Bioenergy crop Miscanthus x giganteus acts as an ecosystem engineer to increase bacterial diversity and soil organic matter on marginal land

Cultivation of the bioproduct crop Miscanthus x giganteus on highly degraded lands is attractive due to its robust growth, leading to high yields even under stressful environmental conditions. Miscanthus growth and production may also build soil carbon, which is favorable for land restoration and climate change mitigation. This webinar explores the role of the soil microbiome and land use histories in facilitating these beneficial soil processes over the first three years of Miscanthus establishment across a gradient of land disturbance intensity and different fertilization strategies in Appalachia, USA. The results suggest that Miscanthus acts as an ecosystem engineer, improving soil biological and chemical properties such that highly disturbed soils come to resemble less disturbed systems over time. In this edition of the Digital Café series, we hear from Dr. Zac Freedman, Assistant Professor of Soil Microbiology and O.N. Allen Professor of Soil Microbiology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. This presentation was originally broadcast on Wednesday, October 18, 2023.

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