellulosic Ethanol Problems and Soil Erosion
Ethanol Production from Sugarcane and Soil Quality
M.V. Galdos, Carlos Clemente Cerri, M. Bernoux, and Carlos Eduardo P. Cerri
Economic Balance: Competition between Food Production and Biofuels Expansion
Opportunities and Challenges of Biofuel Production
Rattan Lal, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA
B.A. Stewart, West Texas A&M University, Canyon, USA
In summary, the book is well written and contains lots of valuable information. The presentation and figures are of high quality and the book contains a wealth of information suitable for a range of audiences. In my opinion this book represents a worthy purchase although the price is somewhat restrictive for students. It will make good reading for many agronomy, plant nutrition and agricultural extension professionals.
--Davey Jones, The Journal of Experimental Agriculture. 2010